The JFK guide to dressing for summer
With warmer months on the horizon, there’s much to be learnt from the former US President and icon of men’s style, John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy’s life achievements were numerous. He marshalled the Cuban Missile Crisis. He established the Peace Corps. He fought hard and righteously for the civil rights movement. And, as every effortlessly cool photograph of the ‘60s president proves, he embodied preppy, Ivy League style.
But, now term time has finished — and school’s out for summer — we’re looking to the former POTUS for inspiration on how to continue our collegiate style through into the warmer months. So, from his boating fashion to his relaxed, down-time uniform, here are the JFK looks you should be adopting, and the products with which to do so…
The polo neck is the perfect seaside style choice
With the temperatures soaring, there’s no better choice of T-shirt than a polo. Ideal for lounging by the coast, these style staples are perfect for bridging the gap between casual and formal. JFK always opted for colours either neutral or nautical, keeping the palette restrained and the cut loose.
Orlebar Brown’s retro 007 range offers up this beachside retro charm in buckets-and-spades, particularly with the ribbed collar and cuffs of this cotton-terry offering. Ralph Lauren’s long-sleeved polo is just missing a JFK-style ice-cream drip — and Sunspel’s cotton-piqué polo is crafted in a solid seafaring blue.
Orlebar Brown Dr No Polo Shirt
Ralph Lauren Cotton-Piqué Polo Shirt
Sunspel Cotton-Piqué Polo Shirt
Knitwear is not just for the colder months
Take a ribbed-wool, incredibly soft, shawl-collared leaf out of the former president’s book and embrace casual knitwear this summer. True, in the sun’s full glare these woollen pieces may be too much, but if you share JFK’s love for boating, there’s nothing better to keep you warm on the waves.
And they’re inimitably stylish, too. Just look at Brunello Cucinelli’s wool-blend cardigan, with a comfortable cut, luxurious handle and smart collar — the ideal partner in style for Orlebar Brown’s tactile cotton-terry towelling polo shirt. Or, if you’re more into sweaters, try J.Crew’s mélange cotton offering; naturally breathable for summer.
Brunello Cucinelli Shawl-Collar Cardigan
Orlebar Brown Cotton-Terry Polo Shirt
J. Crew Mélange Cotton Sweater
Channel your inner sailor with a classic jacket and sunglasses combo
If there’s one thing JFK mastered outside of the Oval Office, it was crafting a perfect yachting outfit. From his white trousers and matching canvas sneakers to his sunglasses and presidential leather jacket, everything just works with this get up — and it’s one you should be imitating thread-for-thread.
So start off with a good leather jacket. That means shearling collar and a structured cut, such as this option from Mr P. Your sunglasses should be kept classic also; tortoiseshell Ray-Ban Wayfarers for effortless flair. And those statement socks add a pop of colour that draws the eyes and adds a touch of individuality — go to Oliver Spencer for these.
Mr P. Leather Aviator Jacket
Ray-Ban Wayfarer Sunglasses
Oliver Spencer Cable-Knit Socks
For relaxing at home, dress down your workwear
And then there are the lazy afternoons, spent shirking responsibilities in the sun and prepping tons of meat for balmy barbecues with friends. These are the times for which you’ll be tempted to throw on flip-flops and shorts. Do not do this. Instead, turn to JFK, who perfected his off-duty look by dressing down his workwear.
Keep your Emma Willis cotton shirt, but lose the tie. Instead, maybe throw on an Ivy League crew neck jumper, like this from Luca Faloni. But always keep your shoes, socks and trousers smart — with a nice central crease down the middle of a pair such as Oliver Spencer’s seersucker trousers.
Emma Willis Light-Blue Cotton Shirt
Luca Faloni Cashmere Crew Neck
Oliver Spencer Seersucker Suit Trousers
You’ve learnt to dress like JFK, now learn to drink like the Rat Pack…
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