How to rise to the occasion by dressing appropriately for every summer event
By Jason Basson and Ian Engelbrecht
A gentleman knows that a little effort goes a long way, and whether you're meeting the in-laws, attending your end-of-year soiree or simply trying to look respectable at lunch, there's an appropriate outfit for each and every occasion. Unfortunately there's no one-stop wardrobe fix that will help you through the labyrinthine mess of events you'll be invited to this season. Which is also the beauty of getting dressed for an occasion – interpreting the dress code correctly and creatively. Let us be your guide along the path of righteous style, no matter the occasion.
Sometimes you need to look respectable, but don't necessarily want all the fuss of a fully formal look. Whether it's a lunch with the in-laws or a trip to your family home for the weekend, it's always good to flex your fit, and you don't need to compromise on comfort either. A combination of tailored chinos and a golfer will do the trick. Opt for a smart leather sandal as an alternative to flip flops and tie it all together with a lightweight jacket, emphasizing formal detailing like a micro-check print or structured collar.
A Hot Date
First impressions are everything and over dressing is almost as bad as being under dressed. Smart-casual is your friend, friend. Here's what to do. Wear fitted jeans, not the oversized, shapeless variety and definitely not skinny. The former will make you look sluggish; the latter won't leave much to the imagination and will only make you look like you have a bit of growing up to do. Go for a charcoal shirt with a check print. It's less pretentious than your work shirt and the colour will conceal any unsightly wine stains that you might gather throughout the evening as your nerves get the best of you. Top it off with a sturdy dress boot (for a bit of masculine charm) and a grey blazer. It's a nice neutral choice that won't make you look like a chop. Show off some personality (and sensitivity) with a floral lapel pin.
A Retro Dress Up
This one's a real charmer, and works for garden parties as well as trying your luck at the casino, too. The best part is that you won't have to hit the costume hire place to pull it off. You'll need a pastel trouser with a wide cut in the leg and a higher waistline that you can then dress up with white shoes, a tablecloth check shirt and a navy blazer (to give the look a more sophisticated edge). Bring in the full retro effect by unbuttoning the collar and spreading it out over the lapels of your blazer. Throw in a pocket square for a bit of panache. Best-dressed anybody?
A Black Tie Do
Did you know that you can do black tie without an actual black tie? Crazy, right! Though tradition conventionally calls for details like this as well as satin lapels and the correct hour a man may remove his jacket, the modern variations on formal evening style allow you to wear a cropped trouser, an extended cuff and the horse-bit slipper in lieu of the traditional patent dress shoe, a la Gucci style.
A Daytime Affair
Whether you like it or not, occasion often calls for a suit during daytime in the summer. Here's what to do. First off, make sure you go for soft daytime hues – anything in the bleached earth colour range or, if you're feeling a bit peacockish, a combination of pastels. Then make sure you pick your fabrics wisely: linens or linen blends, bamboo, hemp and seersucker. Not only do these breathe well and keep you cool, they also have odour-fighting anti-microbial properties that will help you stay and feel fresh for longer. Remember to style down for a more relaxed look: unbutton your collar a few notches and keep your blazer unfastened. Top it all off with a nice daytime brogue for comfort and don't forget your shades.
An Evening Affair
Yes, blue suits and brown shoes are traditionally worn at the office, but let's do away with outdated traditions for now and go with what's current. Pick a darker shade of blue and wear it with a crisp white or light blue shirt (a concealed button shirt is a very smart choice and dressier than a conventional button-down shirt). Ditch the belt, as this brings it into daytime style. Opt for a brown shoe either in a darker, more sophisticated tone or with an ombre detail on the toe, which is what makes it a dress shoe. You could go modern with a plain or woven tie, but a paisley detail is great for evoking a little bit of old-world elegance without making you look like an antique.