28 April 2013

Reader Questions

Reader Mike writes:

Given our unseasonably cool spring in Boston thus far, and given that our annual Kentucky Derby party is right around the corner, I've been wondering: is it acceptable to pair a sweater with a seersucker suit?  Now, I'm not talking about a wool fisherman's sweater or the like; rather, I mean something more along the lines of a light-weight cotton cardigan or V-neck in a suitably cheerful color.  Does that work, or is it just the stuff of Brooks Brothers catalogs?  Is seersucker so inherently spring-y/summer-y that a sweater is contrary to the very theory of seersucker?

Pictured above is the very outfit I had on when I received this email. A suit in pale blue silk and linen may not be seersucker, but it's about as Spring/Summer as it gets. Given our unseasonably cool Spring, I may indeed have been jumping the gun in the first place with this suit, but I do get bored with the blazer and chinos combination that I tend to rely on in these in-between times. The day was bright and sunny, with temps just at the low 60s, just barely warm enough. Knowing I'd be returning home in it later at night in a much cooler temperature, I opted to add a lightweight cashmere vest by Pringle of Scotland in a suitably cheerful color. Perhaps a bit unorthodox, but I think it works.

Seersucker is going to be more of a stretch, but maybe not impossible. The fabric in the suit above has heft to it, despite its being a Summer cloth. Seersucker is much lighter to begin with, and as such will clash with the weight of most sweaters. However, if you keep the sweater light in both color and fabric, and avoid sleeves, you might make it work. A cotton or light cashmere sleeveless v-neck pullover in pale yellow, baby pink or mint green might be pretty damn sharp with seersucker and a bow tie. Might be a bit much for everyday, but could be spot-on for Derby Day.


Anonymous said...

Men's clothing is of such a higher quality than women's clothing, at least until you start dishing out some serious bucks for it.

Styles tend toward the classic, colors are better and tailoring is, too.

Guess I'm going to start shopping for menswear...

Young Fogey said...

Whoa. Wait a minute.

"...I opted to add a lightweight cashmere vest by Pringle of Scotland in a suitably cheerful color."

Wow. You really do get the good stuff, don't you?

I was fortunate enough to find a Scottish cashmere sweater vest a couple years ago, and it's a favorite. I just picked up a Lands End Supima cotton sweater vest in yellow, but yours is a nicer shade of yellow than mine.

You also demonstrated how to wear a white button down, a shirt that I find hard to wear: white is dressy, but button down collars and Oxford cloth are not.

Incidentally, I have a similar linen/silk jacket, in a slightly darker shade (I think of it as "faded denim"). It wears a little warm, but that's a good thing in a place where "summer" is cool and foggy.