Style Councillor

How to stay cool in the city

This heatwave’s all well and good, but that doesn’t mean you can dress like you’re on holiday, says our Style Director

My observations this past week of men going about their business during what are proving to be the hottest few days of the year has been mostly met by a reaction resembling Edvard Munch’s The Scream. I’ve witnessed skinny jeans with flip-flops, low scoop-neck vests with denim cut-off shorts and Doc Marten boots. The soaring temperatures have been met by a general mash-up of ill fitting choices that look neither cool nor appropriate for general city living. Enough is enough gentleman – it’s time to take your warm weather gear a little more seriously.

When we are hit with uncomfortable heat, we resort to plain survival; less fabric equals a cooler you, but my tube carriage today was only a string vest away from resembling a Swedish sauna. I know we’d all rather be on the beach, in the park or in our own back garden in these high temperatures, but it doesn’t make sense to dress for a holiday when it’s business as usual. So, here are five heat-friendly pieces to keep you cool, which are entirely city-appropriate, plus how to wear them without raising the eyebrows of your fellow commuters or colleagues.

city style

1. Albam ‘Panama’ seersucker shirt

While this choice of shirt may not suit a corporate office, it does tick the sunny sartorial box for many whose work dress code is more relaxed. Thanks to its lightweight seersucker fabric, this will keep you cooler than your average cotton shirt. The rippled cloth allows for more breathability and the short sleeve style (which has made a formidable comeback this summer) ticks the seasonal trend, along with its boxy 1950s cut. The addition of the revere collar finds the right balance between ‘relaxed casual’ shirt and smarter work shirt, too. Team with loose pleated trousesr and navy or chocolate suede loafers worn sans socks, and you’ve got this heat thing sorted.

£199, shop now

city style

2. Oliver Spencer Judo pants

If you have a relaxed office dress code, when the temperatures soar there’s a natural temptation for you or your colleagues to pull on a pair of shorts, but I’ve yet to find an office-appropriate pair. While they work on the sweaty commute or enjoying an ice cream in the park at lunchtime, they suddenly feel a little exposing in an air-conditioned meeting room. These loose fitting trousers are a better solution; they taper through the leg for a flattering shape and are cut slightly shorter, adding to their breezy credentials. This olive pair is easy to team with a white gauzy shirt with sleeves rolled up and matched with a pair of bright white leather or canvas trainers.

£102, shop now

city style

3. Best Made Company canvas tote

Bags can be tricky in sticky heat; the very fact you have to carry one at all can be a source of perspiration. So, in summer, it’s best to keep body contact with the bag to an absolute minimum. Weird? Maybe, but the backpack and across body messenger bags can result in some seriously unattractive sweat patches if you’re not careful. This smart tote is a neat solution. It’s sized to carry your everyday essentials, but is less formal than a briefcase. The thin vegetable tanned leather straps can be carried in-hand, or will rest comfortably over one shoulder. The side slit pockets are an added bonus, and perfect to carry a much-needed bottle of water (or canteen of iced coffee)…

£90, shop now

city style

4. Tod’s Oiled-Suede Loafers

Even though the sun’s out, your footwear still matters. Given some of the unsightly choices displayed on London’s feet this past week, it seems limp flip flops, ugly sandals, battered trainers and even heavy work boots are still doing the rounds. Ignore these options and keep your choices limited. Suede loafers will work with practically anything from tailoring to looser cut linen trousers and shirts. They even smarten up a pair of shorts. The Italians are well versed in dressing for the heat and this pair of loafers by Tod’s prove the point. Crafted in Tods’ Italian workshop, the rich chocolate suede has been oiled across the toe and heel, giving them a rugged, worn-in look. They’re super lightweight and the rubber soles with the brand’s iconic ‘gommino’ studs add practical grip. To avoid sweaty feet, pull on a pair of very fine ribbed cotton socks in navy, or go for a summer sorbet colour of pink, lemon or sky blue. These will look sharp with dark suits as well as khaki chi nos.

£380, shop now

city style

5. Cubitts ‘Cartwright’ sunglasses

While we don’t advocate you wear these rather stylish sunnies inside your office, we would suggest they’re a summer travel essential. Squinting through the sunlight on the way into work, or dodging the glare with a post work drink in hand will only deepen those fine lines around the eyes. This amber acetate pair from London optician Cubitts will compliment most skin tones, being softer than dark tortoiseshell or black. The squared-off frames are flattering, too; helping to balance out round and oval shape faces. Keep these in your top jacket pocket or a proper case for easy access and don’t push them back on your head too frequently – this will loosen screws in the arms. Nobody wants slack sunnies falling down their sunburnt nose.

£125, shop now