Easy and Elegant Life

The Search for Everyday Elegance and the Art of Living Well.


(“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)

White bucks.

Brown and white spectator loafers. (This is the Ferrragamo Prisco via Sak’s I wear the considerably less expensive Martin Dingman Jonathan Loafer.)

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.)

Sperry Canvas sneakers.

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.)

Seersucker trousers.

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.

Good Sunglasses:

(Ray Ban Aviators through Amazon.com)

Persol. Good enough for Steve McQueen and at least two Bond, James Bonds, and Mrs. E….
(The PO2720S through Amazon)

(Persol 0649 through Amazon)

The rest is up to you.

8 thoughts on “Beach(ic)

  1. Hullo Easy,
    You nailed it!

    A couple suggested additions:

    — armloads of Lacoste shirts in myriad colors
    — dime store bandannas for wiping the brow
    — a metal bracelet sport watch, such as Rolex mariner or Daytona or similar (no sweaty leather watch bands)
    — LLBean boat-n-tote bags with your initials or the name of your country house to carry all that stuff around, good for grocery shopping too
    — old fashioned white cloth tennis hats (with dark green inside brim)
    — a dog-eared copy of the collected short stories of John Cheever
    — 1967 midnight blue Mercedes 250SL convertible with dove gray leather interior

  2. I approve of absolutely everything you’ve selected, though I prefer espadrilles with ankle ties. Unfortunately I am nowhere as thin as the models depicted, or as thin as you for that matter, but I think I can camouflage the 38 waist somewhat. Maybe. Oh, why even try?!!!

  3. Thanks Mrs. PvE, we are headed to the beach very soon, so these things are much no my mind.

    Reggie, fine additions all. Although I prefer the saddle interior on the Benz ; }

    Aesthete, it’s all in the camera angle. Hence my choice of the non-elastic waist swim suit.

    Hello Jessica and welcome. I’m still wearing the pair I bought 20 years + ago. Although the prescription changing may have worn out their reusability. I’m glad that they still make the classics.

  4. Thanks… Between you and Reggie, that’s pretty much my packing list for the next couple of days on the eastern shore… except for the ties. Oh, and I am including the yellow lab as an accessory.

  5. Have a wonderful trip, Fairfax. We won’t make the shore (Oxford to visit my Uncle) until July when it’s all khakis and polos, khaki shorts and button-downs and beat up Sperry Top-Siders. And with jumbo lump at USD$32/lb. here in the Old Dominion, I can’t wait.

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