Dear Ask the Stylist
My husband would love to wear a white linen suit and panama hat to a wedding in Naples this September. As I am not a fashion trend follower but more of a follower of hippy/vintage/bo ho styles, I really need us both to look reasonably sane. Can you advise what we should do as a couple, can he hire such a suit to bring with us and what shall I go for?
Thanks for your Ask the Stylist question. I read this one with gusto, as I myself had a destination wedding, in Gozo (Malta) and a group of guys turned up in panama hats. It’s a great look! One of them even checked with us beforehand to see if it was OK to wear white…a white linen suit that is! The Italian wedding sounds fantastic and I’m very reminiscent and excited writing this.
It’ll be hot where you’re going (mid twenties at least), so you’ll need something stylish and comfortable. Men in dark heavy suits tend to stand out a bit as they look very uncomfortable in the heat. I think you can also be more adventurous when it comes to colour as it’s so sunny, so you can really go for it with bright colours you may not normally wear.
Yes, your hubbie would be spot-on in a linen suit (Debenham’s is your best bet) or a linen waistcoat/waistcoat (try Topman) instead of a jacket is also a good look.
Other than suits, guys can go for blazers (in lighter colours) and open white linen shirts with slacks.
For nicely tailored suits, try Zara. There may not be linen and the fit is quite slim fitting, so won’t suit a larger fella. ( But you can shop online on http://www.zara.com/ from today!).
Suit Rental Ireland
A linen suit is probably not something that your man will wear again, so try Blacktie for renting a suit – if they don’t have linen they should have a lightweight suit in a neutral colour (think oatmeal or light grey) with a white shirt – you can always introduce the linen via the shirt (Marks and Spencer’s have long and short sleeved lined shirts). Suit rental will cost you approx. 80-100 euro whereas buying the suit will be double that.
The Hat Shop, a booth on the ground floor of St Stephen’s green shopping centre in Dublin stocks Panama hats, the colour you choose will depend on the rest of the outfit. There have been some straw trilby hats ( in brown or cream) in Urban Outfitters over the summer and Topman is another option.
Italian churches are strict and catholic when it comes to covering your shoulders, so a pashmina, wrap or shawl is key and you may need it again in the evening, if chilly. Penney’s do cheap and cheerful pashminas for less than 10 euro. Otherwise, try Tie Rack (there’s one at the airport).
Some women wear the same style dress they would wear to an Irish summer wedding – but tend to go for brighter colours and in general the style is a bit more laid back. The colours can be super bright, with maxis in particular giving that laid back island/coastal feel.
Boho Maxi Dress
For your own style preferences, I’d suggest a bright maxi dress. Halston Heritage certainly has that 70’s boho look boxed off with their maxis (Brown Thomas and Harvey Nichols are your go-to shops). If that label is out of your reach, as it is for most, the kaftans shape of this purple one from Asos makes it a good option and a ringer for the designer equivalent. The fabric on this is not silk though and you’d need to be tall (well over 5.4) to pull it off – I’m 5.2 and it’s far too long for me.
Silk maxis with skinny straps look fantastic but sometimes require a great figure. The Grecian (or Neapolitan in your case!) look is a great one and Monsoon have some beautiful silk maxi dresses, as do Debenhams.
Alternatively, a simple maxi in jersey material would look modernday hippie – this House of Fraser purple dress would look great with gold gladiators or wedges if you need more height. Team it with a neutral coloured pashmina and a gold, double strapped hair band (from Accessorize).
You could splash out and rent a vintage maxi from Covet.ie (from 140 euro a dress rental).
If a maxi doesn’t rock your boat, then you could opt for a vintage Mad Men look which would look very “Roman Holiday” appropriate in Naples. The blue and white print 50’s dress that Scarlett Johansson wears on Mango.com looks much like this season’s Prada version but comes in under 100 (and it’s currently in store).
Shades play a bigger part in your outfit as you’ll be wearing them a lot, so splash out! Sunglasses Hut at the airport do good deals, like 25% off when you buy a second pair, so if you don’t have any nice ones, make time for some airport shopping!