White denim is fantastic for summer — a favorite of mine last year. It pairs well with blues and tans, making it a great fit to either contrast with hopsack blazers or linen sport coats. For those looking to take a more colorful approach to summer in their tailored jackets — either preppy or Pitti inspired — the neutral tone of white works well to compliment them, too, be they a wild madras or vivid washed cotton.
If you’re unsure of where white denim might fit into what you already wear, treat them like you would khaki chinos or grey trousers in your wardrobe. I find white denim works best as a casual alternative to trousers and a warmer substitute for fabrics like linen on sunny weekend days.
Best of all, getting white denim isn’t that costly and fits right in for those of you on the ramen noodle budget.
Levi’s 501s in white denim are on sale for $33.60 with promo code FF2012, which knocks 30% off during their Friends & Family sale. (Sale ends May 7th.)
As far as sizing goes, I went down 2” from my waist size, as the denim will stretch out over time. Also, I took mine to the tailor to have them altered to a 7-inch leg opening and hemmed to no break. They look great with a pair of suede tassel loafers or chukka boots.
With summer coming up and the Kentucky Derby this weekend, it’s about time to start breaking out the seersucker in your wardrobe. And with summer suiting comes summer casual footwear — particularly the white buck.
They naturally go with summer clothing, like linen and seersucker suits, colored chinos and madras. I particularly like their high-contrast look against dark denim, letting the indigo stain the suede a bit.
White bucks are typically seen as a preppy staple, with the term “white shoe firm” often referring to successful firms filled with partners who were Ivy Leaguers, as described in this column by William Safire. I suppose the thinking went that those in “black shoe” firms could only afford one pair of shoes, thus they bought the basic staple: a black pair of shoes. Those in “brown shoe” firms were more successful and able to buy pairs black and brown. And those in the elite could afford to have excess footwear, such as white shoes.
Funny enough, suede bucks are relatively cheap nowadays in comparison to full-grain leather shoes, as Put This On points out. In fact, many see them not as shoes you purchase with the intent to wear them forever, but as disposable after they wear out. Of course, that depends how much you intend to wear them. You can spend as little as $60 with Bass, or go as high as $500 with Alden.
On the higher end, you’ll find construction with Goodyear welts and soles made of the more durable Dainite red-brick rubber. The suede will probably also be of higher quality. By contrast, the lower end will have less durable rubber and glued soles.
Personally, I have a virtually unused pair from Brooks Brothers I found on eBay on the cheap. Unfortunately, a day after wearing them sans socks resulted in the footbed lining to come unglued and curl up under the ball of my feet while walking. Frustrated, I ripped out the footbed liners and now only wear them in colder weather with socks. So, paying more for “mid-range” bucks might not necessarily mean you get something better than something on the low end. Buyer beware — I’m just glad I didn’t pay full retail for them.
I will, however, vouch for the Walk-Over brand. I have a pair of saddle shoes from them — similar in construction with a Goodyear welt — and the lining has yet to come off the footbed with my bare feet. They typically turn up once in a while on sale, but $225 for Walk-Over bucks strikes me as a fair retail price.
Below I’ve done a roundup of white suede bucks by price bracket, so everyone should be able to find a pair in their budget.
$100 and under:
$100 to $150:
$150 to $300:
$300 and over:
And for grins, here’s me last year wearing mine during a nice summer weekend last year:
Howard Yount will be releasing their summer collection of sport coats, suits and a blazer this week. Frankly, this is something I’ve been excited about for a very long time and I was thrilled that Jamison at Howard Yount gave me a sneak peak at the season’s offerings.
The most notable addition, in my opinion, is the introduction of a double-breasted suit in a navy cotton-linen fabric (also available in single-breasted). You don’t see a whole lot of double-breasted suits offered in ready-to-wear, let alone one in a summer weight and partially lined to keep you a bit cooler. And while the suit certainly would look great at more formal occasions throughout the summer, you could also break the suit up and wear each piece casually, too. Pair the jacket with some white denim or beige chinos and the trousers with a polo.
In fact, three of the four suits in the line could easily be worn as separates — the patch pockets on the single-breasted navy suit and the glen-plaid linen suit sets them toward the casual suiting spectrum.
I’m personally excited to get the grey tropical wool suit. It’s not easy to find more conservative suiting with little lining and in a summer weight that’s still fit to be worn to a more formal business environment or event. If you’ve ever worn a suit with a full (synthetic) lining in 80-degree or hotter weather, then you know quickly you wish to have an alternative. While I don’t wear suits much anymore, having that option in my closet is a welcome addition to the wardrobe.
Of course, there’s also a "California Tuxedo" option for those of you looking for it: a navy summer blazer. I have last year’s model (a different fabric), but the concept is still the same: a lighter navy tone with brushed brass buttons and an open-weave wool fabric with minimal lining to keep you cool. I love my summer blazer from Howard Yount that I bought last year and it’s lightness is amazing.
Finally, there’s the range of seven sport jackets that have fabrics from the likes of Zegna, Carlo Barbera and Reda. There’s a wide range of options for the more conservative in you — such as a gun club plaid and a black & white herringbone — to the more dandified — with a royal blue cashmere-silk and a purple wool.
As far as pricing goes, jackets will be $549 (except the cashmere-silk jacket) and suits starting at $599, which I think is really competitively priced when compared against other jackets of similar quality.
And, one more thing: For those of you excited about the double-breasted suit, you’ll be thrilled to note Jamison has plans to bring it back in the fall in a grey flannel.
See the entire collection after the jump:
I’ve been getting a few questions about where one can get a cheap jacket for spring and summer that won’t break the bank, so I’ve found a few options that should make a good portion of you happy. For those of you on the ramen-noodle budget, this list is for you:
Lands’ End Canvas chambray blazer: $21.97 — My roommate actually owns this and it’s pretty nice. Lightweight and has the appearance of washed denim. Goes great with white denim.
Lands’ End Canvas nailhead oxford blazer: $24.97 — Looks like a bit of an improvement over the chambray blazer with lining only in the shoulders and sleeves.
Lands’ End Canvas vintage chino khaki blazer: $53.97 — Given it’s fully lined in polyester, it might not be the best choice for summer, but early spring and fall it could be a decent buy.
Onassis poplin 3-button blazer: $98 — Available in navy, grey, stone and red colors. Definitely cut shorter, so might be better suited for people on the short side.