Warm weather makes your wardrobe simpler. With fewer layers come less worry about whether things work together. In fact, there’s only two issues you face in the morning: keeping cool, and how to look interesting when you’ve got less fabric to work with. Beats frostbite as the day’s big challenge.
Dressing for right now is a touch trickier. It’s not quite t-shirt and shorts weather, but you definitely don’t need a coat. It’s sweaty in the day, but you still need layers when you stay out past dusk. “After a long winter, it’s tempting to dress as though it’s 30 degrees all the time,” says Thread stylist Alice Watt.
“But this is Britain and truly hot days are the exception. Not the norm.” That means there are smarter ways to welcome sunshine than stripping down to a vest. “Summer is about freedom,” says Alice. “You don’t have to wear bulky layers, you don’t have to wear warming fabrics. You can wear whatever you want. Now’s the time to swap everything thick and heavy for things that feel light and freeing. Then, introduce some colour.”
The light changes as the Earth spins round the sun. In summer, it arrives from a higher angle that rewards bright and pastel colours, rather than the deep, earthy tones you wore in winter. “You don’t need to wear things you’re uncomfortable with,” says Alice. “But a bright blue rather than navy, or a bold green instead of olive, instantly lifts your mood and makes your wardrobe feel more summery.” Below, Alice breaks down four looks that are perfect right now, so you’re covered until the cold comes back.
In summer, your grey and navy suits feel like the binbags boxers wear to make weight. Formal dress codes mean stripping down isn’t an option, so you need to lighten up instead. “A suit made in a lightweight fabric, like tropical wool, or a a linen- or cotton-blend, is specifically designed for warm weather, so it doesn’t look like it’s been repurposed,” says Alice.
The shade reflects the sun, so you’ll stay comfortable, but it’s still grey, which won’t annoy your boss. To make doubly sure you’re on the right side of the dress code, ensure it fits well. “If it’s too loose, it feels relaxed,” says Alice. “Like the kind of suit you might wear on holiday.”
At this time of year, it pays to be a little pessimistic. Gorgeous mornings often turn grey by home time, so even if you have to carry your coat on your way in, it’s helpful to have one just in case. “With lightweight layers, you can add or take things away and it still feels comfortable and looks smart,” says Alice. “And everything here has a looser, more relaxed fit, which means you won’t feel constricted if it does get really hot.”
A look like this is also proof that what worked in winter can work in summer, with a few small tweaks. “The fabric in the shirt, its collar, the roll-up on the chinos – they all make it feel more summery,” says Alice. “They’re great details if you prefer darker colours, but still want to be seasonal.”
Evenings at the start of summer are still chilly. Which is why in the early hours, cab ranks are full of guys shivering in shirt sleeves. “It’s all about balancing warm and cold at this time of year,” says Alice. “Suede shoes and lighter jeans are really summery, but by adding a knit and a lightweight jacket, you’ve got options for layering. It’s colourful and light, but you don’t look like you’re on holiday.”
By picking those kinds of colours, you make your cold-beating layers more summery. “The pink and blue balance each other out,” says Alice. “The tones are light but functional and because the fabrics aren’t too heavy, you get a feeling of sunshine, even after dark.”
When you’re out all day, you want to be prepared in case the weather changes. Lightweight layers ensure you’ve got an option in case the sun does end up behind a cloud. “It’s colourful and light without showing off lots of skin,” says Alice. “So it’s summery, but not ridiculously so.”
If the colours seem brighter than you’re used to, then know that the jeans make them more wearable. “It’s safe, but it makes the tones in the shirt and jacket shine,” says Alice. “You don’t need dark colours to anchor bright ones – it’s about using shades that feel appropriate but are also neutral. So you give the stand out item, like a madras shirt, the spotlight.”