WEARING a morning suit – as you have to for Ascot – may not be to everyone’s taste, but at least it means you don’t have to worry about what outfit to choose. For men heading to the corporate hospitality stands at Wimbledon next week, or to the other summer events where sun, sport and champagne lubricate the schmoozing of clients, there’s something of a sartorial conundrum to deal with – how to dress smartly for warm weather? The hospitality boxes at Wimbledon or Lords are normally full of men in their work suits, sans tie, as though dressed for Blair-era cabinet meeting. It really doesn’t shout suaveness.
For something with a bit more panache, it all comes down to the blazer. The classic men’s smart-casual jacket has been reborn in the last couple of years, going from the voluminous, double brass-buttoned garment of old to something slimmer, lighter and bang on trend when mixed with natty chinos. Not only has the cut and structure been streamlined, but navy blue is not the only blazer colour – pale pastel tones and gentle stripes are viable, or you can take a leap out of Roger Federer’s book with an cream number.
“You want something lightweight, and an unlined blazer in a high-twist cotton or summer-weight wool is perfect,” says Will Forrester, brand director of Gieves & Hawkes, which has its own dedicated blazer room in its 1 Savile Row HQ. “Keep it really basic, with a plain shirt with a white collar, and don’t over accessorise.”
Ryan Hackett, design director at Austin Reed, agrees. While the artfully crumpled linen suit or lightweight seersucker suit are well-worn summer favourites, he says the key right now is getting “deliberate separates” right. “You don’t want to look too casual, but you also don’t want to look like you just stepped out of the office,” he says. “You need to find a jacket that doesn’t look like you’ve taken your suit jacket and changed the trousers.” For a more edgy take on the classic chino/blazer look, he recommends coloured chinos. “They’re very in fashion right now, rounded off with boating shoes or a very smart loafer.”
GET THE LOOK
1 Stone single breasted jacket by Gieves & Hawkes, £600
2 Light blue cargo trousers by Gieves & Hawkes, £175, www.gievesandhawkes.com
3 Cotton trousers by Brooks Brothers, £85, www.mrporter.com
4 Cotton blazer by Richard James, £345, www.mrporter.com
5 Ticking stripe jacket by Austin Reed, £199, www.austinreed.co.uk
6 Roll-up Panama hat by Dunhill, £415, www.mrporter.com