David... don't take the short cut!
Published 16/04/2011 | 05:00
Oh dear, it's that time of year again when the Irish male rummages into the darkest depths of his wardrobe and pulls out his holiday gear.
Baggy shorts to the knee, dodgy sandals and, that most heinous of fashion crimes, the short-sleeved shirt -- yes, they're all out in force these days as the April sun turns pasty limbs pink.
Let's face it, the words 'holiday chic' and 'Irish man' are a rare combination.
Knowing what to wear as the mercury rises just doesn't come naturally to our boys, and it's particularly tough when you're dealing with a fleshy backdrop of blinding white or fire-engine red.
Even the palest of cailíní can look alluring on the beach if the bikini's right, the shades cool and a smart kaftan is deployed to conceal any lumps and bumps, but for hibernoman, life is anything but a beach when summer comes.
Of course, the problem is no means limited to our lads. Anyone with half a heart was only mortified for Britain's first lady last week as she braved the streets of Granada with her sartorially challenged, sunburnt husband.
What was David Cameron thinking when he sported a bland navy polo (two days on the trot!), skin-tight jeans and naff trainers on what was supposed to be a romantic weekend on the Med?
Yes, we know he's got Libya on his mind, not to mention the worst recession in living memory, but couldn't he have spared just a tiny thought for the contents of his Samsonite?
When he whipped on a pair of navy Adidas shorts and a pair of (spare us) white socks on day two, it whipped up a fashionista free-for-all, with style editors slamming the PM for letting the nation down en vacances and suggesting alternative wardrobes that should have been in his suitcase -- swap navy polo for white cotton shirt, for instance, jeans for beige chinos, loafers for runners and you're halfway there.
Some say his fashion moment was all about the optics, getting down with his hard-pressed people, feeling no shame for flying Ryanair or wearing the same T day-in, day-out.
But even austerity has her pride, and just because you're on a no-frills holiday, you shouldn't let your style standards slip.
So what's the solution? I'm with Tom Ford on this one, a man who knows a thing or two about looking good. The world's leading expert on male fashion declared last week that a modern gentleman should simply never wear shorts, unless they're seconds from the sea or a tennis match.
His thinking is that you should always leave your house or hotel looking your best, as a mark of respect to others, and this rule extends to shorts.
No matter how hot it is or how informal the situation, strangers, and even your nearest and dearest, do not want to be exposed to your hairy stumps.
As for flip-flops and baseball caps -- let's just say they're up there with short-sleeve shirts. You have been warned. Oh, and don't forget the sunblock. Cerise is never a good look on a chap.