As the mercury continues to rise in the UK’s longest period of dry hot weather in years, our summer wardrobes have never been put through such rigorous and persist wear. Certainly, some of my favourite buys from the beginning of the season have had more serious wear than I could have predicted – a late summer wardrobe expansion is on the cards.
But, just what are the best basics to keep you cool in this heat? From washed linen slacks to cool printed shirts, it’s time to get your head around those pieces usually reserved for your annual two week vacation – even in London town. Here, we’ve curated five favourites to pep up your high summer look while the sun still shines. After all, if the weathermen are to be believed, you can hold off buying those warmer autumn pieces for a while yet.
1. Tods pleated stretch cotton shorts
Now, I may have previously noted that shorts should be a go-to for holidays and chilled out weekends – and not for the office. But, in heat like this, exceptions can be made. This pleated pair by Italian designer powerhouse Tod’s are (just) smart enough for an urban office, thanks to their tailored looks and generous cut. Team with a washed linen shirt (see below) with sleeves rolled up and tails tucked in to show off those elegant pleats. Wear with a pair of soft suede penny loafers.
£265, shop now
2. Drakes blue washed linen spread collar shirt
We first discovered these washed linen shirts at Pitti Uomo. We loved them then and we love them now. They’re perfect for this climate and totally easy to wear. This blue version packs a punch of summery colour, compared to the darker navy you’d most likely choose in winter. Its both practical and office friendly, and plays up to the beauty of wearing linen – it looks better worn with natural creases. The cloth is soft and light, thanks to its pre-washed condition, too. Wear unbuttoned sans tie, with a pair of navy or khaki cotton chinos or super-lightweight wool trousers (a surprisingly cooling choice) and finish with a pair of suede monkstraps or simple white leather sneakers.
£155, shop now
3. Stussy ‘Hana’ camp-collar printed voile shirt
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock these past few weeks, you’ll have noticed that printed short sleeve camp collar shirts have been the big hit of the summer. From geometric patterns to exotic Hawaiian prints, they’ve been worn by everyone from young Hoxton hipsters to ageing dad’s (I include myself in the latter). We love this piece from Stussy, a brand more commonly associated with logo-printed skatewear. The print is sparing and subtle and the super lightweight cotton voile is practical in the warmest of weather. This looks good on its own with a pair of pleated trousers or the aforementioned white shorts. If you’re concerned with its lightness getting to hot and sticky, we recommend wearing one of Uniqlo’s white wicking tees underneath, keeping your torso cool and perspiration free.
£140, shop now
4. Castaner ‘Pablo’ suede espadrilles
This Spanish brand has its heart and ‘sole’ (sorry all!) in summer footwear and its espadrilles couldn’t be more welcome right now. Since its inception back in 1927, they’ve been worn by the great and the good alike, but it wasn’t until designer Mr Yves Saint Laurent featured a pair in his collection back in the 1960s that they really took off. This pair is constructed in the softest of suedes with traditional rope soles, which are reinforced with handy non-slip rubber outer-soles. The soft colour will enhance even the most lightly tanned feet and look good worn in the city with rolled navy chinos, as well as on the beach or poolside with a simple pair of shorts.
£85, shop now
5. The Gigi tapered-leg cotton trousers
I first became aware of this cult Italian brand in early spring and bought a pleated version of these in navy (no surprise there), but this updated version in khaki will be hitting my shopping basket before summer’s out, too. The cotton fabric is light and soft, and the cut is flattering and airy thanks to those double pleat tops and tapered legs. These also feature two deep cut back pockets and the rolled edge side seams – sharp details, both. Let these be the hero of your outfit and wear with a simple striped cotton T-shirt from Sunspel, and a pair of sleek Converse or Common Projects. Alternatively, dress them up with a chic navy unlined blazer for balmy evenings on rooftop terraces.
£195, shop now