(Jerome Zipkin from “Slim Aarons: A Place in the Sun“)
Buster Poindexter/David Johannson had it right. But when he heated up, it was in a white dinner jacket. However, there are days when no jacket or tie is required; indeed there are days when a jacket and tie are almost unbearable. When the thermometer goes way up/and the weather is sizzlin’ hot…. take a page from our man’s book above. That is a very poor scan of Slim Aaron’s photograph of Jerome Zipkin, the model for Elliott Templeton in Maugham’s “The Razor’s Edge.”
I know what you’re thinking, “standard dress for today — no jacket, no tie, actually no standards at all.” If you’re going to be in an un-airconditioned environment, trousers and a shirt are the way to go. And the ensemble above shows one way to ensure that standards are upheld.
Some ground rules apply. Linen is a lightweight open weave and therefore perfect for those days in the 90’s (30’s C.) But choose either a linen shirt or linen trousers. It’s a texture thing. The other pieces should be smoother — tropical weight wool, cotton and polished leather. For example: linen trouser, poplin shirt, polished calfskin loafer. Or linen shirt, chinos, cordovan loafers. The exceptions to my rule are exotic leathers and summer shoes which I think look fine with linen. Crocodile belts and alligator slip-ons seem to work well. Especially when they are shiny. The reversed calf uppers on spectators work because of the the polished leather of the toe caps. Or maybe the nubuck of white bucks looks good because of the colour? Those are just my opinions.
I also like the look of French (double) cuffed shirts and cufflinks worn casually. (See Mr. Zipkin above.) Remember, I am in pursuit of an easy elegance. This may be hard to pull off unless you are out of your twenties. But with a bit of brio, almost anything is sartorially possible. Just because the dress code doesn’t call for coat and tie doesn’t mean that you can’t be dressed for an occasion.
Even if it’s reading the morning paper.