Here’s a timely reader question that landed in our mailbox this past week, paraphrased below:

Every Labor Day we’re told to pack up the summer gear and start acting like it’s fall. But it’s still hot as hell out and I want to keep wearing stuff that’s not going to make me overheat. Will I be committing sartorial sin by wearing seersucker in mid-September?

Playing by rules can be tough—especially when you’re faced with the sweltering prospect of heading into summer-like conditions wrapped in hopsack wool. In our estimation, your need to stay comfortable in the tail end of summer should supersede any obligations to uphold the vestiges of sartorial tradition—but we don’t want you walking around town giving the wrong impression. So we came up with a simple guideline to follow.

To further complicate things, in this great land of ours, we’ve got a handful of different climates—the farther south and west you travel, the longer it’s going to feel like summer. So we’ll set the cutoff date to whenever you start seeing the leaves begin to turn on your idyllically tree-lined block. (Perhaps you’ll also notice that the kindly shopkeeper on your corner who always tips his hat to you on your morning walk to work has switched to a tweed newsie.)

But until then, here’s what you should be asking yourself each morning for the rest of September: “Is this something I would only wear to a garden party?” That means you’re still good with the light cottons and the occasional madras or seersucker shirt, but it’s time to pack up the white bucks, boater hats and linen.

Or any loose summer pocket squares that might still be floating around.

It’s as simple as that.

—N.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Najib Benouar