From head to toe: a cotton Land's End shirt (purchased on sale 2004), a lamb's wool tie by Bachrach (thrifted), a summer weight wool sports jacket by Hickey Freeman (Ebay), an Italian silk pocket square with hand-rolled edges (thrifted), old, comfy cotton Levi's Dockers khakis (purchased on sale Fall '07), and an old pair of tan monkstrap loafers sold by Land's End (purchased on sale Fall '07).
Two kinds of summer style demonstrated here today that can be easily approximated by average guys who want to leave behind forever the ubiquitous and awful camouflage cargo shorts, wife beater, flip flops, and off kilter baseball cap "look" that so many boys and men seem to sport these days whenever the temperature rises above a bracing 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
The ensemble pictured above was worn for a visit to the eye doctor last Monday. The necktie is optional, of course, but if you're going out in public, for God's sake, pull yourself together, and at least try to look like you have some self-respect, grooming, and sophistication. Do you really want to resemble the meth heads portrayed on the TV program Breaking Bad?
Dressing like you give a damn also influences how receptionists, nurses, dentists, and doctors -- and educated people in general -- relate to you. It's awfully nice to be spoken to without the patronizing, condescending tone that seems to be the norm these days, especially for visitors who look like they've just rolled out of bed two minutes prior to their appointments. It really helps when you look like someone with places to be and things to do besides spending the afternoons camped out in front of the television. Trust me.
A more casual 4th of July style here. Just old, well-worn docksider shoes in leather, poplin shorts, and a navy blue polo shirt.
What about those lazy summer days when you're just hanging around the house? It's very easy to find decent looking warm weather gear in thrift shops or through online sales. Regular readers might remember that I'm a fan of stuff sold by Land's End. Make a habit of checking out the sale and overstock items as well as end of season deals. Sure, it's not the most expensive clothing you can find, but for decent, ready-to-wear, classic style clothes, it's hard to go wrong.
Regardless of where you find your clothes as you develop a sense of classic style and assemble your wardrobe, keep in mind this important point. Clothes not only have an effect on how we feel about ourselves, but they also influence how others see us. Even close friends and family who, presumably, know us better than anyone else. Why give them reason to think less of us with gross behavior and/or a habitually sloppy appearance?
So, here's an assignment for you guys who want to kick up your style a notch or three this summer. Find and purchase a few pairs of khaki or plaid shorts WITHOUT cargo pockets. Take a pass on those strange skater or hip-hop things that hang below your knees and fit like lawn and leaf bags. Strive, instead, to create a more polished, adult look that also includes three or four short-sleeved summer sport shirts. Keep it simple here and skip anything that serves as an advertisement for companies like Abercrombie or Aeropostale.
Don't forget to add a pair of casual deck shoes that cover your toes. There. That didn't hurt, did it? A comfortable, nice-looking summer wardrobe that is suitable for many if not most settings outside the workplace. Easy. In addition, your moms, significant others, and spouses will appreciate you sitting around the pool, patio, deck, or campsite in something else besides your boxer shorts or a stained t-shirt with some kind of oh-so-clever double entendre emblazoned across its front for all the world to see. We're adults, right?
Remember. Just because it's family, and you're at home on vacation or during the weekend with the front door closed, doesn't mean you should let everything hang out and behave like a complete pig. Show the same respect for the people you live with and see every day that you give to co-workers, your boss, and people you pass on the street. It's not stiff, overly formal, or artificial. It's just plain old human decency. And, like it or not, how we dress and present ourselves to those around us is part of that.