There used to be such a thing as country club clothes (heck, there may still be such a thing though you would have to say from the way men dress at my club in California that it is nothing more than shorts and polos no matter what the weather or the time). Country club clothes were the kinds of elegant stuff that too many men inappropriately wear to the office these days instead of suits. The term meant odd jackets for dinner on Saturday nights, either gray or blue in the fall and lighter colors in summer, paired with a good pair of trousers, penny loafers and dark neckties like the one worn in the photo by the late designer Bill Blass, a guy who made his fortune selling country club clothes to women.
Those were different times of course, but I still think there is something to be said for country club clothes, which are the equivalent of what some people consider smart casual and a definite step up from business casual which has after all devolved to little more than "wear anything you want so long as it is not obviously dirty and does not have holes." Country club clothes work well for dinner at all but the most formal restaurants, art gallery openings, or afternoons at a museum that will be followed by a cocktail - any event in fact where denim and a black turtleneck are too little for men who are neither starving artists or technology billionaires and pinstripes too "My life revolves around my work."
Now, given the ubiquity of the navy blazer, most men already own country club clothes but for those who would like to set themselves unobtrusively apart from that crowd, a black and white jacket, perhaps a shepherd's check or a glen check, makes for a nice change of pace in the fall. Pale gray gabardine or tan linen play the same role in spring and summer.
Bill Blass would approve.
Click through to my new post on forbes.com, Being Well Dressed in America.