Global Warming is, by all reckoning, here to stay. Polar bears running across cocktailing ice, Polynesians aboard outriggers besaddled with backpacks and lunchpails, grasshoppers growing large, learning Missourah-speak and taking jobs in the ethanol and methamphetamine industries–truly, it contains the seeds of planetary catastrophe. And yet… if one looks, the silver lining is there. Moscow eschews the thwarting snow for fields of lush grain. Canada’s warm denizens and chill winds welcome a monied immigrant class from the south and finally put the Northwest Territories to use as a grand vacationland. The Sahara becomes a sea of glass. So why not light gray for fall suiting? It’s been many a year since anyone paid mind to them that wear white after Labor Day, and stripes and stripes have lived together comfortably for years thanks to Etro and Cannon. When it’s 70 in November, a man’s tweed hangs on him like a Neanderthal’s furs–he needs something with a bit less mass.
The SF Design Executive Platinum Suit (L$300 @ SF DESIGN, Innisfree 92,54,537) is soft-cornered business wear that doesn’t skimp on the accoutrements. Three button, with high, solidly notched lapels, the whiskery lines hint at a linen blend. The tailoring, on the other hand, is very Mad Men, is a solid gray bulwark against the trials of scotch and soda and ennui. From across the conference table, the suit is deftly shaded and looks like lightweight worsted, well broken. The accompanying white shirt is crisp and collared, the tie adequate and teasingly narrow, but what slides the Platinum to excelsior is the jewelry. Across the necktie is a subtle silver tie clasp, an over-under that exhibits a delightful restraint, considering the all too common propensity to bling out. Complementing it are cubist knucklebone cufflinks, big obvious wads of crystal that add heft and a touch of Trump bravado to the ensemble.
Darker and with a bit more Gordon Gekko is the Chez Charcoal Pinstripe (L$400 @ CHEZ Fine Clothing For Men, Sweetgrass 40, 83, 251). Doublebreasted and with a wide chalk stripe, the Chez has lean lines, rough corners and more than a little ego. The details and shading are not as easily drawn or as prominent as on the SF–but they don’t mean to be. Where the SF is a dancer’s suit, soft and comfortable as a second skin, the Chez is as stylized as ornamental armor, and nowhere is this more evidenced than at the shoulders, where pads of almost Superbowl size jut in counterpoint to the conservately peaked lapels. The real strength of the Chez, however, is the aplomb with which this suit accommodates a wide variety of shirts, ties and shoes. As corporate mail, it is brusquely forward; but as a tabula rasa upon which a man can inscribe with creative, seasonal accompaniments, it is both a welcoming envelope and a silent tableau that accentuates rather than overbears.
Finally, the Zen Beau in silver (L$600@ House of Zen, Hinode Shima 195,98,25) is perfect for the those Indian summer events where black tie is required but air conditioning may be in short supply. Cut in a smooth, silky pale gray, the Beau suit is unadorned and elegant, thin at the torso but with flaring at the cuffs, both above and below. Adding refinement is the guileless necktie, in either gold or silver, which is burnished without being overbearing, tightly knotted and more linear a’ la mode. The high, narrow shawl collar works well with the SL standard male body type (tall, lean but with significant chest), but its loose, Roman sleeves and trouser legs avoid the all too common oversnugness.
So as summer edges slowly from seasonal to everpresent, no sense in lamenting–flout tradition with these easy grays.