This week we’ve been watching Mike Leigh’s 1976 cult comedy classic, Nuts in May; an unusual, but nonetheless relevant source for style inspiration. We’d like to say that British summertime is sun, sea and short-sleeved shirts but in reality the setting is far more unpredictable and wild. It might help explain the nature of Keith Pratt (Roger Sloman); the true definition of a stickler for rules but perhaps Keith’s ideals were formed before their time to shine. A trailblazer if you will!
Dissecting Keith and Candice-Marie’s (Alison Steadman) holiday attire for a 10-day stay with our sartorial glasses on, there’s unexpectedly a lot to admire. Candice-Marie’s roll-neck base layer, embroidered cagoule and tucked in bright red socks is a light layers 101, while Mr Pratt’s much worn chocolate brown cable knit and cords are mainstays throughout his holiday. While we often yearn for clear skies and Hawaiian shirts, sometimes we have to rework and re-wear our items from months gone by, combatting expected rain and embracing practicality. It is not always the case of needing a wardrobe section dedicated solely to summer, but thinking about how we can style existing items with warmer weather in mind, in-turn making for unexpected perennial items.
While Keith’s prudence to the camping code is the gold standard for respecting the countryside, what we really enjoyed was that he’s a stickler for functional dressing and a practical wardrobe. “We wear our plimsolls for clambering on the rocks, our sandals on the beach and our boots for tramping the path in the afternoon. You need the right tools for the job,” adamantly rebuffing Candice’s yearn of boots for climbing. We wouldn’t be surprised if Keith has a copy of Hardy Amies A-Z on the go while he waits by his gas stove with this kind of footwear knowledge.
HOODED VENTNOR JACKET
BICKERTON DARK OLIVE
They have every situation covered. In need of nightwear for the tent? Matching striped pyjama sets. Morning exercise? A tailored tracksuit. A fight with a neighbouring camper? *sorry for the spoiler* well the fight is secondary to Keith’s fantastic melange knitted roll neck. In fact, there’s a scene where Keith and Candice-Marie go driving past Corfe Castle with seagulls in the background and the roof down on their Morris Minor coupe where we catch a glimpse of some knitted driving gloves. If that’s not a little bit of style exuberance, well... then we’re not sure what is? We can certainly note Keith Pratt down as someone who knows what he likes and wears it with astute confidence.
Mustard yellows, earthy browns and sky blues are shades we know too well at Oliver Spencer, often referencing them in our collections, it just so happens Candice-Marie and Keith do as well.
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So, while there’s are some of us that want to be at Terminal 2, there’s also a side that wants to be in a tent and slightly sodden, but knowing we’ve got a wardrobe with us ready to combat the British summer. Now, where did we put our mustard yellow cagoules and sandals for the beach.