It's raining, it's pouring, but Stephen Mullen has kindly jetted off to the Canary Islands to give us an early insight into the art of beach wear cool. Read on in envy...
As the UK corrodes during this damp and dismal winter, this most mature of bloggers is sunning himself in The Canary Islands, in the company of tourists from all over Northern Europe. Even when on holiday, certain sartorial stereotypes seem to apply.
The Nordic snow birds from Sweden and Norway always create a strong impression: tall, slim, affluent-looking and decked out in tailored shorts, designer swimwear and stylish spectacles; they invariably seem to vie with their German neighbours in jostling for the prime seats in the smartest bars and restaurants.
As for our fellow-tourists from Germany, they dress as well as the Scandinavians and, like the Dutch visitors to the Canaries, speak impeccable English and cut confident figures in town and on the beach.
This year, too, one hears more French voices than usual. Now this indeed is a surprise. Historically, the French have always tended to holiday in their own beautiful country, but even the touristically-loyal French crave some winter warmth, which not even the Cote d'Azure can provide in February. As you would expect, the French look dashing, they hire racier cars and they bring feasts on which to picnic on the beach. Je ne sais quoi? I should say so!
Now let me see; have I forgotten anyone? Ah, of course, my own dear countrymen determined to have a good time come what may. And what a glorious sight the majority are: pinkish in colour, rubbery in physique and innocent of fashion sense. Poor old David Cameron, lambasted in the summer for his (slight) middle-age spread and Granddad swimming trunks, if he was here now he would be the smartest Brit in town!
Now envious, its time to start planning your beach escape. Avoid these mistakes and rule the beach.
- Don't be bashful:
The trick, as to most things in life, is confidence. Look like you are comfortable, with good posture and a big smile. There will always be someone bigger, better dressed, but look at Sir Mick Jagger. The scrawny kid with the big lips and the swivelling hips took definitive style to the beach and the world's most beautiful blonde.
- Always plan ahead:
While packing light makes travel easy, you lose a certain 'Je ne sais quoi'. Remember sunscreen, sunglasses and reading material. Whilst War & Peace is sure to impress, consider something light but with pace, such as The Son by Phillip Meyer, Inferno by Dan Brown or an old favourite.
- Keep it simple:
When in doubt, cut the patterns and start with basics and build up your style slowly. For rockstar cool, layer with a linen shirt.
- Turn off the phone
Put the work down, turn the phone off, and remember where you are. The beach is a place for fun.
Shoes are no place for a fine watch. Leave the valuables at home or bring a water resistant watch.