Men who are “mad for clothes,” as Charlie of The Andover Shop likes to say, are a funny lot. Wearied from summer and the monotony of donning as few and as thin of layers as possible, they’re simply dying to break out the fall layers. And so they invariably go online the day after Labor Day and start boasting to their menswear cohorts about their favorite tweeds, flannels, and Shaggy Dog sweaters.
Well don’t unpack that stuff just yet, because those are really winter clothes and we have to get through fall first.
Yesterday was the first official day of fall and it still felt like a summer day in most of the East. Today in New York it’s supposed to be 85. And so I’d like to remind you that there is a wonderful selection of bridge clothing that’s not madras and seersucker and nor is it tweed and flannel. In fact, it’s the kind of midweight clothing that you actually get the most mileage from.
For example, this wool and silk sportcoat from O’Connell’s:
… which would pair nicely with O’Connell’s charcoal gabardines (I have a pair myself), or these tropical wool trousers from J. Press in medium gray:
Add a buttondown by Mercer & Sons in one of their lightweight oxford fabrics, such as the Brompton Blue Royal Oxford:
And why not a tie in cotton, like this from General Knot & Co.:
Add some cotton argyles from Brooks and your footwear of choice and you’re all set for mild temperatures that are neither too hot nor too cold.
Since moving East, my approach has been to drag out the old season as long as possible rather than jump the gun on the new. In other words, I try to get as much wear out of my transitional items as I can in the fall because I know that come December I’ll be forced to wear the heavy stuff exclusively. Then in March, when the average temperature is still only in the mid-40s, I’ll hang on to the heavy stuff as long as I can, knowing that pretty soon I’ll have to pack it all away. Carpe diem. — CC
Ah, autumn … or, as we in Southern California call it, “Indian summer”.
@Marc – I’ll guess that you define Indian Summer as a patch of unseasonably warm weather occurring in the fall. Close. Here in New England and other northern regions, that condition is only termed Indian Summer if it comes after a cold snap with a killing frost. Time to bake a Marlborough Pie!
Nice outfit, Christian, and great advice. Today, I went with a wool/silk/linen tweed 3/2 sack coat from BB in a brown, tan and gray POW check (similar to one you have from Polo, as I recall). Just the right weight and look for early fall days that start in the 60s and hit 85. My summer stuff is ready to go into storage, and I will probably pick up the tweeds, flannels and sweaters in November, but for now lightweight wools and wool-blend tweeds are the way to go. Good for Friday at the office and at an open-air cigar bar for cocktails this evening
@Marc-or as we call it here in Florida “still summer”! It was 92 degrees and a heat index of 100 yesterday. We don’t think about tweeds and sweaters until February and then maybe for only a couple of days! Ah, the good life!
This is why Los Angeles doesn’t holds its annual tweed pub crawl before mid November.
Truly the most challenging of seasons. During college I recall dressing in cords, long-sleeve button down and an Alan Paine sweater for class in the am and then too far from my rooms to change as it hit the 80s later in the day.. I misplaced more than one sweater in classrooms (and pubs) in those days
Thanks in part to a staggering lack of imagination among cloth designers, the following remain unavailable to trads who embrace early fall and late spring:
– a pinpoint (not heavy/beefy) oxford cloth that features a university/candy stripe. Acorn of England could do this but they haven’t (yet) to the best of my knowledge
– tropical worsteds that replicate tweeds–particularly colorful glen checks. I feel sure one of the better English weavers could pull this off.
Dugdale offers a few 9.5 oz. tropical glens:
Can’t wait for Christmas.
@S.E.Brook’s has new/old OCBD’s in university strpes of red, green, blue, aqua, yellow and purple. The collar,cuffs,etc. are unlined. True, they don’t have a pocket but that doesn’t bother me. I just don’t want a logo. I recently purchased a couple and I like them.
I know of what you speak. I don’t don the sweaters and tweeds just yet, but I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t excited about breaking them out soon. I have a few good transitional sports coats and pants that I’m wearing currently, but nothing feels as good as throwing on a thick tweed jacket on a nippy day in late fall.
Another solution for those with limited budgets or closet space is to eschew “transitional” pieces and mix warm and cold weather items instead. For instance, pair that hopsack blazer with gray flannels, or a Shetland sport coat with lightweight khakis. Not perfect but it’s a good middle ground for those who can only afford to specialize in two seasons.
Richard: madras shirts with tweed jackets have always intrigued me in old photos. Early autumn is a great time to practice layering with purpose rather than as a necessity.
Last week – I think it was Wednesday – I assisted an elderly couple with the SBS token machine at Wall and Water. The elderly gentleman was wearing a most unusual transitional combo of seersucker jacket and corduroy trousers. His necktie must have been nice when new, a reddish foulard. But it was faded and frayed in the extreme.
“as few and as thin of layers ”
Come on, man — you’re a better
of awriter than that.
you could drive three semi-trucks through those armholes.