Style Scenario: The Summer White Party

Or, how to wear white w/out looking like Col. Sanders.

What are you going to wear? Sometimes there’s an easy answer. Sometimes not. Sometimes it’s good to look at a few suggestions then add your own tweaks and ideas. That’s what these are for.

Summer is here and I have a “White Party” to attend for a gallery fundraiser. I’ve been flipping through some pictures and while the ladies generally kill it at these things, and the whole party looks great from a distance, the men’s style is just atrocious. As in: Oversized linen pants and guayabera shirts. Either that or it’s guys in super low cut v-neck tees framing a waxed chest.

Is it possible to pull off an all white outfit when you’re not on a tennis court or in a dinner jacket?

- John

Possible, yes. Easy, no. John’s completely right. “White Parties” (sometimes thrown to support HIV/AIDS research, sometimes thrown simply because you’re Diddy) often produce gorgeous women in their best summer wear, while most of us fellas look like extras in Defending your life. It’s a fine line between summertime suave and Colonel Sanders. But Master Thief (& Baron) François Toulour from Ocean’s 12 nails it:

The man is a Baron. He will grab his crotch in the Youtube preview image if he wants.

All white (or a light cream suit like Toulour), with a bold striped tie, and what appears to be black or very dark brown shoes + matching belt. Leather colors are up to you.

 

What to wear to a summer white party Dappered Style Scenario

 

The Suit: INC Linen/Ramie Jacket & Pant – $129.98.  How much do you want to spend on a white suit? If you honestly think you’d get more than a couple wears a year out of it, then consider the white seersucker jacket + pant from Bonobos which just went on sale. Even if all white seersucker looks a little like Cottonelle toilet paper. Otherwise, this Linen blend option from the Macy’s house brand INC should do fine. The jacket might be a little short for the tall guys, but it’s affordable, breathable, and the fit is decently trim off the rack. Ships free, returns free in store.

The Watch: Emporio Armani Meccanico Power Reserve – $206.40These also pop up from time to time on LastCall. It’s made by Fossil, has an automatic movement, a display case back, and there’s even a power reserve indicator on the dial. If you’re looking for an automatic watch with a rectangular case, it’s tough to beat this price. Plus, that case shape is traditionally reserved for dress watches. Adds another level of character to the outfit. Fulfilled by Amazon at post time. Want to stick with a round case? There’s always the Bambino.

The Shirt: Banana Republic Slim Fit Stretch Shirt – $41.64 w/ SAVE30BR. Shelve the non-iron white shirt for a night like this. Plenty of non-iron shirts (but not all) have a coating to them that’s just not that breathable. Also skip a linen shirt if you’re wearing a linen suit. Those matching textures look similar to denim on denim territory. These shirts from B.R. are 97% cotton with a bit of stretch. They’re smooth, soft and light, and they iron much easier out of the wash than an Express 1MX.

The Tie: Black/White striped silk tie via TheTieBar – $15.00. Perfect. Meanwhile, if you’re going with brown shoes & a brown belt, try this similar version in white & dark blue.

The Belt: Club Room Reversible Dress Belt – $21.98. Some guys are expensive belt guys. This is for those who aren’t. Just keep the flash on the buckle down, and the edges on that buckle more rounded than razor sharp.

The Underwear: Heather Grey Calvin Klein Briefs – $27.50 per 3 pack. Yeah, an underwear suggestion. The thing about white linen pants (especially inexpensive white linen pants) is that they can let a little light through, along with all that air. Grey tends to show much less than black or stark white. That way, there’s no slight contrast in shading where your under-roos end and your legs begin (same theory applies to undershirts if you wear them. White under a white shirt can leave a “here’s where my sleeve ends” line). Grey should work for most, and skip boxer-briefs or boxers. The line where briefs end and skin begins is high enough up that it’ll be less noticeable, or totally hidden by the jacket.

The Shoes: Allen Edmonds Neumora – $247 ($345). Just went on clearance. Traditionally shaped lace ups just won’t look right here. You want something a little sleeker and sexier. It’s a summer party, not a job performance review. Also available in brown. Meanwhile, if you really want to go for it, there’s these $130 velvet loafers from Mercanti Fiorentini. Yep. Velvet.

The Cash for Dry Cleaning: Like you’re not gonna spill something, or have something spilled on you by the end of the night. Stick to white wine, gin & tonics, or sparkling water.

Top Photo Credit Left, and Right, both Tom Purves.