Sunday, September 25, 2011

If It's Gonna Act Like Springtime In Fall...

then I'll dress like it's springtime, God dammit:

Monday, September 12, 2011

Uncharted Waters

Every year around late August/early September, I get sick and tired of the heat and turn into a grumpy old man about it. Today, for example, I had to sprint to catch a train and thought two things to myself while panting and trying not to vomit:


2. "If the fall were here already, I wouldn't be soaked in my own sweat right now."

Don't get me wrong, I love the summer. I love going sockless and wearing lightweight pants and pink shirts and white shoes, but after a couple months of blazing Northeastern heat and humidity, it gets old. I, like many people who live to dress, love the fall because it means I can start layering again. I can wear cozy sweaters, wool ties, smart blazers, and boots. More importantly, I can do this without sweating my ass off. Happy days have highs of seventy degrees, I always say.

To that end, I was out shopping and stumbled upon the merino wool sweater vest pictured above. I'm super excited about it because it's not only a great color (army green with brown undertones; my crappy photography doesn't do it justice), but it's also the first of its type that I've ever owned. I have a vest that goes with a three-piece suit and a brown wool herringbone vest, but never a button-up sweater vest. It's uncharted territory for me, and this thing is gonna kill with jeans, a shirt and tie, sport coat, and some dress-casual boots.

Pictures of it in action will follow, but not until the fall hurries up and gets here.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Breaking The Rules

Menswear is rife with rules and regulations. Jacket sleeves are so long, pant waists come up so high, tuxedos come with facings, and you only wear suits with leather-soled shoes. With the passing of Labor Day, I've been thinking about the "no white pants after Labor Day" rule and questioning its validity. To bring an end to my questioning, it's important to remember that Labor Day marks more than the last unofficial weekend of the summer, filled to the brim with grilled hot dogs and 25% off sales at Macy's.

Celebrated first in Oregon in 1887, it became a federal holiday in 1894 after the Pullman Strike in which many workers were killed by U.S. Marshals and the U.S. military and President Grover Cleveland wanted to reconcile with the labor movement. Given that this holiday is one sympathetic to labor, the sartorial rule banning white pants and shoes (clothing generally relegated to white-collar types) serves to reinforce this sympathy, and breaking it would be in poor taste. The holiday also marks the unofficial end of summer and robs white pants of their utility, as pants of that color are generally made in lightweight cotton or linen.

Climate change has thrown a wrench into the system, however. While Labor Day is the unofficial end of summer, it is now hot and muggy well into September. I even remember being on a date in early October 2007 and sitting outside because it was nearly eighty degrees at night. I mean no disrespect to laboring brothers, but if we're going to have Indian summer every year now, you can bet your ass I'll be wearing my white jeans much later into the season.

Glenn O'Brien, GQ's "Style Guy" and one of my sartorial heroes once wrote that the rule should be extended into October, at the end of the baseball postseason. I couldn't agree more; if the world isn't willing to do anything about climate change, the only thing we little people can do is dress for the weather.