A Question About September.

The average temperature at Yale in September of 1955 was 72.5.  I know that from digging it up here.   You have to tread lightly on the question of if it is getting warmer over time, but I will say that here in Bedford yesterday it was 82 and today it is supposed to get to 82.

And I know that January 1st is the start of a new year, but my years always start in September.  School has something to do with it, summer ending has something to do with it, a change of season has something to do with it.   West Point should be in the Ivy League, and the year should start in September.

But I struggle with what to wear in September.

This kind of sums it up. September is both fall and summer (mums and hydrangea). Both are right, both are wrong. By the way, click on this image and check out the custom made cornhole boards at Muddy Dog. They are heirlooms. We really do keep ours out front for the “summer.”

I can’t wear linen in September.  I say can’t, I mean I can, but I won’t.   And I found a company, Hiltl.  They make pants that are the perfect rise for me.  I am  going to do a piece on them, but for the purposes of just getting you acquainted, they are dress pants and khakis that are high rise.  I can’t figure out the marketing though.  They are $250 or $40.  You can get them at James of Montpellier or Walmart.


They are marketed as Germany’s best pants. I don’t know about that, but they are fantastic if you want a loose fitting high rise pant.

When I found these pants, which they make in linen, my summer dressing problems were kind of over.  But I can’t wear them in the fall, linen just feels wrong next to an orange leaf.  Even one orange leaf.

Sundays are easier I guess.  Yesterday was church…


Those are Hiltl pants (not linen). J. Press oxford and tie that I do not know the make of.


… then softball with my daughter.  We stopped after an hour because… it was too hot.  Her reward was air conditioning (September) and Subway.


September and I sweat through my t shirt. The hat is J Press, the shirt is Duck Head, but you knew that. 🙂


The only solution I have so far, the only hybrid, and I know that there is a debate about whether this is even Ivy or not, is to work in Vineyard Vines.  For some reason, that stuff is hybrid.  In more ways than one.


That’s a vintage BB shirt, btw. That tie works in summer and fall. If VV works for you at all.


I guess I am asking – what do you do?  Suits are too hot yet, linen is too summery, I refuse not to wear a tie.  Ideas?

29 Comments on "A Question About September."

  1. Today I’m wearing a tan (“khaki”) suit, blue ocbd, green repp stripe tie. Tan is a year-round color (camel hair sport jackets, tweed, cavalry twill suits), so — this is my answer.

    The matte olive green suit (cotton or worsted Panama) is another winner for this time of year.

    And, of course, wool-linen blends. Also known as “summer tweed.”

    JB, you’re brave-and-bold to post pics of yourself. You didn’t ask but I think you’d look great (better) with a shorter, old school Ivy-ish haircut.

  2. I agree, the year begins in September, which is why I like to carry an academic year calendar/appointment book, refill. Impossible to find anymore.

    I think the answer to your question is what you wore to Church.

  3. The NY Times had an article on what to wear this time of year and they declared early autumn “vest season”.

    Patagonia makes popular men’s vests. The grey synchilla Patagonia vest is a uniform for tech/finance bro’s.

    Like any article of menswear, some people (especially women) either hate them or love them.

    I sent Christian an article (which he wrote about) concerning a woman who HATED!!! men who wear shawl collar cardigans.

    This was funny to me because she *literally* wanted to murder any man wearing a shawl collar cardigan. I’m lucky that I never crossed paths with this lady.

  4. Also, since Harvard is (still) Ivy (JB included a pennant in his post, after all) …


    Because science is Ivy —
    * Earth’s temperature has risen by 0.14° Fahrenheit (0.08° Celsius) per decade since 1880, but the rate of warming since 1981 is more than twice that: 0.32° F (0.18° C) per decade. 2021 was the sixth-warmest year on record based on NOAA’s temperature data.

  5. I can offer no help I fear. If the September day is warm, I still haul out linen, seersucker, and madras. But, like you, always a tie. So many people present themselves so artlessly in 2022, that I don’t worry about lacking sartorial graces post-Labor Day.

    Kind Regards,


  6. Charlottesville | September 19, 2022 at 10:11 am |

    Kudos for regularly wearing a tie, JB. That is increasingly rare. The Hiltl pants in the top photo look lower rise and a bit snug to me, but the pair you are wearing at church look more like the looser fit you described. I look forward to your upcoming report.

    I gave my answer to the (natural) shoulder-season dilemma here: http://www.ivy-style.com/it-happens-every-spring.html . Lightweight wool and summer “tweeds.” At this point, I have enough to carry me through comfortably, including a few suits. A high temperature in the mid 80s is predicted here today, and I am ready for it in Bill’s khakis, an older BB striped broadcloth button-down and repp stripe bow tie with a tropical-weight-wool blazer from J. Press, all seasonal and comfortable.

  7. Navy linen sport coat will be used for as long as the days peak in the high 80s here in Alabama. This could be for several more weeks.

  8. Southern Sweater | September 19, 2022 at 10:52 am |

    Reporting live from Kentucky where it’s expected to be in the 90s this week, but my wife has decorated for fall already, I understand the dilemma. I begrudgingly try to dress based on the thermometer, not the calendar.

    Unrelated: looking forward to the podcast!

  9. Hey, Stanford isn’t Ivy 🙂

  10. Mark the Lion | September 19, 2022 at 1:04 pm |

    New visitor here. Love the hat. Did you go to Columbia?

  11. Throw away the calendar and dress for the temperature. Don’t sweat it, literally or figuratively.

  12. The Amazing Tom | September 19, 2022 at 2:07 pm |

    I wore a linen shirt and and a linen blend sport coat for in person meetings in downtown Richmond last week. Too warm and humid for anything else.

  13. What Hoops and whiskeydent said.

    Linen stays out/on until it starts to actually feel like Fall. At this rate I may not put my blue and white linens away until October 15th. Possibly later.

  14. Robert Archambeau | September 19, 2022 at 7:14 pm |

    Seconding the tan suit. I’m a professor and yearn to be decked out in tweed in September, but lately that’s been nothing but a dream. On a day too hot for a tie, I’ll wear an unstructured tan suit, swap out the OCBD for an open-collar tipped polo, and go sockless in Venetian loafers. NATO strap Timex finished my kitting-out. But some days are so hot I feel like I should add a pith helmet.

  15. Dressing by the calendar compared instead the forecast is problematic in our large nation. For example, a friend in Minot, North Dakota is now wearing his thin wale cords, cotton crewneck sweater, and flannel BD long-sleeve shirt, while another friend in Philadelphia, Mississippi is still wearing, he advised me, shorts, OCBD, and Sperry boat shoes until late October.

  16. I read the question as referring to trousers specifically, to which I would suggest spring wool-tan or light olive- in addition to khakis, as usual, is the safest bet. I do miss the four seasons.

    Next comes Indian Summer…

  17. Incredibly, here in Southern California it’s been unseasonably seasonable, with temps in the 70’s. But the 90’s are expected to return this week. Since 100-degree weather can last until October here, I dress for the weather, sartorial rules be damned. The only one that I tend to follow is no white after Labor Day. Other than that, the linen suit, seersucker shirts (dark colors only) and tame madras shirts are still in rotation. One of the great things about modern times is the relaxing of those sartorial rules that pertain to the calendar.

  18. About 8 years ago I was introduced to the Hiltl brand whilst on holiday in Florida.

    There’s a really good traditional menswear store in Central Florida called Sieguls, situated in Winter Park, that stocks a wide range of trousers (Sorry can’t get used to using the word pants as it means something different in the UK).

    The owner had previously sold me the Bills M3 in chamois cotton. Having revisited the store he no longer stocked Bills but suggested I try Hiltl’s “Original Khaki” trouser. 98% cotton with a slight stretch in a stone colour that just goes well with anything. I was blown away with the quality and the rise but sadly on my following visit I was disappointed to find out that the particular style had been discontinued.

    I have looked at other trousers in the range and they appear to be mid-rise at best so I’m really looking forward to your review.

    The other trouser brand Sieguls introduced me to was Ballin. I have a couple of pairs but the Hiltls remain my favourites.

    It’s really satisfying when you find a retailer who truly understands what his customers are looking for and goes out of his way to accommodate them.

  19. @Adman, Ballin makes a nice set of trousers. Was introduced to them by a traditional shop here in the VA Piedmont. Number of different widths available, all with appropriate rises. Matter of fact, said shop relocated to Florida not too long ago, albeit in Palm Beach. If you are ever down there Richard Allen Clothing should be a solid option assuming the same stock as was here in VA.

  20. Here in southern New England, the temperatures will hover in the mid-seventies for at least two more weeks. I’m keeping my J. Press poplin suits in the rotation, with the possibility of an appearance of my gray striped seersucker if we reach the 80’s. I too dress for the temperature. The madras sport coats will enter hibernation this weekend. The Brown/Harvard football game is Saturday. If it stays warm, khaki shorts and OCBD’s will be seen.

  21. @Rake
    Thanks for the recommendation. Another store to check out on my travels. You guys are spoilt for choice.
    Over the last 20 years I think I must have tried about 20 different brands of Khakis. My criteria has been driven by the rise and fabric composition.
    The Hiltl was the winner but for on-going purchase I have stuck to Bills M3. I know many connoisseurs think they aren’t as good as they were but I really like the choice of fabrics and the fact you can alter them easily.
    My local tailor adjusts the rise and puts a taper on them and they are pretty much perfect.

  22. Fletcher Millington | September 20, 2022 at 8:30 pm |

    Are there still people who believe that khaki shorts keep one cooler than khaki trousers?

    • @Fletch, there are still people who believe that the earth is flat, and the last election was somehow “stolen”. Which is to say, people believe all sorts of things. Shorts keeping “one” cooler than trousers seems quaint and reasonable by comparison, khaki or not.

  23. The photos all look excellent. In DC it can be warm until Halloween. So, for the office I like tropical wool and poplin suits with muted cotton and madras (bow) ties. Otherwise, it’s unlined or half-lined summer tweed or cotton sport coats, polos, OCBDs, chinos, and some venerable BB navy cotton-linen trousers. From the low 80’s down, I start thinking un/half-lined navy wool and corduroy jackets too. Corduroy sport jacket with fall madras tie or shirt on the weekend. I also think it’s a nice season for yellow OCBD’s and cotton knit ties.

    Regarding ties, I’m curious if others spotted some blogs and articles on how the recent tieless autocrats’ photo op proved powerful men don’t wear ties, while their functionaries did. I suggest an article titled “Of tyrants, ties, and trads.”

  24. You’re right, September is tough. It’s increasingly more summer than fall.

    Labor Day is no longer the end of summer clothing. For me, lightweight duds stay in rotation until early October, and even beyond.

    Today it was 72F with a little bit of a fall feeling, and I wore an old LL Bean OCBD, a new pair of O’Connell’s chinos (really like them, BTW), and a Samuelsohn summerweight wool/silk blend jacket, with a wool tie.

    Yesterday it was 91F, and all I cared to put on was a bengal stripe broadcloth button-down from the Andover Shop, a pair of khakis from JCrew, and some Rancourt Ranger Mocs. Unless I’m going to a wedding, I’m not going to wear a jacket or tie when it’s over 90.

    As others have said, if the weather says it’s still summer, it’s fine to dress like it. And to make a G&T while you fire up the grill.

  25. I think the daily temp chart with the 24 hour range bars makes for a less compelling argument. A handful of days hit 80 degrees as a high in September,1952. One approaching 90. How useful is an average temp when describing how a human interacts with temperature? When is the last time someone asked you what the average temperature would be today?

    Good topic for an article, btw. I’m just a data guy and couldn’t let this lie.


  26. In East Texas yesterday where it was elventy hundred and twenty nine degrees (air temperature, with the humidity the heat index was higher) I wore lightweight Khaki’s, a chambray shirt and loafers. A number of years ago, GQ’s legendary style guy Glen O’Brien declared that the beginning of linen and seersucker season would be moved back form Memorial Day to Easter. I would propose that it hereby be extended until October 1st. My Fall clothes are unpacked on the first day that the temperature does not exceed 79 degrees.

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