In most men’s wardrobes, silk resides in the accessories drawer: neckties, scarves, pocket squares. It also makes occasional appearances in formalwear, as the facing on a tuxedo or the glint of a cummerbund. These supporting roles make sense given that silk has been celebrated as a rare luxury for centuries. Like caviar, the thinking goes, it’s only served in small doses.
But there’s a whole world of silk beyond grosgrain and satin, and a great deal more versatility. Depending on how it’s spun and woven, silk can be glossy or matte, warm and soft or dry and crisp. Used in blends, it provides strength and lightness; as a pure fiber, it brings a sense of decadence to everything from high-performance underwear to summer tailoring. The material’s natural attributes make it ideally suited to the warmer months.
This spring, British haberdashery Drake’s has introduced a range of pure silk knitted polo shirts. The leisurewear staple has often been burdened by an unfair association with the uninspiring office casual wear of the last decade. But not this one.
“When you introduce silk, you’re elevating things,” Michael Hill, Drake’s creative director, tells us. “This isn’t just a polo anymore. It’s new territory.” He’s referring to both the rarity of the material and the character of the garment: “There’s a luxury element to it, certainly, but something a little bit louche, too. The silk we chose is a Japanese yarn with this wonderful slubby feel and Donegal-style flecks in amongst it. It’s remarkable.” The result is both crisp and a bit playful, like all the best smart-casual clothing. “When we were putting it together, we were thinking about making something really sophisticated,” Hill muses. “Alain Delon strolling down the Croisette, if we may be so bold!”
Silk refreshes familiar designs, introducing new textures and finishes, providing crisp hot-weather performance and making everyday garments a bit more special. Here are 12 of the best ways to enjoy the benefits of silk right now and all summer long.
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