Nilofar Khirzad is determined to gentrify the wardrobes of Australia's men. Owner and curator of the luxury King Street boutique Khirzad, she promotes Italian sartoria in the Australian market and supplies Perth men with the finest of seasonal attire. So as a passionate lover of menswear, I ask her how to convince Australian men to suit up this summer.
Heat Is No Excuse
For those that like to blame the heat for their stylish slips, Nilofar has some bad news. 'Italy hits 40 degrees in summer and the men are still dapper and stylishly clad,' she says. 'In the heat of summer for Pitti Uomo you see men in three piece suits, yet many Australians use our hot summers as an excuse to not look good.'
And she's absolutely right. Maybe it's our lackadaisical Sunday afternoons or situationally appropriate beach culture, but much of Australia accepts a style of menswear where the hotter it becomes, the more daggy one's appearance is permitted to be.
But in more stylish parts of the world, like Italy, education about and demand for a greater range of menswear keeps the street-style a little more dapper across the calendar. So what then is their secret to staying well-dressed when the mercury rises?
Fabric Is Key
'It's a knowledge of picking the right fabrics and thread counts, of working with linens and light cottons in summer,' says Nilofar. 'It's all about education. Because there's wearing a suit, and there's wearing the right suit.'
And the most important aspect of a summer suit is what it's made from. 'Fabric is key,' she says. A man should look for super 120s - one of the most expensive wools for suit making that is lightweight, breathable and perfect for the warmer months. And never to be forgotten, and particularly so for those tropical endeavours, is linen which will see you perfectly dressed for Martinis on the beach.
Also becoming more in vogue worldwide, and ideal for summer, are unlined suits - a style of tailoring that combines ultimate dapperness with absolute lightness. Australian men should look to collections like Tombolini's Zero Gravity - suits that are completely unlined and lightweight, and weigh in at just 400 grams.
And comfort isn't the only benefit of unlined suiting. 'I think that it falls so beautifully on,' Nilofar says, and after trying on a number of her collection I cannot help but agree. 'Obviously it doesn't have the hardcore tailoring and structure of a lined suit, but it just falls to the body very beautifully, and the silhouette really works well on a man.'
And when it comes to summer suits, colour matters. 'I love a good navy suit,' Nilofar says. 'You can't go wrong.' Checks, too, are in, as are browns, light greys, emerald greens, camel tans and cobalt blues, and all feature heavily on Khirzad's racks.
'Pattern is fantastic, and getting a pattern in a suit is fantastic. Opt for something different, and double-breasted is becoming huge. I'm getting a lot in for summer, beautiful linen jackets that are double-b.'
Shoes can be worn sockless or with socks. 'Socks are good, but I love it when a man shows off a little ankle,' she says. 'That little bit of skin can be very complimentary to a man's height. It's about body balancing, and it breaks up the outfit.'
And when it comes to shoe choice, she advocates for boldness. 'Tassel loafers are for summer in bright colours: blues, greens, and aqua. Shoes should take on a colour and a pattern, but don't match your belt with your shoe. Too much similarity is not always a good thing.' So leave the belt at home. But if dandiness is your thing, suspenders are a great replacement.
To finish off a summer suit, accessories can make or break a look. Wear a little jewellery that shows your attention to detail and hints at your personality. And if European trends are your style, beads and fish-hook bracelets should add a little flair to your outfit and leave you looking like you're fresh from Milan.
Feature Image from Eidos Napoli