Don’t tell PappaSmurf that I have his kicks.. (at Republic of Wadiya)
“Everyone has a Rolex. If you don’t have a Rolex by the time you reach 50, then you have clearly failed in your life.”
Keeping Summer Simple
I don’t love shorts, but I wear them. Why? The truth is that I’m a San Francisco guy living in Los Angeles. My internal thermostat can handle temperatures from about 55 to 80, so when the weatherman says “high of 91” and I don’t have a meeting or a reason to wear something fancy, I reach for a pair of shorts. It’s tough to admit, but it’s true.
When it’s genuinely hot outside, I work hard to keep things simple and lightweight. Above is the kind of outfit I’m talking about. The shirt’s from J. Crew – right now they’re full retail, $ 89.50 (!), but I didn’t pay more than $ 30 for any of the linen in my closet. I usually buy them in-store late in the summer, when they’ve been marked down a couple times. When I see some plain white linen that works well for me, and it’s $ 23 a pop, I buy a few. I’ve got a couple with something going on, and a couple more in white and light blue solid. Perfect for every occasion.
The shorts are by Uniqlo, and they’re $ 30. These aren’t world beaters, quality-wise, but they’ll get you through a summer or two. Focus on basics – khaki is of course number one, but white’s surprisingly easy to wear when it’s genuinely summer out. Navy blue’s pretty useful, too.
The shoes are plain plimsolls – traditional canvas sneakers. I actually bought this pair a few weeks ago right after posting about them here, they’re Keds. Thirty five bucks out the door (though there are only a couple sizes left now). Plain white and navy are workhorses for summer sneakers. If they get dirty, don’t sweat it. If they get gross and ratty, replace them. Besides Keds, we like to recommend Converse and Superga. Keep those feet fresh with no-show socks like these.
There are other options, of course. I love the madras shorts and shirts from Lands’ End, for example. I’m a big ghurka shorts man, and if it’s really summery and I’m not walking too far, I wear espadrilles. But frankly, with a simple, coordinated outfit like this, you’ll have 99% of the other chumps beat. Heck, just by covering your toes you’ll have 90% beat. And trust me: no one wants to see your toes.
“I don’t have vices. You won’t find me with a large Scotch and a cigar in the evening.”
– Ralph Lauren
I don’t write as much as I used to, but still always carry a Lammy Safari ..
We don’t ask for much. But our director, Ben Harrison, and his production company, Bad Character, have been nominated for a Webby Award. Ben makes The Engadget Show – a gig he got in significant part because of his great work on PTO – and they’re nominated for best technology film/video.
It’s a wonderful show, and deserves your vote. So get your butt over there and throw him a bone, why doncha?
When Black Tie is Optional (and You Don’t Own a Tuxedo)
A friend of mine asked me last week for some advice on what to wear to a “black tie optional” event. He didn’t own a tuxedo and wasn’t planning on buying or renting one (plus, the event was days away).
While I believe you should always wear an appropriate black tie outfit to “black tie optional” events, it’s bound to be impractical for most people who simply don’t have a tuxedo in their wardrobe. Ownership of such an ensemble isn’t for everyone and it’s not exactly cheap to put together for something most will rarely wear.
So, what should you consider wearing instead?
I suggested to my friend going with a solid, dark charcoal suit, a white spread collar shirt and a conservative dark necktie in either black, silver-grey or navy that had some satin-like shimmer to it for the evening.
Preferably, the shirt will have a French front, no pocket and French cuffs. Footwear would be a simple black calf balmoral, either captoe or wingtip, with dark socks. Of course, a TV-folded white linen pocket square to finish the look.
The idea isn’t to replicate the tuxedo, but it is trying to mimic the simple neutral tones of black and white. The nice thing about this outfit is that you’ll hopefully have all these elements in your closet already and you can even wear this outfit to non black-tie optional events and look really great.
(Image via The Suits of James Bond)
“You don’t need so much to be unquestionably, simply elegant.”
– Luciano Barbera
Hang it, don’t lay it or flip it upside down.