(“You see ’em wearin’ their baggies/Huarache sandals, too…”)
One of the more difficult things about summer is trying to look well-dressed whilst enduring sweltering temperatures. In a professional setting one resorts to seersucker, cotton, linen, wool fresco. Cars are air-conditioned as are offices. Most men remove their jackets in both. This month’s Town and Country profiles Robert Rufino, now editor-at-large for House Beautiful who gets it right. (For more on Mr. Rufino while he was VP of Creative Services for Tiffany, see this post at The Peak of Chic)
But what happens when we’re “off duty?” The temptation to “let it all hang out” is terrible. T-shirts, flip-flops and Crocs appear. On grown men. And not just at the beach or in the yard.
Mr. Rufino’s answer, quoted in T&C‘s profile, is: “When I bicycle to the beach, you’ll find me in a Brooks Brothers cotton shirt or a linen one with a pair of white, khaki or madras shorts.”
Amen, brother Rufino.
Herewith a list of items from bottom to top that would go a long way to making your summer off hours more elegant:
If you really need that much air to get to your feet, Huaraches will do the trick. I prefer:
Espadrilles. (In stripes or red, please. These are from Ropeysoles.com)
Suede driving shoes. (Mine are Tod’s bought at a better exchange rate and still going strong! They sort of look like this pair from Needless Markup, only in suede. Below, the Cole Hahn Air Barton from that same company.)
White canvas or linen shorts. (USD$12 from Old Navy!)
Red or orange shorts. If you’re going for colour, now is the time to do so. (Ralph Lauren, who else?)
Ghurka shorts (These are linen by JL Powell. A great, handmade and expensive, brand.)
A well-cut, non-elastic waistband, swimsuit (7″ – 9″ inseam) Try Birdwell Beach Britches custom option. I like the short versions or the “National Lifeguard Suit, Style 307.”
Vilebrequin is pretty snazzy, too. If you’re an elastic waistband guy.
Linen trousers. Specifically cream. (Polo Linen Herringbone Trouser.)
Drawstring trousers. Yes. In linen. At the beach. (From Bluefly, the Acrobat Linen Drawstring Trouser)
White or natural linen/cotton or cotton jeans. (From J. Crew)
The ribbon belt. (Grosgrain belt by J Crew)
The crisp white cotton or linen shirt. (Brooks Brothers Pinpoint Oxford)
The pastel linen shirt. (Target!)
The tunic (if you’ve got the build for it and the brio)
(Photo by Daniel Billett for About)
The nautical striped t-shirt long or short sleeve. (By St. James)
The linen or summer cashmere sweater. (I usually like a crew neck, but this one from Corneliani via Sierra Trading Post is good-looking.)
And finally the accessories:
A straw hat. There are a thousand different kinds. But you probably don’t want to wear one that looks like a model that a professional golfer would wear (unless it was Sam Snead.) Try for a packable elegant, or rustic, or functional, and above all, distinctive model.
Persol. Good enough for Steve McQueen and at least two Bond, James Bonds, and Mrs. E….
(The PO2720S through Amazon)
The rest is up to you.