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  • Writer's pictureChris Mads

Fall style on the Riviera

Updated: Oct 9, 2022

Let me take you away from the colkd and wet of winter for a moment. A short while back, I was lucky enough to escape the UK and the rainy skies for a spot of warmth on the south coast of France.

Unfortunately, I was not simply seeking a spot of early winter sun. The Riviera city of Cannes is a yearly pilgrimage for the whole duty-free industry as it plays home to the annual World Exhibition and Conference. Think of it like the Cannes film festival, but with more duty-free shop owners and less Timothée Chalamet.

While my purpose there was to get some actual work done, it did also give me the first chance in a while to dust off my suits and smarts and indulge in a little bit of sunshine dressing.

Travel to and from Cannes is only a shirt trip - it's a quick hop from Heathrow or Gatwick to nearby Nice Airport - but there was the promise of a drastic shift in weather from departure to arrival. Despite the current vogue for athleisure, I have never quite got my head around the idea of travelling in joggers.

I do, however, love a good lightweight jacket for travel.

This jacket is a Ralph Lauren Polo blazer in XS. You can find them here but I picked mine up in TK Maxx. If you are in the area, the Epsom store is often loaded with Ralph Lauren items in good smaller sizes for men.

The Chinos are a Topman special. Slim cut and with a roll-up at the bottom, which allows me to adjust the length as needed. For a more relaxed look I can create a bit of ankle which actually has the effect of lengthening the leg somewhat as long as your top half is relatively slim cut.

A boxy top half and a cropped leg can tend to make me look like a tiny little person.

For the conference, I relied heavily on an old favourite.

I mean the suit, not the bottle of Lanson Blanc de Blancs.

This Moss Bross numbrer was bought for my sister's wedding a few years back and I have written about it before here, but it deserves another mention. Not only is it light and comfortable, but it travels well and follows one of the golden rules of suiting (stolen from the excellent Mr William Gilchrist) that suits should function as a jacket and trousers, not just a set.

The skinny-cut light blue trousers work perfectly with the aforementioned navy blazer and I have been using the jacket throughout the summer with navy chinos for a dress-down look. I know the double-breasted look is not always considered in vogue, but I am a big fan. For my proportions it wraps around my upper body making it easy to nip in at the waist, so it is fitted without looking strained; but it also provides some substance while avoiding the awful 'I stole my dad's jacket' look.

Annoyingly, the suit itself does not appear to be available anymore, but there are some great options out there and I would recommed any smaller man at least gives the double-breasted look a try.

The final part of my Cannes packing was for a formal event. The official invite said not black tie. So I obeyed - and wore a black tie instead.

The jacket is a really sumptuous Next velvet tux option. It comes in Slim and Skinny and is available here with the brand's traditional (and very useful) short option.

it also has an excellent lining.

The trousers were another Next option, in a 28S, which are not avaialble anymore, but the brand still does a good range of short-cut tuxedo and suiting options to see you through the party season.

The shirt is a Pierre Cardin black shirt in XS. It is a functional choice, but despite claiming to be extra small still leaves you with plenty of extra room. It was better than other options I tried - but that's a story for another blog.

As for Cannes itself? It was a whistlestop tour of meetings and product launches. I'll have a few of my favourites on the blog for you in the coming days.

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