The 113th US Open went off this weekend, and it had us pining for the glory days of golf fashion. Back when the hair was feathered, the caps were newsboy and the prints were bold.
The ostentatious culture peaked around the time of Caddyshack, but thankfully, some pieces have remained steadfast. Most notably, madras.
The fabric is lightweight, easy to maintain and stays sharp when traditional suiting would fold under wrinkle-inducing humidity. So versatile, you can pretty much find any garment rocking its signature tartans. Hence, we went ahead and found all the gear necessary to don you from head to toe.
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We’re particularly taken with the elegant rumple in the arms of the jackets, or the generous break in the pants—touches you don’t see much in the cropped and pressed stateside styles. It’s a more restrained, raffish kind of style, and there aren’t too many places you can find it in the U.S. just yet. But there’s always London…or the internet.
As soon as we see short sleeves, we start to think about madras ties. They’re one of the few preppy staples that’s risen above trendiness—thanks in part to being lighter and more colorful than anything else you might think of wrapping around your neck come June.
The latest three examples come from a globe-trotting collab between Opening Ceremony, Hong Kong’s Lane Crawford and Band of Outsiders. The square-end makes things a little bit more blue-collar, but otherwise they wouldn’t be out of place at a Newport garden party, or the Hong Kong equivalent. (For proof, here’s Chinese model Godfrey Tsao showing one off at the release party.) If he were feeling particularly daring, Godfrey might even tie it long and leave it tucked into his belt…but that’s between him and his bedroom mirror.
Madras might be the perfect summer fabric—lighter than regular cotton, not as wrinkly as linen or seersucker—but the eye-popping plaid can make it hard to pull off outside of the clambake circuit. Unless of course, you can find a non-plaid version…like this one from Gitman Vintage.
The key point: Madras is a fabric, not a pattern, so this is every bit as authentic as the bleeding variety—it just looks a little different. As for the new pattern, it's definitely Gekko-era, but we bet it looks pretty good over swim trunks.
You’ve already seen a lot of short sleeved button-ups, on Kempt and elsewhere. Just a hunch, but we’re guessing that you’re finally warming up to the notion. If it’s all the same to you, we’d rather skip all of the do’s & don’ts and point you to a shirt that should do the trick: LL Bean Signature’s madras s/s/b/u.
It’s plenty lightweight, cut from cotton madras—which should give you all of the benefits of a fabric historically known for being ideal attire in less-than-ideal heat, without having to deal with its more polarizing iteration, GTH patchwork. And there’s no need to quibble over sleeve-length because the sleeve has been cuffed at the hem and sewn in place—the imposed cuff. It’s another example of the no-fuss staples that LL Bean's known for.