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While thoughts of the Riviera – its idyllic azurite waters and picturesque beaches that line its shores - are likely providing many with some much-needed (albeit momentary) respite from the atypically harsh and inclement winter that continues to cast its stormy shadow over the northern hemisphere - thoughts around summer dressing have taken a backseat.
But, in the words of the late Winston Churchill, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty”. That is to say that a colder-than-usual spring presents us with the opportunity to experiment with a style of dressing that is not given nearly enough airtime - layering.
Befittingly, Michael Jondral - the man at the helm of this eponymous beacon of sartorial menswear - wields masterful talents in the art of layering. Through blending different pieces, styles, textures and colours, Michael curates flexible and versatile looks that give him seasonal dexterity - the likes of which are serving him well right now amidst this dreary spring.
Whilst layering is easy on face value, its success is contingent upon using the right garments. Thankfully though, Michael Jondral has selected some of his favourite pieces for the spring and upcoming summer, and has curated a collection of must-haves for the sartorially inclined.
Summer presents an opportunity to explore more casual garments, and shoes should be no exception. Enter the unlined loafer.
Having made quite the resurgence in recent times, the unlined or Belgian style loafer is now synonymous with spring / summer sartorialism. Often worn sans-sock in the height of summer, but equally at home atop a pair of Sozzi socks while winter is on the wane, the loafer is defined by its versatility and really comes into its own as the seasons transition.
Fear not though if the unlined loafer isn’t quite to your taste. Subtle nuances in materials also allude to the more casual tenets of summer. Saint Crispin’s brown suede oxford is a four-seasons staple - as is Bontoni’s braided calfskin double monks - however, their textured finished mesh especially well with trousers cut from cottons and linens. Which brings us to our next point - trousers.
Layering often works best in broken ensembles - where the jacket and trousers are cut from different cloths.
To this end, the transitional period between cooler and warmer months presents a great opportunity to swap flannels for cottons, linens and fresco wools. Rota - a small Italian-based workshop are particularly adept in this domain.
Similarly, Orazio Luciano’s blue washed cotton suit and Cesare Attolini’s tastefully exuberant green fresco suit both make a fantastic addition to the spring/summer wardrobe - if for nothing other than their ability to be styled casually or worn as separates.
As the item of clothing that sits closest to the body, shirts are prone to wear and tear and fading much more so than other garments.
So, the time is nigh to once again retire those shirts cut from a heavier cloths and put into rotation those that are of a more summery flavour.
Finamore’s pale blue stripe shirts allude to warmer climes, as do Cesare Attolini’s denim and yellow striped shirts. Both however, are equally at home under a knit for those cooler spring days. Which brings us to our next point - knitwear.
Contrary to popular belief, ‘knitwear’ isn’t confined exclusively to heavy woolens and cashmeres, and does encapsulate lighter variations - much like this piece - a lightweight blend of cotton and linen from Italian makers, Fedeli - replete with navy stripes that conjure an air of Cary Grant-esque elegance.
For those days where the shirt/knitwear combination just doesn’t hold against the cold, cloak yourself in something in something a little more substantial - Moorer’s dark blue shirt jacket with down filling for example - or Fedeli’s similarly dark blue knitted ‘Lana Wash’ jacket - or, embrace the ethereal softness of Cesare Attolini’s handcrafted goat suede safari jacket.
If nothing else, spring is an opportunity to refresh one’s sartorial accouterments. Drakes’ hand rolled dark blue ‘Batik Round Square' tie is a playful yet versatile piece - perfect for offsetting ensembles of a more somber tone.
Polarising though they may be, hats are one of the most versatile pieces a gentleman can own - providing warmth as we transition from winter to spring, and shielding one from the sun as it finally pierces the clouds.
The words of Aristotle - “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” - ring particularly true here, for the inherent beauty of each piece is magnified when worn in conjunction with one another. And therein lies the charm of layering. So, go forth and embody the sentiments once extolled by Sir Winston, and embrace the opportunity to that this colder-than-usual paring hath bequeathed unto you, gentlemen!
This is a Guest Article by Aidan Chappell from the Sartorial Journal after a talk with Michael Jondral