There is a frequently neglected wardrobe that falls between pin stripes and chinos or city and country. Clothes for museum visits, Sunday concerts in the park and al fresco lunches, for example, ought to be better quality than the weekend's chinos and golf shirts and more interesting than charcoal work wear. The in-between wardrobe is elegant but neither casual nor solemn.
Now an in-between wardrobe for most men does not need to be large, for most men do not spend much of their time at daytime socializing. A pair of brown slipons, a few pair of good quality trousers in linen, gabardine or flannel, dress shirts with button cuffs and bolder patterns, a light cashmere sweater to throw over the shoulders and an odd jacket or two will do the trick. This type of jacket in particular is an area in which the Italians excel, with their citified but casual styles in lightweight cloth. Tan linen and black and white checked coats are perennially good choices.
An important thing to remember when assembling an in-between wardrobe is that this is not country clothing. Shetland sweaters, heavy corduroy trousers and Scotch-grained shoes have their place but the company of friends in town is not it. Seek out instead things that please the eye to look at and the fingers to touch so that the in-between wardrobe is as enjoyable an experience as the activities to which you wear it.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Illustration: Loro Piana