nautical style

How to channel nautical style (and not look like a sailor…)

If you’re looking to jump on board the trend for sailing-inspired style, then batten down the hatches and allow us to teach you the ropes

Ahoy! Summer, as it sadly draws to an end, has seen us once again delve deep into our wardrobes and pull out our seasonal style pieces. From swim shorts to the best patterned shirts, we’ve beaten the heat yet again. But, as the Monaco Yacht Show sails onto our horizon, we’re revisiting one of our favourite summery styles: nautical.

From the tip of our canvas boat shoes to the top of our captain-hatted heads, those of us lucky enough to have stepped onto a superyacht this summer will have adopted boating fashion for real. But, even if your feet remained firmly on dry land — and you’re not jetting off to the south of France this September, here’s how to ensure that at least a splash of sailing-inspired style makes it aboard your wardrobe.

But, before we go on, remember that there’s a fine line with nautical style. One step too far down this particular gangway and you’ll slip, trip and plunge into the depths of cliché or, god forbid, fancy dress. So, to whip your fashion into Bristol fashion, here are our best ways to channel nautical style — and the pieces with which to do it…

It’s always plain sailing with a striped t-shirt

A staple of sailing style, the humble Breton shirt is yet to fully outgrow its nautical roots. Pair it with some white shorts, say, and you still risk looking a little try-hard. But there are ways to wear this duo-tone tee without giving off ‘shore leave’ vibes.

Take Orlebar Brown‘s approach, and opt for a darker shade of navy. Or go the way of Barbour, and rock the long-sleeved t-shirt. Alternatively, another way to go is to keep things classic, for which you can always rely upon Ralph Lauren.

How to channel nautical style (and not look like a sailor…)

Orlebar Brown Sammy Linen-Jersey T-Shirt

£95

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How to channel nautical style (and not look like a sailor…)

Barbour White Label Cotton-Jersey T-Shirt

£80

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How to channel nautical style (and not look like a sailor…)

Ralph Lauren Striped T-Shirt

£60

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Give gold-buttoned blazers a wide berth

The pairing of gold buttons and navy double-breasted blazers is anything but subtle. Gauche and obvious, it’s a look that is rarely even seen aboard a superyacht — instead mostly adopted by those who wish they were spending their summers coasting around the Med.

Instead, we’d take elements from this look and incorporate them into your blazer choices. From the double-breasted aspect, seen here in a dark navy by Rubinacci and light corduroy from Brunello Cucinelli, to the breezy linen material of this Boglioli jacket, you can channel nautical style without careening into cliché.

How to channel nautical style (and not look like a sailor…)

Rubinacci Unstructured Double-Breasted Blazer

£1350

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How to channel nautical style (and not look like a sailor…)

Brunello Cucinelli Sea Island Corduroy Blazer

£2630

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How to channel nautical style (and not look like a sailor…)

Boglioli Cotton-Blend Drill Blazer

£605

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Push the boat out for some proper sailing sunglasses

One of the most iconic styles of sunglasses, Ray-Ban’s Clubmasters are timeless, distinctively retro and nowhere more at home than at the helm of a superyacht. But still, pair with your striped t-shirt on dry land, and you’ll be edging a little too close to wannabe yachtsman.

Instead, don’t go for the classic black-and-gold frames. Try Ray-Ban’s Clubmasters in a brown frame, or eschew the style completely and try these similarly-shaped shades from the iconic brand. Alternatively, distance yourself from the name ‘Clubmaster’, and opt for Cubitt‘s — some of Britain’s best eyewear — interpretation of the classic look.

How to channel nautical style (and not look like a sailor…)

Ray-Ban Gold-Tone Sunglasses

£125

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How to channel nautical style (and not look like a sailor…)

Ray-Ban Clubmaster Sunglasses

£125

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Don’t go overboard with patterned shirts

You know the ones we mean. Little anchors on a navy short sleeved number. A wave pattern on aquamarine. These are novelty shirts that do nothing for you, and are rarely cut in material of quality. These are not the shirts you should be wearing — for they are not true nautical style.

Instead, linen is your friend here. Easy, breezy and eternally lightweight, our favourites are from Turnbull & Asser, Frescobol Carioca and swimwear brand Orlebar Brown. And, another tip, we’d steer clear of overtly nautical colours such as bright blue and white — for fear of looking like you’re trying to build yourself a naval uniform.

How to channel nautical style (and not look like a sailor…)

Frescobol Carioca Antonio Linen Shirt

£160

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How to channel nautical style (and not look like a sailor…)

Turnbull & Asser Weekend Fit Linen Shirt

£215

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How to channel nautical style (and not look like a sailor…)

Orlebar Brown Giles Linen Shirt

£175

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Make waves by shaking up your footwear

Boat shoes are all well and good, but there’s something sad about wearing your Sebagos to the pub on a Sunday afternoon. Instead, mix up your footwear when it comes to nautical style, and take some inspiration from the cuts and colourings of the classic canvas boat shoe.

Tod’s offers these navy loafers, nautical in colour rather than style and the perfect pair of shoes to finish a sailing-inspired outfit. The same goes for Mulo’s loafers, with a chunkier sole for real seafaring adventures. Alternatively, if you’re attached to the boat shoe design, choose Sperry’s leather pair — to stay true to nautical style while putting your own spin on things.

How to channel nautical style (and not look like a sailor…)

Tod’s Gommino Nubuck Penny Loafer

£330

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How to channel nautical style (and not look like a sailor…)

Sperry Leather Boat Shoes

£85

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Staying in Britain this September? It may pay to invest in a trench coat instead…

Further Reading