Avoiding Bling on the Riviera, or, What to Wear at the Beach

We made the decision only to use London’s City Airport this summer, which means no long haul flights, but also no charter flights, no lost baggage, no broken down terminals, and so no suffering.. We’ve opted for the hot, flashy Cote d’Azur in July and, as we start to assemble our summer wardrobe we’re doing all we can to avoid the pitfalls of High Fashion. Below, a few must-haves for our travel bags, and a couple of travel bags to put it all in…

Ralph Lauren’s Roundhill Gingham ShortsThese come in blue, pink or green and they’re all worth having. With a nicely tailored fit in lightweight cotton, they’ll work on almost anyone. We just noticed that they’re already on sale in the USA.

Hane’s Tagless ComfortSoft V-neck T-shirt: Is this the perfect white v-neck? It’s all-cotton, it’s preshrunk, it’s roomy and it’s got a dramatically scooping ‘V’, so the answer is yes. Why buy Hanro when you get these by the dozens for next to nothing?

John Smedley Sea Island Cotton Waterloo polo: You can’t really go wrong with John Smedley, as long you stay away from those few odd and overly geometrical items they do every season. This narrow striped polo looks great in Rasptorte (pinky/red) and Lush (greeny/yellow). Stupid names for colours, but still nice, soft and just right for the heat.

Anything by Lilly Pulitzer: West Palm Beach’s answer to the rest of the world isn’t quite as fabulous as it was a generation ago, when Palm Beach actually mattered, but it’s still better than all other resort wear. Known for their bright (not to say garish) colours and madcap prints (monkeys and alligators, palms and fish, giraffes and dragons), you’re probably safest with a swim suit or a tie (we have both). But if you think you’re man enough, why not plump for one of their zany blazers, maybe the Charles Blazer in the Hook, Line and Sinker print?

Blazers for the Croissette: Assuming we’ll need to smarten up at some point, we’re packing Loro Piano’s ‘Corobino’ linen sports jacket, safe with jeans. If you’re younger than 40, you need to be careful with Loro Piano as a rule, but this works well for all well-tailored men, even youngish hipster ones. Another option is classic seersucker, and they don’t come more classic than J. Press’s blue and white version. Better than the more usual blue blazer.

Vintage Fila: Gentry announced the return of tennis shorts last summer, and we’re sticking with them this year. We like Fila’s vintage Cantetta whites, with navy elasticated waist band. Butt hugging and thigh revealing. We may also go in for Fila’s Gardenia special matchday zippy jacket, in pepper green. It’s tennis chic and will remind you of Borg in the 70s. Hot.

Tretorn sneakers: Now that Tretorn is back from the wilderness for good, they’re probably the only choice for canvas and cotton in the summer. We’ve gone for the T56 Poplin, based on a heritage design from 1956 and, yes, it’s made of poplin, just like our shirts. All their other sneakers are brilliant, too, so you can’t go wrong.

Tod’s Gommini driving shoes: Okay, a bit of a cliché but so what. They’ve got great colours this year (burnt orange, which looks quite red, and mid-blue for a start), and while we don’t plan on driving anywhere, they’ll be comfy on deck. If you don’t like Tod’s (they do seem to run smallish), then try New and Lingwood’s suede Roadster loafers, or, for a real and passable bargain, Massimo Dutti’s suede driving shoes for only about £60.

Travel Bags: There are only two travel bags for us this summer. J.Crew’s Artisanal Duffel is well designed and great value for money. For a more luxurious option, Bally’s Kinsi bag in vibrant orange leather will do justice to your Lilly P’s.


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