The ultimate checklist for summer dressing by designer Kunal Rawal
Designer Kunal Rawal on the must-haves and the must-avoids for summer dressingHT48HRS_Special Updated: Mar 31, 2016 15:06 IST
Rising temperatures isn’t the only thing that worry men with a regard for their appearance. As summer approaches, the options for dressing impeccably reduce gradually. The layers that otherwise uplift your outfit game are replaced by anything that keeps you from sweating in the unforgiving Mumbai summers.
Bring out the pastels: Remember, this is the season when you can say ‘less is more’ and actually mean it. Now’s the time to bring out pastels that stay hidden in your closet the rest of the year. And I can’t stress enough on how important it is to stick to breathable natural fabrics like cotton, linen and even mull. Artificial fabrics may cost less, but they will make you sweat more. Instead, opt for a breathable shirt, and keep it untucked. Be careful of the length, though: don’t wear a long, untucked shirt.
Loose is still sloppy: More often than not, people start wearing loose clothes to escape the heat. That’s a mistake. The correct fit is crucial. A well-fitted (but not too tight) cotton tee is a key item that can be layered under a dress shirt to absorb sweat. It can even be used as the base for a lightweight overshirt. A look I personally love is teaming printed overshirts with a solid cotton tee or vest.
Get the classic polo tee: If the occasion calls for something more formal, an Oxford button down shirt or a classic polo tee works well. It pairs as beautifully with a blazer as with a pair of khakhi shorts. You can now also get polos tees in fabrics thinner than the conventional pique counterpart. Although jackets and blazers are obviously best kept on the shelf, sometimes they are unavoidable. If faced with such a situation, go for a half-lined or unlined one, in cotton or linen. And though they tend to wrinkle more, they are a better bet than wool blends.
Say hello to short sleeves: If shirts are the norm where you work, try micro-printed short-sleeve shirts, a big trend right now. High on design, they work well with chinos. Cotton and linen chinos with some stretch are your saviour pants for summer. Durable, lightweight and breathable, they tick all the right boxes. They pair well with formal and casual clothing alike and you can get them in quite a few colours.
How to make shorts dressy: Although primarily casual, shorts can look dressy if you style them with an over- or a lightweight button-down shirt, and a great pair of slip-ons. The length should be just right: grazing the knee. Anything shorter looks like gym shorts; anything longer like capris. The busier the pattern, the less sleek it looks. Shorts with a lot of pockets, loops and oversized elements are forgivable only if you’re in college or out on a trek.
Can’t give up denims?: Some people practically live in their denims. But if you’re going to be out for long stretches, you need to consider that despite being made of cotton, jeans are trap heat. So, go for worn-in, lightweight denims instead of raw ones. And if you’re like me, you’ll always have a change of clothes in your bag.
Kunal Rawal is a leading men’s fashion designer. He tweets as @kunalrawalvibe