Style

These Muted Colours Are Perfect For Summer 2021 

Look, you’ve been wearing black joggers for over a year now, it’s time to jazz things up a bit. Celebrate stepping tentatively back into life as we used to know it by adding some colour to your armoury. Don’t worry, I’m not talking about going crazy with it. This season, many labels are remaking some of the most essential menswear items in zingier, summer-ier shades. Whether you’re keen on keeping things more conservative with greens or creams or going for bold with pinks or yellows, slip a few of these pieces into your regular rotation this sun season – or, if you’re feeling it, go for a totally tonal shade head-to-toe. The world is, once again, your oyster.

Green

I like to think of green as ‘the other navy’. Supremely wearable, green complements all skin tones and is adept at fitting in nicely with the rest of your wardrobe (especially whites, pale blues, greys, beiges and, of course, denim). It puzzles me why it often fails to flash up on men’s radars, but this season there are plenty of shades to suit on the rails – so you can’t miss it.

Uniqlo X JW Anderson Flower Embroidered Polo Shirt

Uniqlo X JW Anderson Flower Embroidered Polo Shirt

British designer JW Anderson’s collaboration with Uniqlo gets better season after season. His latest features sun-tastic crisp colours and floral motifs. While there isn’t a single item I wouldn’t say no to, this pistachio-green polo with subtle flower embroidery on the chest is a real summer standout.

£19.90, available at Uniqlo.

New Balance 991

New Balance 991

Invented in 2001 and made famous as Steve Jobs’ trainer of choice, the New Balance 991 has become something of an icon over the past two decades. Recently the silhouette has had a sleek makeover as a part of the American sneaker-maker’s Made in UK line (crafted in their Cumbria factory) with this model, featuring leather and suede patches in green, claret red and sand.

£190, available at New Balance.

Octobre Editions Multicoloured Khaki Quarter Cap

Octobre Editions Multicoloured Khaki Quarter Cap

If your eyes are still adjusting to sunlight exposure once again, you’re going to need some protection. Fresh in from France, this multicoloured cap from Octobre Editions will have you covered (quite literally) whatever you’re planning to wear while soaking up those rays.

£60, available at Octobre Editions.

Thom Sweeney Striped Camp Collar Shirt

Thom Sweeney Striped Camp Collar Shirt

Just off Savile Row, London tailoring house Thom Sweeney continues to produce the kind of wear-anywhere staples that hit right at the centre of the smart-casual crosshair. This pleasingly chunky deck stripe shirt with a cheeky mini-Cuban collar would look as good with white jeans and sneakers in the city as it would with a pair of tailored shorts at Soho Farmhouse, cocktail in hand.

£260, available at Thom Sweeney.

Officine Generale Benjamin Jacket and Owen Chino

Officine Generale Benjamin Jacket and Owen Chino

Remember all those articles over lockdown about the death of the suit? Well, in offices that might be true, but outside of that they’re making a big comeback. Workwear two pieces are going to be your summer going-out staple. This relaxed-cut number from Paris-based label Officine Generale is a real what-ever-the-occasion winner.

£325 for the jacket, £240 for the trousers, available at Officine Generale.

Pink

No matter how bold you’re feeling, pink is a supremely versatile colour to add to your wardrobe. And before you go thinking that I’m recommending heading out for a DiCaprio-in-Gatsby pink three-piece, let me assure you that, in my opinion, pink is best deployed as a pop within an otherwise more neutral outfit. Plus, I don’t think there’s a bad shade to choose. Get those Mediterranean travel vibes with terracotta, rip up the rulebook with rose, feel plush in pastel – it’s all good.

Drake’s Pink ‘D’ Emblem Cotton-Cashmere Jumper

Drake’s Pink 'D' Emblem Cotton-Cashmere Jumper

Drake’s seasonal remix of its signature ‘D’ shirt is fast becoming one of my menswear highlights every six months. This time, it’s had a colourful, collegiate-style revamp in blue, beige and pink, inspired by American 1950s letterman jackets. They might look superb, but they also feel superb – each is crafted from lightweight cotton-cashmere crew neck, perfect for *sigh* those summer niiiiiiiii-iiiiiights.

£395, available at Drake’s.

Flax London Midweight Linen Smock Terracotta Pink

Flax London Midweight Linen Smock Terracotta Pink

I’ve made no secret of my love for Camberwell-based linen-crafters Flax London. While the label’s USP is making a series of staples that are available permanently, I’m always intrigued to see what new colours creep onto the books in addition to their trad green, blue and beige. This season it’s terracotta, a colour that transforms this classic mid-weight (5oz) linen smock into a must-have summer essential.

£110, available at Flax London.

Palm Bay Skates Cotton Loose Knit Socks in Dusty Pink

Palm Bay Skates Cotton Loose Knit Socks in Dusty Pink

Considering a skater’s unofficial uniform is cropped trousers and low-tops, it’s no wonder that skate brands have become such bastions of jazzy socks. For proof, look no further than Margate’s Palm Bay Skates. Based in the town’s vibey Cliftonville neighbourhood, the brand’s USP is embroidery, inspired by both 1950s Americana and the seaside – these pastel pink shell socks being an excellent example.

£12, available at Palm Bay Skates.

A Day’s March Camp-Collar Terry Shirt

A Day’s March Camp-Collar Terry Shirt

There are few items that scream “I’m on holiday” more than a terry cloth shirt. Immortalised by James Bond in Dr No, this new pink take on a perennial poolside favourite comes courtesy of Swedish label A Day’s March. If you can’t get abroad for a break this year, this is the shirt you need to bring those vacation vibes here to home turf.

£75, available at A Day’s March.

Cutler and Gross Round Frame Acetate Sunglasses

Cutler and Gross Round Frame Acetate Sunglasses

Pink to make whoever you want wink. Not you, though. These blush pink acetate shades from Cutler and Gross are fitted with beautiful brown lenses that provide 100% UV protection. If you want a pair, shake a leg – there are only 100 pairs exclusivity at mrporter.com.

£320, available at Mr Porter.

Off-White

Sometimes the freshest colour for summer is no colour. Well, kind of. Neutrals – items in off-white, cream and beige – make excellent, easy swap-outs for your existing favourites. Not only will these shades reflect the sun and make you stand out, but merely wearing them shows you’ve committed to summer weather from here on out. Nothing says “I’m not expecting rain today” than a pair of crisp white trousers.

Percival Everyday Trousers

Percival Everyday Trousers

If you’re the sort of chap who gets stressed that they’re going to spill something on light trousers, these slacks from Percival are just what you need. With an elasticated waist and straight cut, these trousers are relaxed enough to make up for your overthinking when you’re sitting down and reaching out for that cappuccino. Aaaaaand breathe.

£110, available at Percival.

Oliver Spencer Ryde Bomber Jacket Falke Cream

Oliver Spencer Ryde Bomber Jacket Falke Cream

A breezy take on a stone cold classic. This Harrington-style bomber by British tailoring titan Oliver Spencer is cut from a lightweight Portuguese cotton and linen blend in a beautiful shade of cream that feels just as rebellious to wear as one cut from leather – just a helluva lot less sweat inducing in the height of summer.

£329, available at Oliver Spencer.

Holzweiler Zepha Mac Coat

Holzweiler Zepha Mac Coat

As sage songstress Vanessa Williams once warbled: “Sometimes the snow comes down in June”. Even if it’s just a light rain shower or simply an extra bit of protection from a chilly breeze, there comes a time when a man might need a little added protection over the summer months – and, for that, you need one of these new super lightweight Zepha macs from Norweigan streetwear label Holzweiler.

£303, available at Holzweiler.

Grenson Men’s “Lloyd” Penny Loafers

Grenson Men's "Lloyd" Penny Loafers 

Due to its cat-like hatred of water, a suede loafer is perhaps the ultimate expression of confidence in the weather that day. Choosing a pair in a ‘hidesno- secrets’ shade of beige is therefore next level sun confidence. Wearing your pair for the first time should make you smile – it’s proof that summer is officially here. Slip ‘em on and get out there.

£280, available at Grenson.

Native Sons Boris Square-Frame Acetate Sunglasses

Native Sons Boris Square-Frame Acetate Sunglasses

Native Sons’ sunglasses are handmade in Japan using acetate derived from cotton oil, a natural material that doesn’t involve harmful chemicals. If that’s the kind of transparency you’re into, then this clear acetate version of the brand’s Boris shades, fitted with lighter-than-light brown lenses, will most certainly suit.

£355, available at Native Sons.

Yellow

Yellow tends to get a bad rep as one of those impossible-to-wear colours, but the trick to nailing it is mastering which shade or shades work for you. As a general rule those with paler complexions will better suit darker, warmer shades (think mustard, egg yolk, that sort of thing) whereas those with darker complexions should go for fresher, cooler shades (lemon, sherbert, pastel). Either way, there’s never been a better time to do a bit of research and give it a go – as one of the trending colours of the season, there’s a shade for every guy out there right now.

Universal Works Utility SS Shirt In Gold Poplin

Universal Works Utility SS Shirt In Gold Poplin

Light and breezy in shirt form, this short-sleever has a distinct workwear vibe thanks to its prominent double breast pockets and straight hem. And the golden yellow shade is about as summery as it gets.

£105, available at Universal Works.

Luis Morais 14-Karat Gold, Bead and Diamond Bracelet

Luis Morais 14-Karat Gold, Bead and Diamond Bracelet

Want something in a seasonably appropriate colour to complement your watch? This eye-catching 14-karat gold, bead and diamond bracelet from Brazilian men’s jewellery expert Luis Morais is exactly the sort of wrist action you’re looking for.

£145, available at Mr Porter.

Clae “Bradley California” White Leather Pale Banana

Clae "Bradley California" White Leather Pale Banana

Designed in LA, it’s hardly surprising that Clae often draws its inspiration from the beautiful and varied landscapes of the City of Angels. However, its latest California Pack branches further afield, taking the whole state as its canvas. I am a fan of the yellow tab at the back of the white Bradley sneaker – a shade the company calls ‘pale banana’, which I can only hope is a nod to quite possibly the best university mascot in the world: University of California Santa Cruz’s Banana Slug (seriously, look it up).

£120, available at Clae.

Folk “Ecru Ochre” Classic Stripe Tee

Folk "Ecru Ochre" Classic Stripe Tee

This t-shirt is full-on sitting in a deckchair at the seaside with a 99 in the best possible way. And while I think it’s begging to be worn with shorts and a bucket hat, it would also look fantastic with a pair of jeans.

£60, available at Folk Clothing.

11.11 / Eleven Eleven Bandhani-dyed Cotton Khadi Shirt

11.11 / Eleven Eleven Bandhani-dyed Cotton Khadi Shirt

Renowned for its use of indigenous cotton, 100% natural dyes and heritage craft techniques 11.11 / Eleven Eleven makes its clothes in small-batches in collaboration with artisans all across India. The result? Relaxed, summer-perfect fits with stories to tell. This mustard-yellow shirt, for example, is dyed using a Bandhani technique dating back to 4000 BC – and it still looks fresh today.

£330, available at Matches Fashion.

Editor’s Picks

A few new and noteworthy items for your sartorial consideration…

Ruskin London “The Quentin” in Black Leather and Tweed

Ruskin London "The Quentin" in Black Leather and Tweed

Whether you were headed to work out after clocking off or collecting the kids from nursery, you were already carrying a lot with you in everyday life. Then the pandemic hit and now, as we return to some form of normality, you need to remember even more (“where the hell did I leave the hand sanitiser?!”). In short, you need a good bag now more than ever – and Ruskin London makes some great ones. Its Quentin model, pictured here, is a next-level tote: smart enough to take to a meeting with clients (thanks to its tweed body and sleek leather trim) but with enough space to pack your laptop, gym kit and an emergency face mask or five.

£660, available at Ruskin London.

Sunspel Neroli Sun Eau De Parfum 100ml

Sunspel Neroli Sun Eau De Parfum 100ml

Not content with making the most comfortable lounge gear and underwear around, Sunspel is now making waves in the fragrance world. Having teamed up with legendary perfumer Lyn Harris on its first scent, Oak Wood, last year, the pair have collaborated once again on its sublimely summery sequel, Neroli Sun (which has just dropped online and in store). Inspired by summer in the English countryside, it blends mouth-wateringly crisp citruses with aromatic rosemary and lavender, while green notes of vetiver and moss bubble underneath. An infinitely wearable sun-season scent that’ll make you smile as soon as you spray it.

£90 for 100ml, available at  Sunspel.

SIGR ‘Strandvägen’ Cycling Chino Shorts in Khaki

SIGR 'Strandvägen' Cycling Chino Shorts in Khaki 

While we might be going out in town again, the idea of getting on an enclosed bus or tube train still doesn’t feel like the most attractive way of getting there. If you’re taking to two wheels for your transportation needs, look into the commuter gear from Swedish cycle brand, SIGR. Of particular note are these Strandvägen shorts, which have bike-essential benefits such as added stretch and reflective pocket flaps, but are a far sleeker (and more socially acceptable) alternative than skin-tight lycra for post-cycle situations.

£61, available at SIGR.

Serengeti Eyewear “Boron” Frames

Serengeti Eyewear "Boron" Frames

Inspired by the golden age of American cars, there’s no disputing that these Boron frames by Serengeti Eyewear look great – but what really sets them apart are the lenses. They’re infused with ‘photochromic’ technology which adapts to any light condition, activated by the amount of UV radiation in the atmosphere. In bright conditions, UV radiation is more intense so the lens molecules expand and darken the lenses so less light can then pass through. In darker conditions, UV radiation is less intense so the molecules shrink and separate to allow more light to pass through. It also makes vision appear crisper and more defined – a bit like wearing an Instagram filter that changes to ensure whatever you’re seeing looks its best.

£350, available at Serengeti Eyewear.

About the author

Nick Carvell

A lifelong fan of double denim (even triple on occasion), Nick started his career as Social Media Editor of mrporter.com before working as Associate Style Editor at British GQ then Editor of The Jackal. He is now a freelance menswear editor – as well as Oracle Time’s Style Editor-at-Large – writing from lockdown at his kitchen table in South London.

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