The British like nothing better than to talk about the weather.
If amateur meteorology were an Olympic sport, our little island would win gold every time. This, however, isn't really a surprise when you think of our weather which is, for want of a more sophisticated word, weird.
The last few years have seen our weather patterns become a little unpredictable. Earlier this year we had an April that felt as cold as a Siberian winter, and yesterday, in early October, the sun was blazing and I saw a man in a pair of flip flops. And while this summer was, for the most part, glorious this year, the last few years have seen our summers being massive wash outs. Typically British, yes, but also bloody cold.
Which leads me onto clothes. The fashion industry still works on a spring/summer autumn/winter model, with new collections focussing on clothes that are really only suitable for one season or the other.
However, the well-dressed man on the street increasingly needs a versatile wardrobe that can cope with everything the British weather system can throw at him. Days like that one in March, where we had blazing sunshine, which turned to hail, and then to snow.
So what do you buy? Well I'd start with the towelling tee by Our Legacy. In classic marl grey, it makes the perfect start to any outfit, smart or casual, and it's light enough for the random hot days we're likely to have over the coming months, whilst warm enough to provide the base for wrapping up against the winter cold. It's also a crew neck which, in my humble opinion, is always preferable to a v-neck tee.
If you wanted to take the outfit up in the smart stakes, you could do far worse than looking at the range of long sleeved shirts we stock by Liberty London. We're very proud to be the exclusive London retailer for Liberty print shirts, and I love the current range.
These 100% cotton beauties are an essential for any wardrobe, regardless of the season. The distinctive prints work under a suit or chunky knit, or worn with the sleeves rolled up accompanying a pair of tailored shorts. They're also made from a slightly thicker cotton which means they can be worn alone in autumn or spring.
Now denim is a year-round wardrobe staple. But what pair of jeans should you invest in? Dark hues work well in in the winter, but a truly versatile pair will be a darker shade of blue rather than a solid black. My favourite brand at the moment is Edwin, a Japanese firm with over sixty years' experience producing top-quality garments. This ink-blue pair perfectly compliment the shirt and tee we've talked about, and are dark enough for a smart-casual office, yet casual enough for the most laid-back off-duty days. The subtle design touches, like the discrete roll up and distinctive pocket detailing give all Edwin jeans a little something extra, and you'll wear them safe in the knowledge that the brand is exclusive enough to ensure that you won't bump into many others wearing the same threads as you.
You will, naturally, be wanting a pair of shoes to complete your multipurpose wardrobe, and I don't think you can ever go wrong with a pair of loafers. These William Fox & Sons penny loathers by GH Bass are absolute essentials. Impeccably smart, they'll go perfectly with your week-wear suit, but lose the black socks and throw on a pair of chinos and they also work perfectly at the weekend.
A good pair of shoes like this, hand stitched and with a leather outsole, will repel most of what the skies throw at you, be it summer or winter. Though, to really be prepared for those April snowstorms, I'd also invest in a pair of Hunter's finest...
(Images supplied by stuartslondon.com)