Don't Diss Function: Utilitarian Styling

It’s true, the phrase ‘utilitarian menswear’ is about as sexy as mothballs. But that doesn’t mean you don’t need it in your life… We took to Half Moon Bay Antigua, the exclusive new resort on the island of Antigua, and home to the Rosewood Half Moon Bay Hotel (set to open in 2022) to demonstrate the chic versatility of this under-appreciated menswear genre.  
Blue linen four-pocket safari shirt, Budd Shirtmakers; blue, camel and white striped shirt with buttoned collar, G.Inglese; brown silk and linen hand-rolled printed chevron tie, Drake's.

Lets startby bustingsome jargon. What isutilitarianmenswear?AtRake Towers, we think of it as clothing thats lightweight, practical and not unpleasant to wear in the last throes of summerwhen itsstuffy and humid. Theres an art to dressing for this awkward transition between August and September. Lets face it, in 30-degree heat its tempting to give up on looking put-together, even for style-heads. Thankfully,utilitariandesigns are the solutionfunctional garments that nonetheless retain an element of designand arecut in cooling, breathable cloths.

Your best friend in any kind of warm weather is,of course,the lightweight linen shirt, andthe breezier the better. What, though, elevates a summer shirt from a hum-drum spread-collared garment to something worthy of utilitarian status?A simple answer,really:aside fromcloth, colour or pattern,its all in the collar. Structured spread collars are nightmarish things to wear in humid climes, so swap your formal or semi-formal shirts for designs with unlined collars,Cuban collars, or indeed no collars at allsee Salvatore Piccolos striped linen grandad collar shirt(overleaf). Myriadleadingbrands make shirts like this:from Doppiaas palm-printed camp collar shirt (seen here) to Magnus & Novussuperbleisure shirts,cut with rolling one-piece collars designed to be worn open at the neck, to Giro Ingleses relaxed Italian designs,and even Anderson & Sheppards casual linen shirts in fun block colours.


    August 2019


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