Spring: Attire for a Smooth Voyage

For explorers or holidaymakers returning from inclement challenges, they’re not home and dry yet. To alleviate this concern, stick to timeless designs in dependable spring fabrics, usually offered by renowned labels in the sphere of sartorial menswear.  

Spring: Attire for a Smooth Voyage

Gracing the cover of Vogue 27 times, the exuberant gap-toothed supermodel and actor Lauran Hutton once said: “Fashion is what you're offered four times a year by designers. Style is what you choose.” It’s a rather open-ended viewpoint on seasonal dressing, but if there’s one that lends difficulty to enacting Hutton’s assertion, it’s spring. On March 20 the vernal equinox, which signals the start of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, arrived. In fashion terms, for swathes of the public it ignites a 3-month-long spell of dressing uncertainty—a period that Americans know only too well from the climate apocalypse of 2011. There was a tornado outbreak in April; the Pacific Northwest Region experienced record-breaking precipitation from March to May; in the deep south, states such as Texas were struck with violent wildfires and a deadly drought. In the British Isles and on the Continent, it’s unlikely to witness such a dramatic contrast of weather ordeals. However, nothing is certain in this world and so, in order to quash unpredictability and consistently don a cool, comfortable, and foolproof outfit, you’re still required to cunningly elect appropriate fabrics, cuts, and colours.

The trench coat has arguably been entrenched in our lives more than any other accoutrement. For fashion historians, it begins in a small shop in Glasgow in 1823, thanks to the Scottish chemist Charles Macintosh. But for the culturally aware population, the trench coat was first adopted by British soldiers to defy the atrocious elements on the Western Front. It’s patriotic standing then shifted to Hollywood, and from there it escalated to enhance an aura of both authority and mysteriousness for artists, journalists, detectives, spies, and gangsters. Aside from being reinvented in terms of style — think classic, military, haute, and in more modern times, minimal — the ultimate component of a high-calibre trench coat is the Gabardine fabric. Invented by Thomas Burberry, founder of his eponymous British heritage firm, the densely woven cloth elicits breathable and water-repellent properties — a combination that could be crucial in trying to avoid a burst of April showers at Aintree Racecourse, the three-day steeplechase festival in Liverpool, which certainly matches the enormity of the theatre unfolding in March at the Cheltenham festival. With a pair of binoculars hanging around his neck, a race card occupying two hands, and his wife Carroll side-by-side, the rakish nobleman-conquistador, Marquis de Portago, looked unperturbed at the drizzly conditions in a beige unfastened trench coat. Inside or outside the racing arena, the practice of wearing a fedora with a trench coat always seems to transport you to beau monde circles, preferably by opting for the Haydock fedora model offered by Lock & Co. Hatters at 6 St James's Street, London. But back to Gabardine; its attributes not only prosper in the sartorial trench coats offered by labels such as Grenfell and the lesser-known Cohérence, it is also a pertinent cloth for jackets and trousers in spring. If you’re scouring the market for superior jackets and trousers constructed in gabardine then look no further than Edward Sexton and Brunello Cucinelli. 

David Rosenberg photographed by Brandon Hinton for Issue 92 of The Rake.
Humphrey Bogart wearing the gabardine trench coat in Casablanca (1942), Getty Images.

In the sartorial canon of nearly every arbiter of good taste will live a rather simple garment, the navy blazer. Even in March, it will be wise to jettison your navy serge blazer in favour of a lighter hopsack or high-twist worsted variation. There’s something about an immaculately tailored blazer that permits it to flourish in almost any environment. In May, the invite-only Cannes Film Festival and the Monaco Grand Prix start to spray glamour around the French Riviera, to unofficially begin summertime. Philippe Junot, who wed Princess Caroline of Monaco, the daughter of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III, was rarely seen without sporting a navy blazer. If there’s any businessman who demonstrates the versatility of the navy blazer better than Junot, then full marks to him. One day he could be seen conversing with Prince Rainier at the Royal Palace in a double-breasted blazer, at the Monaco Grand Prix in an open-buttoned blazer paired with a Western shirt and neck scarf, and in a single-breasted guise in a club in New York with Princess Caroline. It’s a timeless design — and if you feel inclined to experiment, and reap the fruits of Spanish tailoring craftmanship, then call on B Corner. Blended from a medium-weight cloth, the navy wool double-breasted blazer benefits from a soft and silky texture and is a standout piece on The Rake’s Atelier. For slightly more formal engagements turn to the black five eyelet derbies created by Italian master shoemaker Stefano Bemer. They are an exquisite brogue — a style that always compliments a well-constructed blazer. 

Philippe Junot and Princess Caroline, Getty images.
Commander Edward Whitehead, the public face of Schweppes, leans on his silver Rolls-Royce, Getty Images.

Denim’s dynamism has meant its cultural identity has repeatedly changed throughout its 150-year lifespan. Every time during Paris, Milan, New York, and London fashion weeks, we really do commend the very few designers who successfully incorporate denim into avant-garde creations. They are an exception, which is why one should colonise their wardrobes with denim garments produced by reliable and established designers. The classic mistake is trying to overdress denim in search of the optimum thrill of self-expression. To challenge this compulsion, Barbanera, with their unconventional sartorial aptitude, will lure you into making good denim decisions. The Neil blue Japanese selvedge denim jacket is the staunch nucleus for building an outfit, full of attitude but good taste. If wearing a shade of their Bandito jeans for a double denim appearance, the inclusion of a white garment underneath the cowboy jacket always nicely diffuses the denim — only if you’re not rocking triple denim, which is no bad idea if you're utilising the collection of Barbanera. But heading back to the white pieces from Barbanera correlating with denim, any of the plain raw cotton T-shirts, waffle knit cotton Henley shirts, or FDP ecru Western shirts are fantastic additions. 

Oriol photographed by John Rowley for Issue 91 of The Rake.
Oriol photographed by John Rowley for Issue 91 of The Rake.

There’s always a brand that unintentionally catches your eye because their assortment integrates harmoniously with the season. In spring, it’s always G. Inglese. For years, esteemed menswear commentators have apotheosized G. Inglese’s long-sleeve polos, and for good reason. They transmit this casual flair, often emboldened by the flamboyant hues they integrate, which certainly opens spring. Arriving in pure cotton, the beige-striped Redford piquet polo must have the accolade of travelling in your suitcase all-year-round, but it does feel that spring, might nudge it on its usage.

Explore The Spring Collection