Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Summer Wishlist

I didn't really start dressing well until the cooler months last year, and as a result, I'm suddenly finding myself overwhelmingly unprepared to keep up the level of dapper in these warmer months. I've been working overtime to remedy the situation, and here is what I have left on my list to round out my wardrobe:

Lightweight blazer:

I already got a cotton/linen blend, unlined blazer from Uniqlo in dark blue/navy, but I'm hoping to add one more summer-weight blazer in a lighter color. I'm considering another from Uniqlo, probably this one in a red cotton/linen blend:

as I was very happy with the one I just bought (review forthcoming), but am also considering this tan option from H&M:
Normally I stay away from H&M due to previous quality-of-construction issues I've had with their clothing, but I've heard good things about this blazer (for the price), and I'm digging the ticket pocket. Unfortunately, it is fully lined, which seems counter-intuitive for a lightweight jacket, so I guess I'll have to stop in and check it out.

Swim Shorts:

No joke, I haven't bought a pair of swim shorts since high school. Therefore I only own two very 'cool-at-the-time', past my knees, big-Hawaiian-floral-printed pairs of board shorts. It's definitely time for some man shorts to wear to the beach (if you can call it that) here in Chicago. What I really want is this pair in seersucker from J. Crew:
J. Crew Factory

but alas, they don't have my size, so I'm on the lookout for something similar.

Boat Shoes:

For a while I was struggling to find any summer-appropriate shoes. Recently, this purchase off of eBay covered my 'colored suede wingtips' bases, but I'm still on the hunt for some good boat shoes. My biggest problem so far is that I do most of my shopping online, and honestly, I think all boat shoes look crappy in product photos. The soles look clunky, the laces either weirdly long or weirdly short, etc. etc. However, when I see these bad boys in person (just took a browsing trip to DSW today), they all look damn fine. So, as soon as I can belly up to a straight up $75-$85 (depending on where you buy em') purchase in one fell swoop, I'm grabbing this pair of Sperry Top-siders for those more casual and/or nautical sock-less days:
Sperry Top-Sider

Light Wash Jeans:

Dark jeans are fan-fuckin-tastic pretty much year round, making that smooth move from casual to dressy without breaking a sweat. However, I've started breaking a sweat wearing mine, so I'm searching for some more lightweight denim. While I'm at it, I'm going to shake things up a bit and get something with a lighter wash as well to better embrace the bright sunshiny-ness of spring that I miss all Chicago-Winter long. Right now I got my eye on these cotton-linen blend jeans from Uniqlo:
but I just wish I could visit a store in person to take advantage of the on-site, complimentary hemming. I've tried a few pairs of Levi's out, but haven't found the wash or weight that floats my boat. You know, that boat I'm wearing my boat shoes on.

Prescription Shades:

Cuz I'm blind as a goddamn bat. And I'm dainty and sensitive to the sun. Haha no, in all seriousness though, having a good pair of sunglasses is key during those summer months when you're trying to soak in as much sunshine as possible. I used to wear contacts and would just throw on a pair of knockoffs, but I've switched back to glasses in the past year and am going to have to pony up for a pair of prescription shades. I've been loving pretty much everything coming out of Warby Parker, and for $150 (prescription included), the price can't be beat (plus, fingers crossed, hopefully my insurance will cover them). Personally, I have my eye on the Jasper:
Warby Parker

 or the Winston:
Warby Parker

but there are a bunch that I'd rock any day.


I only have two solid pairs of shorts in my wardrobe, and honestly, that's almost enough. Monday through Friday I'm pretty much limited to pants by the dress code at my day job. I have one pair in khaki, and one in grey chambray (super comfortable, by the way), both 9"-10" inseams. However, I'd love to have a few more pairs of chino shorts to let me show a little variety on those days off. I'm keeping my eye open at the J. Crew Factory website, since they have some damn good sales, but I'll be happy with a pair from Gap, Frank and Oak, and a small variety of other brands as long as they come in the right fit and at the right price. Right now, my ideal would be a pair in dark blue:


 and a pastel pair in oxford cloth:
J. Crew Factory

Linen Shirt

Another problem of mine: it gets hot as all get-out in Chicago in summer. However, I do prefer to wear a tie every weekday, especially at work. More unfortunately, I'm not a fan of the short-sleeves and tie look (this is widely debated across style blogs, so make your own decision). That said, my best option for staying cool on summer workdays is probably a nice, linen dress shirt. The biggest challenge I'm facing is finding a shirt that is reasonably priced but also comes in a slim fit. Most moderately priced linen shirts are much more casual and are designed for a loose, beach-y look. By the time you get up to dress shirt stylings, the prices are usually pretty damn high. Frank and Oak has a linen shirt that I'm going to give a try:
Frank & Oak

but if all else fails I'll snag one for cheap from Uniqlo and get it tailored (I checked their fabrics and I'd say it's tie-appropriate with a cotton or knit tie).

Cotton Ties

While winter weather calls for more substantial fabrics like thick silk or wool for your neckwear, summer similarly calls for it's own weather appropriate ties. I'm looking for options in cotton and linen, as well as some light-color, solid knit ties. I've already stocked up my closet at Tie Society, but for my permanent additions, I'm turning, as usual, to the The Tie Bar. I especially have my eye on this knit tie in coral: 
The Tie Bar
Or this one in cotton seersucker:
The Tie Bar
Uniqlo also has some great options for linen ties clocking it at $12.90, which is a steal. Most are in plaid/madras, and I'm a fan of this one:

Also, here is a short list of some other recent purchases for the summer:

Light (almost white) Chino's in Stone from J. Crew
Light Blue/Slate Chino's from Gap
No-show loafer socks from Nordstrom Rack
Short-sleeve casual button-up (needs tailored) from American Eagle
Mint OCBD from Frank & Oak

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