What to do, with the blue jacket

Q. My mother just passed to me a light blue jacket that was my father’s from about 8 years ago. Is this still appropriate to wear and is now the right time of year?

A. Yes, this is exactly the right time of year. For the man who wants more variety in his wardrobe, summer offers several solutions. A shift to a lighter color palette is one possible change. Lighter weight fabrics are another option. Less formal/serious accessories are yet another summer possibility.

FABRIC and COLOR: One thing that is great about summer dressing: you can wear lighter colors and fabrics than you would wear the rest of the year. Even if your light blue jacket is a traditionally-cut blazer or sports coat, the fabric is probably lightweight linen, cotton, silk, or a silk/cotton blend. And, while a three-season blue blazer is usually navy, a warm-weather jacket’s color can range from powder blue through medium blues to brighter shades of darker blue.

CUT and FIT: The two elements that most clearly mark an up-to-date jacket are today’s slimmer/trimmer fit and the fact that modern jackets are significantly shorter than they were a while back. Your jacket could be either single- or double-breasted. A single-breasted cut will be more modern and more versatile than a double breasted. For single breasteds, today’s style is a two-button closure rather than the dated three-button closure. Three-button jackets have almost vanished. On the other hand, with double breasted jackets, the much more up-to-date look is a six-button closure, rather than a four-button cut.

Another subtle point of fit difference between what is in style or out: today’s jackets have what is known as “a suppressed waist.” This means that the silhouette is less boxy; the jacket is noticeably slimmer and more body-hugging, “suppressed” at the waist. These may all seem like small points, but they make a big difference when it comes to determining whether you will feel confident wearing the jacket.

What to wear with your jacket? Here are a few different shirt possibilities:
A white shirt is your safest (and perhaps your best) choice; but some other solid colors also work, such as ivory or a soft shade of yellow
· Blue-and-white stripes in varying widths
· Blue patterns, such as tattersalls, herringbones, gingham checks, and tiny glen plaids.
· If you are skilled at working with colors, you might try a light green or lavender shirt.

Trouser choices:
· Dress trousers in all shades of gray, plus black and navy
· Light and medium shades of brown, from beige and tan to khaki and taupe
· White pants, from white wool dress pants to white jeans
· Blue jeans

· Just about every color from pastels to brights and darks will work
· I particularly like small all-over patterned ties that combine blue and red (for an overall lilac look with blue pants) and ones that combine yellow and red (for an overall orangey look with khakis)
· Silk or cotton stripes, cotton madras plaids, and flowered prints are good summer alternatives.

Pocket squares:
· Besides dressy silk squares and white linen handkerchiefs, try a few colorful cotton squares.

A very simple adjustment that might look smart on your light blue jacket would be to have the tailor replace whatever buttons it now has with a set of white or off-white genuine mother-of-pearl buttons. It is such an inexpensive way to upgrade your look and make a summer jacket especially seasonal.

About these colors and variations that many men are not used to wearing: although you may not want to hear it, you really do need to try everything on well ahead of time, to ensure you look and feel right. Learn to trust your eye and your mirror. If it doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t.

Please send your questions on men’s dress and grooming to MALE CALL: Lois.Fenton@prodigy.net

Categories: Male Call