A gentleman’s guide to summer
What must a man change before the season knocks at the door?
Summer saunters in with its own retinue of rules.
Philistines slip into summer in their shorts. They mark the arrival of summer with the hum of their aircons.
Gentlemen don’t do that.
The management of summer involves planning. A complete overhaul of the closet. A whole new perspective to food. A refined new attitude to accessories. Grocery lists get changed. The bar cabinet gracefully welcomes fresh grog. And there is a sartorial shift.
Here are the ways in which various areas in a gentleman’s manor change before summer knocks at the door.
The gentleman’s washroom
This witnesses some cataclysmic changes. The focus is on hydration. Beginning the ides of May, I move to OGX’s Coconut Water Shampoo. This gorgeous one is infused with coconut water, electrolytes and coconut oil. It gives your parched hair the bounce of a trampoline. Next, the body washes. Even though it’s a bit on the heavier side, my go-to shower gel is the Almond Coconut Milk Crème Body Wash by Laura Mercier. It has gourmand ingredients such as almonds, vanilla and heliotrope. They also have a Crème Brûlée body wash. But don’t go there. You are a dandy. Not a dessert. Finally, there is that niggling matter of the aftershave. Avoid cloying fragrances such as patchouli. It is lovely but summer is not its place. And do not wear oudh. You are not a souk.
In summer, I only employ eau de cologne. Here, don’t get seduced by lofty brands. There are just two that gents employ. If you are above the age of 80, 4711 Eau De Cologne is lovely. Otherwise, Álvarez Gómez. It coos with citrusy coquettishness. I also carry their wet wipes. Finally, there is the curious incident of the deo. There is only one that gentlemen use. Not Right Guard. That was good when you did not have a hint of grey. The only one to use now is the one by Aesop.
The gentleman’s wardrobe
In summer, it is vital to Marie Kondo the closet. I empty out the suits and welcome my tees and knitted shirts.
When I was younger, I would not hesitate to drop a bomb for a tee. But age and college fees have tempered me. When I truly wish to pat myself on the back, I wear Sunspel. On most other days, I wear this lovely Nordic nugget called ASKET. I confess I like Supima cotton. It flirts fabulously with the skin.
I move to knitted shirts for work. They are soft and stretchable. Here there is no need really to employ Elon Musk’s knowledge of rocket science. The lads at Uniqlo have aced it.
I also tend to move to jogger pants and jeans. Some are branded. But mostly I get my jeans hand-stitched by my tailor at Mohan Singh Place in Connaught Place. He’s a difficult man.
The gentleman’s table
This is where summer crushes me. I am forced to abdicate the throne of meats and cold cuts. And instead get into a bear hug with microgreens, leaves and fruit. I only use leaves from Nude, a fabulous firm that does hydroponic farming and home-delivers.
Ice-cold gazpachos. Organic-pressed juices. Quinoa soups. It all gets very tragic. So let us just stop here.
The gentleman’s bar
In summer, my bar gurgles with glee. The peaty whiskies and the cumbersome cognacs are replaced by giggling gins, chatty Camparis, the full-of-itself Pimm’s. I am fastidious about gins. There’s Sabatini, which has a Tuscan trot to it. There’s Daffy’s, which is supremely Scottish. But the one I have lost my heart to this summer is Napue. It is produced in Finland using rye grain. The finest botanicals go into it and give off a nose rich in meadowsweet, citrus, cumin and juniper. First-rate stuff. Now the problem has always been tonic water. Until, of course, three magicians concocted one called Svami (Disclaimer: I loved it so much I even invested in it). It is gently sugared. Crisp as the wind in Windermere, and handcrafted. The Grapefruit and Cucumber variants are glorious.
The gentleman’s playlist
Summer also demands some audio tweaking. While Benjamin Clementine is sublime, summer is not the season to listen to him. He is way too intense. As are Ariana Grande and Demi Lovato.
Summer has its own strum. It sashays down a different track.
Here is what I suggest you listen to:
Twentytwo by Sunflower Bean
Look Back by Diplo
Make Me Feel by Janelle Monáe
Cool by Soccer Mommy
God’s Plan by Drake
Sun by Ferdinand Weber
On My Mind by 3LAU, Yeah Boy
To Say by Jacques Greene
With this wisdom, I am reasonably sure you shall look summer in the face.
And, as Baz Luhrmann said, “Don’t forget the sunscreen."