Author: <span class="vcard">Winston Chesterfield</span>

As December and the shiny new year approaches, some men will be looking to dust off their old tuxedo. And so, whether your tux is old, whether you plan to ‘get by’ with what you have or are considering splashing out, this advice is for you.

I am actually looking forward to autumn. I may regret this statement in a month or so, when it has turned drastically colder, when the streets are cheerless wind tunnels and the rain beats down relentlessly on my trusty umbrella; all things which explain why usually, I hate this time of year.

It’s a dreary time I find; one is at the baggage reclaim at Gatwick airport, other bags look like one’s bags; scratched thick plastic, ubiquitous logos. ‘It might be mine’ you say to yourself in your head, not realising how depressing that thought is at the time; that one’s luggage has all the individualism of a Wal-Mart uniform.

Unfortunately, having nice luggage seems to be an idle dream.

Today in Westminster is cold, grey and wet; welcome back to London the weather says to me. And yet on Monday I was sauntering down the Via Camarelle on the beautiful island of Capri, rejoicing in the warmth and the beautiful blue sky of a southern Italian afternoon.

And what did I wear? Colours. All the shades of the rainbow I could dare to don. Here in London, under a leaden sky, the bright azures, salmon pinks, Ferrari reds and canary yellows just seem out of place. But on Capri, colour cocktails are the all-day uniform of the Caprese jet-setters. To wear greys and blacks without a significant dash of colour seems like a sin, and it is the one place one feels totally comfortable in wearing fruit-coloured jumpers draped over one’s shoulders.

In the grand city of London, it is said one can always rely upon the weather to be unreliable. In the morning it may be beaming with sunshine, but come lunchtime and the dark clouds cast gloom over ones head. Likewise, a soggy morning can lead one to don raincoat, stout shoes and perhaps even a daring sou’wester and yet one may feel ridiculous in the afternoon glow as the clouds drift away.

What makes a summer garden party? I have a theory that it is actually the people who make it. Inviting a lively, attractive crowd will do more for an event than all the chicken wings, Rioja and Space-age Bachelor Pad music in the world.

For one thing, the soul of a good garden party or barbecue is the conversation between those attending. How sophisticated or enjoyable this conversation is will depend largely on what tone is set; too jocund, and the event can be abandoned as too raucous, and equally, too staid and dull and people will be thumbing the tops of their wine glasses, pondering the possible entertainment value of a nearby wake.

This halfway point between ferocious fun and utter boredom is exactly the point to be remembered when choosing clothing for such an event.

credit - Edward QuinnIf you mention King Edward VIII, later Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor in conversation, sadly the only response one is likely to get is; ‘Oh, the guy who married the Wallis Simpson woman.’ The fact of the matter is that this man’s legacy is overshadowed by his practically small, but consequentially huge decision to abdicate, thus giving up the crown in order to marry the woman he loved. Precious little is known of his youth or his other influences. Such was the consternation of the British establishment, and so mighty was their power in the early part of the 20th century, that later generations of British people have known him for little more than the man who wanted to marry a divorcee.