The lead-up to the holiday season can be relentless: work, play, work, work, play. At Kloke, we’re currently working overtime to get our international collection finished before the New Year rolls in. At the same time, summer means shifting gear – getting to the pool, drinking holiday tipples, running away to the beach.
Summer, for me, is about being able to wear what you want, when you want. It’s a time to indulge in – and master – true comfort dressing. It means ditching heavier fabrics in favour of breathable, versatile pieces. It’s my favourite time of year, and with weekend beach getaways on high rotation, summer is all about packing light – being ready to work and play at all times.
To survive the chaos and maximise the leisure, you’re going to need a few bags: a tote, a beach bag and a backpack should cover all bases. I personally slam everything into my Kloke denim tote bag, which is big enough to fit everything comfortably. The tip is to make sure your bag has plenty of pockets – it’s hard work reaching into the abyss of a bigger bag.
So, what to load your summer bag with?
Hat and shades
I tend to lose sunglasses, so I try to keep them locked into position on my face for the entire summer. While sunnies are personal (everyone’s heads are shaped differently) my preference is LGR’s Reunion shades ($509), which are inspired by vintage Italian military officers’ eyewear. They’re light but surprisingly durable. One Point Seven Four also has an incredible range to choose from.
Whatever your preferred hat style, make sure you settle on a shape that actually keeps the sun off the face. I wear “dad caps” – essentially a flat-brim baseball cap in canvas or cotton – that I usually pinch from my dad. I’m a dad; it’s a summer essential. A souvenir hat is also essential, so we’ve decided to release our very own with our upcoming Fountain of Youth collection.
The question that always arises with summer footwear: to sock or not to sock? Hot? Get them off. Cold? Sock it. No other rules apply here.
I like to feel strapped in with a sturdy sandal that lets the toes breathe when it heats up. For this I call on Japanese label Suicoke, which produces various strappy styles. And if it’s cool, I’ll throw on a pair of socks with these, too.
Comfort and functionality are always front of mind, so my latest purchase for the holiday season is from Slovakian label Novesta, which we stock in-store. The Star Master classic ($130) is made with a low-cut 100-per-cent cotton upper (perfect for warmer days), while the simple, utilitarian design means they easily pair back with shorts and denim.
I’ll also wear Asymmetric Ghillie sneakers ($279) by Needles in a crisp white cotton and off-white tonal suede. I love the subtle asymmetrical rubber toe-cap design and the fact they can be worn on any occasion.
I like to have two styles at the ready during summer: a long-sleeve linen button-up shirt (to take me from work to play seamlessly) and a short-sleeve style to let my arms sway in the wind.
I get a lot of wear out of our relaxed Remain Shirt ($219) made in 100-per-cent linen. It’s a great fabric for the warmer months and I style this one with some light blue jeans or boardies.
Any classic spread-collar shirt (made with wider collar points) is ideal for breezing around the beach and general summer shenanigans. It’s got a relaxed appeal and works for any occasion. I wear our Mirari shirt ($210), which is crafted from a pure Japanese cotton seersucker blend, because it’s casual and fronted with dual front-patch pockets.
And when I’m feeling the need to tap into some island style, I look to the [Mirari camp shirt in the astral print ($239), which is great for post-swim drinks at the pub or a barbeque with mates.
I always have a sweater on hand in summer, particularly on cooler nights in Melbourne. Quality knitwear is the easiest way to dress up an outfit, too. My preference is our Talking Knit crew neck in ink, which is made from 100 per cent high-twist cotton. If you feel like making more of a statement, it also comes in a tangerine shade. The simple shape is universally flattering and hugs the body well.
The best thing about denim is you can wear it day in, day out and match your tops accordingly.
I wear a classic T-shirt with jeans most summer days as I like to keep my look pared back and casual. When I’m feeling the occasion, I dress this up or down. Simple.
I go for Kloke’s Sworn jeans in a 12-ounce mid-wash Japanese denim, which are wider in the leg (but are a straight fit). I love the streamlined yet relaxed silhouette on these, combined with the indigo wash and enzyme denim – the ideal weight, fit and look for summer. I go from tuck to untuck in a day, whatever the mood. If I tuck, I’ll wear a belt.
A tip: the less you wash your denim, the better.
I wear my New Wave Kloke shorts in tangerine all summer long – literally until they go stiff with salt and need a wash. These easy-fit shorts can be worn casually, whether you’re poolside or headed for a day at the beach, or you can throw on a linen shirt for a sundowner drink.
My advice is to keep it white or go for brighter pop colours like ultramarine or lilac. I always pack two for a weekend away – usually wearing one for the weekend and then keeping a freshie for the journey home.
Never underestimate the importance of a spray jacket. I like to wear mine in bright pop neon hues for holiday dressing – it’s an easy way to add some colour to an otherwise monochromatic wardrobe. Despite being synonymous with rainy days, you still need this staple in summer. You can wear it over a tee, as an over-shirt, or layered over a shirt as a smarter looking jacket. They’re practical, casual and waterproof – all in one. It’s also an easy one for the travel bag as it packs light and tight.
A Negroni is the drink to have at hand during summer – perfect when poolside or at the beach late in the afternoon. I recently discovered the Yuzu Negroni at Melbourne’s Agostino wine bar on Lygon Street and haven’t looked back. My advice when pre-making one at home is to keep it fresh and cold in a stainless steel Rambler 36-ounce bottle from Clunes ($69).
It’s also essential to be able to throw the other drink of summer – iced coffee – into your bag and jump on your bike with no spillage. My Burnside brew is always stored in a take-away vessel from Tokyo Bikes.
A Bose carry speaker ($69) is also rarely left behind on weekend getaways. Mine is constantly locked into this summer playlist.
It’s also nice to put the phone down and opt for a proper camera. Feel the release, and capture the good times.
And lastly it’s very hard to go past a classic striped, tasselled towel for the ultimate summer feels. I have a red-and-white stripe option, which I knocked off from my mum (which was her mum’s), when I feel like going bold at the beach. It’s my go-to. I also love the Kobn collection of towels for more variations on stripe.
Adam Coombes co-founded fashion label Kloke with his wife Amy in 2011. Specialising in timeless, pared back utilitarian designs with architectural precision for men and women, these are the kinds of clothes you want to wear every day, season on season.
The Principles is a monthly menswear series about timeless style and how to nail the fashion essentials.
This article first appeared on Broadsheet on October 25, 2019. Some details and prices may have changed since publication.