Sunday, August 21, 2011

Summer White, I'll Miss You

One thing I always miss after summer is the tropical white jacket.  Usually in a cream or ivory, there is something very pleasant about them, and it's not just the aesthetic of the contrast.  When you wear the summer "[off] white", you are constantly reminded of the nagging ticking clock, the mercilessly turning calendar pages, and the very real sense of season.  You are forced to confront the temporary momentness of it all and indulgantly absorb it while you can.
I had the tailor repress the lapels by over an inch to tame them... the idea is a look of "as light as possible".  Not only should it be light and cool, but it shouldn't make people sweat just by looking at it.  Summers in cooler places do better with the heavier silks, wider lapels, or wools which are stifling in a hot city.

The jacket is a true ivory color, though in this image it looks a washed out white in the late day sun.  What do you expect?  I use my phone for all the pictures.  Aint no artsy photographist.

The lush gardens at their peak, the fresh peas and corn, and of course, the rum and tonic... all provide me (and most others) with an unexpected kick to the skull when I look down and see that July has evaporated again.  My stomach prickles with the fear/guilt that I let it escape somehow as if I'm sitting in summer's bistro, and a half-finished plate of splendid moments gets taken from me by the waiter/calendar when I turn my head.  "But I was just getting started!" It's a souring admission of self-swindle.

You can fill in the blank:  "Late August? But... but...I never got the chance to______________."

I have a madras cummerbund that I only wear in summer, which requires VERY slow walking because of the abdominal insulation it provides.  All the pleats angle upward, and hide under the jacket for the evening, visible only when walking with an unbuttoned jacket... a feeble attempt at self-cooling.  Tall black socks are needed for black tie, but begrudgingly worn in summer as ankles turn into diva nudists sometime in late June.

A pair of London-bespoke shoes specifically for city black-tie and the half-lining of the light-weight dinner jacket make it tolerable.  My gorgeous evening-gowned date was stunning and turned heads as she sipped her Ward Eight... how she ever agreed to marry me several years ago is anyone's guess.  She doesn't wince when I order calves liver, and she insists that we start every meal with cocktails and a tray of fresh oysters at the bar.  By the time we leave after dessert, she has organically charmed several people into new genuine friendships, and they will be invited to the next party where she'll greet them beaming and attentively.

More difficult to find are the more-to-very yellow dinner jackets, and I openly love them.

When the seasonal nostalgia gets too much during a crappy winter, the solution is shameless, simple, and fun:  A party with a summer/tropical/cruise theme stipulating that men MAY wear their summer dinner jackets.  Granted, it's depressing when you head back out into the snow at evening's end, but sometimes a little self-deception/fakery* is needed.

*The life-force of men's style blogs.


  1. Will be wearing my off-white dinner jacket at dinner at the Ritz Carlton in Cancun,Mexico for 20th anniversary dinner in a few weeks....Great post...

  2. My father-in-law just sent us a photo of he and his best friend toasting each other at his best friend's wedding a thousand years ago. They are both wearing white dinner jackets - one single and one double breasted.

  3. That madras cummerbund is cooler than the other side of the pillow. I like you Yankee-Whiskey-Papa, I like the cut of your jib...


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