Style Inspiration For Island Living – Because It's Not All Bikinis And Beach Bags
The joys of a trip to the Caribbean are manifold. The weather! The music! The people! The food! But for bewildered, Vitamin D-deficient Brits more accustomed to the drab climes of the UK than sun-drenched beaches, there is a crucial question to be answered – how on earth does one dress?
“Dressing well for hot weather can cause even the most sartorially astute to breakout in a cold sweat” says menswear stylist Gareth Scourfield. “The simple fact is we don’t get enough practice during the year to find our fine weather groove, so when it comes to nailing your style for a sun-drenched Caribbean island, one can easily end up resembling a sweaty mess that’s more Death in Paradise than Mick Jagger’s louche swagger while holidaying on Mustique!”
Thankfully, with the help of Scourfield’s simple style rules, achieving something close to the latter image is not an impossibility. So before you pack your suitcase, here are his top tips.
Firstly, make sure all your clothes are made from natural fibres; cottons, linens and silks fair a lot better in hot climates, than sweat-inducing synthetics.
Embrace the white stuff
When it comes to white, most men doesn’t usually go beyond their daily business shirt. Invest in some cotton white chinos or a fuller pleated cotton trouser. The advantages are twofold – more air circulating around your legs, the bright white keeps you cooler while reflecting the sun and they are just a damn good trouser to wear with a rolled up shirt sleeve and a pair of sandals or boat shoes.
But don’t fear colour!
The flip side to wearing white (a collarless cotton or linen shirt should also be a
summer staple) is embracing colour and pattern. Against the blue Caribbean
skies flanked by lush green palms, it’s the perfect opportunity to embrace your
inner Magnum PI. The Hawaiian print shirts have been doing the rounds on the
catwalks for some time now, so team yours with a pair of pleated tailored shorts, a khaki rolled up chino, or a pair of tailored knee length shorts rather than aTom Selleck stonewashed tight jean.
Put your best foot forward
Avoid spoiling the carefree look by pulling up a pair of sports socks with sandals; a pitfall lot of men seem hell bent on pursuing. While the socks and sandals look again have been shown on designer catwalks, it’s not a look that transcends to island living, unless of course you happen to be a native of Bermuda, where it’s considered de-rigueur with a long tailored Bermuda short. In the main, socks and sandals or pool side sliders always look a bit try hard, even on the cool kids of Shoreditch. The very reason summer footwear is designed the way it is, is to expose feet to the warm sunshine - not cover them up. I would add that given your feet are hidden away for most months of the year,
invest in a good pedicure before you do unleash them to fellow islanders.
Overall, keep it light and loose – feeling comfortable is just as important as
looking good. Short sleeve camp collar shirts are a stylish alternative to the more traditional polo shirts and the boxy 1950’s shape looks good on most body shapes and ages. Going for a more dressed up approach? Then keep it pared back with cotton or linen unstructured blazer, a cotton camp collar shirt, a full pleated trouser and a pair of soft suede loafers – sans socks!