Easy and Elegant Life

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

Feelin’ Hot, Hot, Hot

(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.

(St. Raphaël, the Villa Lou Paradou.)

9 thoughts on “Feelin’ Hot, Hot, Hot

  1. The intense heat may have gotten to you, dear E&E.
    The Razor’s Edge was written by Maugham not Waugh.

  2. Good god Mr. Worthington.. not the heat, the children who are feeling their oats… many thanks for correcting something that should rightly be second nature to me.

  3. More to the point, Mr E, is whether Jerome Zipkin could ever have been the
    model for Elliot Templeton. Neither the personality nor the time frame would seem to apply. The only other JZ that might fit the bill is Jerome Zerbe~an elegant man about town back in the day~but though he lived for pleasure, he was nothing like Maugham’s super snob Elliot T.

  4. Greatest blog reply ever!!! “I was probably hung over”….!!!

    Also, I agree with your other comments absolutely.


  5. I like the photo…the black and white newsprint looks so crisp with the matching spectator shoes…all you need is a Fornasetti teacup on the table! I recently saw a pair of men’s vintage shoes that were perfect for the type of outfit you are describing. They were a good old make, Dack’s of Canada, and of ivory white leather, classic oxford style, but the leather was fine, narrow strips woven in a lattice or caning manner. Perfect for letting the foot breathe in summer, and so nice and light looking. So much better than encasing the foot in 90 degree heat! Alas they were not my size, and the condition was a bit far gone. Too bad things like that are not made anymore and that there is a clientele to appreciate it. Great post!
    Square with Flair

  6. Dear Mr. E,

    I couldn’t agree more about the pairing of textures when it comes to linen. While I love linen, too much of a good thing is not the best look. I love pairing linen pants with a textured belt and shoes that accessorize the ensemble (versus just cover the feet).

    Lastly, when dressing elegantly in the heat, I agree you can forgo the jacket when your dress shirt has elegant touches such as french cuffs, etc. which elevate the overall look from pants and shirt to a polished ensemble.

    Bravo (despite the hang over!) 😉



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