Last weekend, on a long, multi-destination date, I walked around Chicago on an 86-degree evening, thinking I’d be just fine, because my coat was featherweight and unlined.
I was not fine. Not at all. Any style points the jacket was earning me were lost with my increasing haggardness, decreasingly elevated hair and general stickiness.
So here’s a proclamation: unless I’m taking a cab to a well-air-conditioned event, I’m not cosigning on this bullshit anymore. Join me or not.
This doesn’t include the legions out there whose company dress codes require suits. You poor, poor bastards. There’s nothing I can do for you. But if you’re doing this simply to look good or hoping to show up on a street style blog, think long and hard about whether the juice is worth the squeeze, and think about the last time you felt street-style-blog-worthy a half hour into an 85-degree day.
“But wait,” you protest, “there are lightweight fabrics like seersucker and linen that ‘keep me cooler.’ It even said so in the product description, and guys on porches sipping sweet tea wear this stuff all the time.” Your point is well taken. Of course that’ll be better than wearing tweed or flannel. But “keeping you cool” is not something any additional piece of clothing is ever going to do. The laws of thermodynamics dictate that if you put another thing on, you’ll be hotter. And most July and August days, it’s hard enough keeping cool in a tee and shorts (weekend) or a sleeves-rolled button-down and tropical-weight trousers (week).
I say all this not as some bastion of logic, because I once bought a seersucker Ludlow jacket... that was fully lined. What the hell? And make no mistake, I have not foolishly impulse-purchased my last irresistible linen coat. I’ll probably ignore the substance of this rant four or more times this summer. But I need to acknowledge that, in doing so, I’m being a fool.
I’m also not saying we’ve got carte blanche to completely abandon our sartorial principles. We still need to fight the good fight and make the effort to look better than everyone else. I’m only saying, let’s lose the jackets.
All that said, damn there are some good-looking ones out there, the temptation is sometimes too great to resist, there’s the occasional cool evening, and it’s not always so annoying to just flip it over your shoulder (although, why have it then?). So if you insist on being stubborn and plowing ahead as a fashion slave, here are
A modified version of this story was originally published June 30, 2016.