The month of August is quickly fading away. The depressing march to the howling winter will soon begin, away from careless innocence and onwards to hard reality. However, this change in the seasons is not mourned by all. Most sartorialists I know abhor the summer as the discomfort that has to be endured in the heat not only stands in the way of their own aesthetic ideals, but also brings out what they consider to be the worst in their fellow man. Often maximalists, these sartorialists are restricted by temperature to reducing their normal wardrobe and are forced to take to wearing ‘ungentlemanly’ things like shorts and open-necked shirts.
Personally, I adore the summer. It is the one season in the year when I feel younger; messing about in the sea, spending enormous amounts of time outside, leading an active, sporty lifestyle, taking trips abroad. Youth returns in those sweaty months; the sun shines and life doesn’t seem as bad as it does in the dark days of December. The fact that I have to wear less clothing, and more practical clothing, does not dampen my enjoyment of the season.
However, whilst I do not agree with the heat-haters on that score, I do concur that the warm weather does bring out some of the most vile and undeserving fashions from our fellow man. In that sense, if there is one positive (for me) from the dismantling of summer it is that we will not be subjected to them for too much longer.
Shorts that aren’t short
One of the most frustrating sights of the summer is of a fully grown man wearing shorts that aren’t actually short. Falling well past his knees, they reveal about 20cm of lower calf. What, pray, is the point? The most important consideration about shorts is that they should be well-proportioned; shorts that descend almost to the ankle are poorly proportioned, and they simply end up looking like excessively short trousers. They also make the wearer look like he wears cast-offs from his teenage son. If you want to wear shorts, wear something that hits the knee but does not go past it.
I have never understood why people seem to equate walking around historic sites in a city to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Enormous mountaineering rucksacks with aluminium water bottles jangling from the straps, multi-pocketed shorts – presumably containing all necessary survival gear for a journey from the hotel to the museum – and worst of all, sports sandals. Velcro strapped, with some ridiculous faux-Incan name and design on the label, they are not only unnecessary for such adventures they are also hideously ugly. What’s wrong with leather sandals?
One of the blessings of autumn, and especially winter, is that the most vulgar, branded clothing is packed away for another year – fortunately, no one has yet had the stupidity to sew furry lettering onto an overcoat. However, in summer the walking billboards are everywhere. Abercrombie this, Hollister that; summertime is an exhibition of insecurity. The shame of it is that it is not only chronically self-doubting teenagers who feel the need to don a $100 t-shirt in order to feel ‘part of the moment’; men of 45-50 years who should be world-weary and reasoned, strut down the street with ‘A&F’ plastered across their chests. What are they trying to prove?