The metro

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 September, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 28 September, 2009, 12:00am

On a recent weekend I went on a boat trip with a fun crowd and my favourite D&G red-and-yellow leather flip-flops. It was the highlight of my summer.

But that's not to say that I'm not looking forward to the arrival of the cooler months. I've never been a big outdoors person, but I do love hiking in country parks when the threat of heatstroke is minimal.

What I love even more are the few weeks in the year when it's cool and dry but still warm enough for a quick dip in the sea. That's also when I might actually consider dragging myself out of bed to make the trip to Tai Long Wan in Sai Kung.

I am looking for something to wear for those great hikes. Some may believe the twisted logic that when you're far away nobody cares how you look and you can just wear random rags. But why be guilty of spoiling the scenic countryside?

Of course I am not suggesting that you head to the woods in a starched shirt and dressy trousers (although I swear, I have seen people wearing black leather dress shoes on hiking trails), but some colour co-ordination and thoughtfulness will do people and animals around you a big favour.

It may seem unlikely but one of my favourite television programmes of late is Nick Baker's Weird Creatures. Baker is a naturalist (someone who studies nature, as opposed to a naturist, who doesn't like to wear clothes). He travels around the world to look at wildlife. He often wears a black T-shirt and jeans, but at other times he sports a rugged cotton button-up shirt with sleeves rolled up, a pair of khaki shorts and hiking boots. It looks carefree yet sophisticated.

Not that many men can wear shorts with hiking boots - you need well-shaped legs or you'd look pathetic and silly. I don't have the legs for this, but one of my unfulfilled goals in life is to get under the leg press in the gym and work my way up to it.

When that happens, I will go for a pair of Louis Vuitton's Blois ankle boots in Utah leather with a corduroy top. The rubber soles are designed for athletic activities and the inside is comfortably padded. They're functional yet ultra-urbane. If I were a bit more tanned, I would also consider Aigle's Tenere sable boots (below right), although in reality the beige colour simply would not complement my pale skin tone.

I have also spotted a pair of Kowalski boots at Seibu, with tanned leather and chequered details at the backs. They would be perfect, too, with a pair of chinos. And they're as presentable as city shoes, so no worries about looking out of place when you have to head straight back to town after a hike.

Paul Smith Jeans has a pair of sleek tanned leather boots and the British designer is matching them with patchwork jeans, a denim shirt and a quilted down jacket (left) in case it gets seriously cold. It's a great classic look that combines outdoors and street. OK, in Hong Kong you may have about two days in a year when you might actually consider wearing a down jacket, but it never hurts to be prepared.

On days when it's chilly but not bitterly cold, keep warm with a hooded cape in military green from (above right). It goes with either jeans or khakis and it's easy to put away in your backpack when you don't need it. Or go light and comfy with Zegna Sport's water-repellent memory nylon windbreaker, hooded track top and cardigan with knitwear detailing, stretch pima cotton cord trousers and nylon and calfskin ultralight trainers (far left). It's the perfect look for an early Sunday walk to the Peak wrapped up with a nice brunch in town.

When I was in my 20s I was crazy for plaids, and although I have moved on since then, I haven't given up on this old love.

Every now and again I get a plaid - or should I say checked, for fear of being chastised - item. Tommy Hilfiger's Hilfiger Denim line this season makes me nostalgic. The dusty-olive parka with plaid lining is matched with a dark brown shawl-collar knit sweater and chinos, a youthful look that will flatter as long as you're not too out of shape.

Now all I have to do is to actually go for a hike before brunch.

Shopping list

Aigle, Festival Walk, Kowloon Tong, tel: 2265 8098

Hilfiger Denim, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2735 7488, Times Square, Causeway Bay, tel: 2506 9327

Kowalski boots from Seibu, Pacific Place, Admiralty, tel: 2971 3888

Louis Vuitton, Lee Gardens, 33 Hysan Avenue, Causeway Bay, tel: 8100 1182

Paul Smith, The Landmark, Central, tel: 2523 5868

Zegna Sport, Seibu, Pacific Place, tel: 2918 9320