Springtime: nothin’ wrong with that.
There’s tons of inspiration to be had from this thread on StyleForum, in which folks are posting their favorite spring and summer looks. It’s a reminder that just because the sun is out doesn’t mean style has to be abandoned.
Summer is approaching, and if you’ve been paying attention to menswear for more than a year, you know every menswear magazine and blog is about to run the same threadbare advice - wear seersucker and cotton suits, and utilize linen when you can, in order to manage the heat. In the coming days and weeks, I’ll cover the same topics, but let’s start with a little advanced placement menswear. Many of you already know the basic summer fabrics, but what else is available?
Well, for suits, I recommend fresco - a wool fabric specifically designed for summer wear in the hottest climates. The fabric is woven in an open, porous weave, which allows your skin to more easily breathe and take advantage of every breeze that comes through. The fabric isn’t fragile either; the yarn is made with a high twist in order to give it the tensile strength it needs to compensate for the fabric’s open weave. The result is a high-grade, cool, crisp fabric that looks just like any other worsted wool from a distance. It’s a great way keep cool in the summer, but not compromise your elegance by resorting to cotton, linen, or seersucker for your suiting.
Similarly, you don’t have to just rely on cotton or linen pants in the summer. Try tropical weight wools, otherwise known as lightweight wools (of which fresco is considered one). These work much better for trousers than cotton because they’re, again, woven in a more open weave and allow your skin to breathe. They also help wick away sweat, bringing them away from your skin and towards the surface of the wool, where it can evaporate. Cotton, on the other hand, just absorbs sweat, which cuts down on air exchange. It also wrinkles a lot more than lightweight wool, which makes it look terrible, especially on hot days. It may seem counter intuitive to wear wool pants in the summer, but if you get the right weight and weave, it’s actually your smartest bet.
For shirts, aim for the same open weaving. Here I recommend voile, a cool, almost gauzy, cotton fabric. The problem with many types of voile, however, is that they can be a bit sheer. In fact, the name derives from French and means “veil.” Many aren’t fit for the modest man, but if you get one in a textured surface, and in a color like blue or ecru, it’s much more opaque and wearable. Alternatively, you can also opt for madras, an East Indian fabric that has a lightweight, airy quality. The patterns can be bit loud, but that’s kind of the charm. True madras is a bit hard to find nowadays, but I did a round up of madras shirts a while ago, so you can read through this post to see some of your options.
Linen and seersucker are great, but there’s an entire world of fabrics out there that is under explored. Know what’s available to you and you’ll have a much more unique wardrobe this summer than your standard cotton jacket, chinos, and polo uniform (though there’s nothing wrong with that, either).
Trick Daddy f/ Big Boi & Cee-Lo - “In Da Wind” (Atlantic/Slip-N-Slide, 2002)
Oh man. Spring is here, people. Spring is here.
(And if you’re wondering, the answer is YES. PTO luh’ the kids.)
The Only Swim Trunks You Need
I think we can all agree that a grown man looks ridiculous in board shorts, and even more absurd in a Speedo. That leaves traditional swim trunks. I prefer them in a fast-drying synthetic, with a slim profile, no logo and a solid color scheme. That’s surprisingly tough to find, especially at a reasonable price point, but there is a solid option: Lands’ End.
I like the Men’s 6” Volley Swim Shorts, which are $24.50 at full price, come in some nice colors and will be plenty stylish for years of use. Lands’ End has frequent sales - you just missed a 25% off and free shipping code - and with a little patience, you might manage to pay less than twenty bucks. If you happen to be a size small, there are even some of last year’s colors for $16.97.
The quality of Lands’ End products is unspectacular but solid. I, for one, really appreciate a source for decent basics at a reasonable price, with great customer service policies. Fits and styles at LE are rarely fashion-forward, but for things like swim trunks, they needn’t be. Simple is best.
(PS: How about that creepy disembodied guy up top? Sweet, right?)
It’s On eBay
Vintage Herbert Johnson Panama Hat (7 5/8)
Still getting ready for a big move, which means getting some stuff that doesn’t fit out of the house. When it comes to Panamas, this is the Real Deal, by Herbert Johnson, who’ve been operating continuously since the 18th century.
It’s On eBay
Benjamin Bixby Polo Shirts
I’ve written already about how much I already miss Benjamin Bixby, Andre Benjamin’s wonderful Gatsby-esque clothing line. I bought a huge amount of stuff on clearance at a store in San Francisco, including a bunch of these polos, which have a great slim fit. There are currently a number of models on eBay at $10 each.
These are the summer shoes you need.
I feel like this sneaker has been under the blog radar for a minute and is a total sleeper pick for S/S. The Converse All Star Cup is kind of like the Hyundai Equus of sneakers, luxury feel and features at a value price (someone is probably gonna try and shoot down that analogy… but oh well I stand by it). With premium leather upper, classic silhouette, and a clean toe the All Star Cup is a great option for the guy that wants a fashion forward yet classic sneaker. Forget Common Projects, go with the originator.
A very handsome sneaker indeed, with a very appealing price - $65.
Or $34.99 if you look hard enough. (thanks, Olivia!)
Love this jacket from the Spring-Summer 2011 Gap collection. This type of simple, cotton tailored piece is a great way to turn a casual outfit into something that looks put-together.
(photo via GQ Eye)