On summer trousersBy Simon Crompton
I just realised that in my previous post this week, on summer jackets, I neglected to mention what I own and what I am having made. I assume they might be useful examples.
I own three summer jackets already (made to measure rather than bespoke unfortunately): a tan linen jacket, half-lined with a nice variegated yellow-to-brown herringbone; a yellow cotton gabardine jacket, unlined and of almost no internal structure (bought on honeymoon in Florence); and a navy basket-weave jacket, quarter lined with some nice white taping on the internal seams.
And I am having made (at Graham Browne in London, bespoke): a 9-ounce cashmere/silk jacket in brown with pale blue overcheck (Sandringham bunch, John Hardy), unlined and seams taped with blue Liberty shirt cotton; and a pale grey cashmere jacket, half lined, of a slightly heavier weight but done in a rather open weave (W Bill). All jackets, in this and the previous paragraph, single breasted.
Though I hope to eventually replace the tan, yellow and navy jackets with bespoke ones, I think the collection overall covers almost every base, certainly colour-wise.
But the subject of this post is summer trousers – what to wear with those jackets. Now the first thing to remember is that trousers wear cooler than jackets. This means that you can get away with heavier cloth and there is really no need to go down the linen route or (heaven forefend) wear shorts.
[Incidentally, I don’t dislike shorts in a smart get-up – when I saw Patrick Grant at Norton & Sons recently he was wearing some E Tautz shorts with a shirt and knit tie, which I think worked well. But it doesn’t work with a jacket. The schoolboy associations become overwhelming.]
So cloths I would recommend for summer trousers are: a nice lightweight pale-grey worsted wool, perhaps in a rougher weave than normal to keep them looking casual (Panta of New York does a nice style); a cream flannel, perhaps for slightly cooler days, in a trim cut and probably with turn-ups; and finally a nice white cotton, in a plain weave and without turn-ups to keep the look clean.
All three pairs of trousers could be worn with almost any of the jackets listed above (the only one I wouldn’t recommend is the cream flannel with tan or yellow – might look at little too yellowy all over).
The weight of the cotton isn’t that important, as it will wear similarly whatever. But with the flannel and worsted, go for a couple of ounces heavier than you would instinctively in summer trousers. With an unlined jacket, loafers and bare ankles, you’ll never notice.