For many of us summer means less layering. Of course, if you wear a suit every day of the year whether it is November or March, July or January, you have a more consistent set of layers running all year. However, for many, like myself, summer means less layers. I don't wear a suit everyday during any season. I almost never wear suits. Instead of suits I wear odd jackets and pants. That is what suits my life naturally. In the summer, like many, I dress more casually. I wear a tie less often and I wear boat shoes more than loafers. I wear less sport coats in general and I will wear shorts on the hot days.
When you have less layering, you have fewer items, which means (generally) you will have fewer textural differences and fewer opportunities to make distinction. It may feel like you have less of a chance to craft an outfit because there are less choices. It is for this reason that I think many in our style-world don't "like" summer. It is for this reason we tend to love autumn. Not only because of the return of rich beautiful colors, but also because we get to return to copious amounts of layering after a season of no layers.
Although I understand the conventional thinking or rather I should say feeling on this matter, I think that we do not have to feel this way about summer. We just need to shift our thinking a bit. Because we have fewer layers, because we have less chance at obvious distinction, it doesn't mean there is less thought put into our outfits or that our presentation makes less of an impact. Actually, viewed another way, you could wonder if maybe the pieces carry more weight and their interplay is even more obvious to the immediate eye.
Examine the outfit found in this piece, look at the photos. We have a light green OCBD, navy shorts (with crease and a short inseam - which I absolutely love. It is dressing up a casual garment in this way which is filled with such a unique, joyful friction), brown belt and pale pink boat shoes. The belt is essentially a non-player. It is so basic, simple and standard that in this particular outfit it essentially plays almost no role. Another belt could play a larger role in the perception, but this belt does not. Ultimately we have 3 pieces, and not only 3 pieces, but 3 plain pieces. This is essentially the limit of minimal. I suppose we could say the color of the shoelaces play a role because you can have non-neutral color boat shoe laces, but they are simple and white so they are similar to the belt, they aren't really playing a large role.
In this simple outfit of only 3 plain pieces, we have only 3 colors we can choose. In this scenario, something 101 simple can work perfect and beautifully. White OCBD, the same navy shorts and tan boat shoes. Or, something which keeps the shirt the same. Same light green OCBD, khaki shorts, brown boat shoes. Or, something which keeps the shoes the same. White OCBD, khaki shorts, same pale pink boat shoes. These are all beautiful outfits. All so simple, neat, classic and standard. In the case of this outfit, I wanted to do something a bit more creative and bit more full and bursting with summer color.
These pale pink boat shoes are bold and the light green shirt is also bold. While pink and green can work together beautifully, separating these from each other helps bring things down a bit. The shoes and shirt are physically separated by space but also separated by the barrier of the navy shorts. The navy shorts create a sort of plain neutral barrier which lets the shirt see itself against the shorts and lets the shoes find it's reference against the shorts as well. Of course, when someone sees us they see all of us, but this that I say still has an impact on the way our minds perceive the outfit even if we are directly unaware of it.
Something I love about this outfit is that the pink is a very unique pale and this light green is a very unique dusty green. There is a standard kind of green and pink we think about in our style, these are not them. These are shades that feel more like the kinds of shades you would find on cars from the 1950s. They so light and wispy alone. When combined together it feels as though you are in that impossible to touch or pin down space of a dreamy 1950s pastel-future. Yet again, the navy shorts play a key role in this outfit. These are anchoring. In a sense, because they are not khaki or stone, but rather dark, they anchor even more strongly. Darker colors, in general, feel more serious. These navy shorts anchor both in color and in mood.
Often a long sleeve shirt with shorts doesn't make sense. They are contradictory in terms of what they are trying to provide you. But, when done right, by someone who knows what they are doing, it can feel wonderfully nonchalant. I love this look in very summer, cottage-y, by the water, carefree sense. Sleeves rolled up is of course often ideal. To elevate this look into an even more extreme ultra-prep place, you can add a cream sweater on top if it is a bit cooler. A tan Harrington jacket would also be perfect, of course. I live in a place that is very conducive to very preppy dressing. I can dress as ultra-preppy as I want and I don't feel out of place. Even though most others don't dress like me, the location, the place, the feeling, setting allow for the most preppy dressing one may want.
I am always talking about the importance of dressing naturally. I think it is important to dress in a way which is natural to you and your life. To dress in a way that feels true, authentic and a way which is sustainable, able to be done and kept up throughout your life, is a sign of a natural relationship with one's clothes. For some, this means suits every weekday. For some it means sport coats all year. For some it means OCBDs and chinos and a Barbour jacket. Our style-world allows for, and provides sustainable, classic, traditional paths for every modern man. For myself it means a general trend of more formal in the autumn and winter and a general trend toward more casual in the spring and summer. For me, the territory is fully open to put together as ultra-preppy an outfit as I choose.