By this time of year, white canvas sneakers are thick on the ground.
And while we’re fans of the simple, utilitarian pleasures of the common plimsoll, they’re nearing their saturation point—meaning, it’s about time you started venturing into the even summerier depths of footwear. Madras. Linen. Seersucker. Swimsuit material. All proven summer fabrics that have found their way onto shoes, so we rounded up your best options.
Sid Mashburn has a knack for filling the gaps—ones you might not have even known were there.
Case in point: his newly unveiled summer stock of “sport trousers” that split the difference between dressier pants and your weekender chinos or jeans. Meaning they’re lightweight enough to wear into these warmer months but still formal enough to get away with wearing to the office—granted you work in the sort of place where the sight of “sky blue” or “bright yellow” wouldn’t wrinkle too many noses. We’re particularly fond of the green canvas pair that toe the line of go-to-hell-ness (which the red and orange pairs have already crossed). Your office mates will get the message.
Kent Wang broke on the scene when he reintroduced the menswear crowd to the charm and versatility of the polo shirt with his double-layer cutaway collared version.
And now he’s moved into full-on haberdashery-ing with suits, shoes, watches and even a trench coat—all just recently landed in his webshop. And you can expect the same attention to detail (and affordability) that gained him the adoration of bloggers worldwide. The suits: full-canvas construction, handmade buttonholes and pick-stitching by hand. The shoes: bench-grade. The combs: handmade from genuine horn.
Don’t worry, the polo shirts are still there, too.
If your next houseguest weekend happens to be anywhere that bears resemblance to Cape Cod, here’s the weekender bag you should be packing. It’s cut from the national cloth of prepsterdom, Nantucket red, and made in America by the up-and-comers at Hudson Sutler—they’ve got an entire line of rugged 18-ounce canvas weekender and commuter bags that can keep up on land, air and sea (especially because the zippers are made with a thick resin to be rust-proof). The extra design features like gingham or bandana lining and a strategically placed grab handle at one end of the bags set them apart from your average travel bag. (Fitting, since your weekending is far from average.)
Now you’ll need to dig up your matching anchor-embroidered Nantucket red GTH pants.
At this very moment, thousands of weekend road trips are being dreamed up—so it’s a good idea to have a weekender handy. (In fact, you might want to have a dedicated escape bag at the ready.)
We’d suggest something compact enough to discreetly tuck under your desk, and made, if possible, from the same canvas as your vintage Ferrari’s convertible top. Like the Rosso Corsa bag from Bench & Loom, styled after a nautical duffle and handmade by Ferrari fanatics who restore vintage ones in Modena—naturally, making weekender bags seemed like the most appropriate use of the leftover canvas from the convertible tops. (Yes, the leather handles are also Italian.) The result: a bag sturdy enough to withstand the G-force of a hairpin turn and handsome enough to complement the prancing horse.
Though, as you’ve surely noted from our summer must-haves (at left), a vintage roadster of any badge should do.
Here’s another thing that’ll help on your pilgrimage of turkey: a sturdy duffel bag. This one comes from the Quality Mending Co., with white canvas and a surprisingly sharp paramilitary vibe. That means it can take a few kicks and still stand out on a baggage carousel. Just don’t try putting it on wheels.
There are a couple lessons to be gleaned from A Treasury Of’s ode to fall essentials, but lesson #1 comes from that duck canvas jacket. If you thought the chore coat was a workwear relic—and we’ll be honest, we had our doubts—this is the pic that proves you wrong.
Will doesn’t look like he’s on his way to do manual labor here. If anything, the wing collar gives it a ’70s-YSL vibe, which is a pretty good vibe to have these days. And as it happens, duck canvas is a pretty good fall hue.
Lesson #2: while Labor Day is now a distant memory, you’ve probably got another few weeks of life in those white jeans.
These jeans come from the dye-minded Brits at Tender Co., by way of Amsterdam’s Tenue de Nimes—and they’re the best pair we’ve seen all year. Instead of the traditional indigo, they opted for a reddish hue they’re calling “flowerpot,” which should match the season even better. That fabric is 15-ounce duck canvas, the same kind used for tarps and sea bags. Look close and you’ll see tiny streaks from the vat-dyeing process—making each pair one-of-a-kind. And since they don’t want them to get too popular, they’re limiting it to a run of 12.
We’re a big fan of light canvas sneakers in any season, but it’s near-pointless to recommend any particular brand because there are just so many good ones: your Chucks, your Jack Purcells, your endless parade of plimsolls. As long as it’s white, canvas and around $50, it’s hard to go wrong.
In that vein, we’d like to draw your attention to one of the more overlooked options, the Tretorn Nylite. It’s been a favorite since the Preppy Handbook days (no, the original Preppy Handbook), and the split-toe construction still looks pretty sharp set against a sea of shell-toes. Just don’t be afraid to get a little dirt on them.
Ladies and gentlemen, the toughest pants in the world. They’re not the perfect stylebut there’s something to be said for brute durability.
They're called firehose pants—no jokes, please—because the fabric is the same canvas you’ll find on the outside of a rubber firehose, weighing in at 11½ ounces per square yard. (To give you some idea, a heavy-duty drop cloth will usually be ten-ounce.) Throw in double-chapping panels down the legs and you’ve got a nigh indestructible pair of pants.
Of course, they're not the perfect style—we’d prefer something a little slimmer at the ankles, for starters—and they're bound to be overkill if your job doesn’t involve blasting holes into things. But if you ever need a pair of pants that can withstand a little underwater drilling, you'll know where to find them.
It’s a canvas embodiment of all the beat-up-on-purpose gear that’s passed across our pages in the past few seasons—and the top half of the rarely-seen khaki trucker tux. Once we get a taste of spring, this kind of rugged, lightweight jacket is going to be the first thing to come out of storage.
Here’s a late-breaking addition to the Must Haves (that little column to the left): a newly arrived zipper coal bag from ACL that just happens to be the perfect beach bag. It’s light, unassuming canvas, easily washable if you get in too much salt, with a zipper across the top to keep out the sand.
It’s simple, but for the occasion, that’s just what's needed. Well played, Mr. Williams.
We’ve got a soft spot for rough canvas bags, but Gant’s newest item brought up one we’d almost forgotten about: the laundry bag. This piece from the Rugger line strips down luggage to its most elemental. That means no structure, no side pockets, just a sack of canvas with a zipper and a strap. It’s not that different from the bags sailors used to haul their gear a few generations back, so it should do just fine outside the laundry room.
We’re guessing there are thousands of road trips currently being concocted, so it’s good to have a weekend bag handy. We recommend something that can take a little punishment and won’t take up too much room in the trunk. If you’ve got some spare loot—and enough of a yen for canvas to make it worthwhile—we recommend this one from Aubin and Wills. You’ll have to pack light, but that might not be such a bad idea anyway.