Dress me in "Summer Chic"
July 10, 2007 9:21 AM   Subscribe

FashionFilter: Help me avoid a fashion faux pas at an event where the attire is described as "Summer Chic." More after the jump.

I am attending a benefit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art this Thursday evening and I am a little unsure what to wear. I just started dating this girl who is a few years older and a bit of a New York socialite, while I am still a lowly undergrad. She is taking me to this Young Members Party which she said is supposed to be the social event of the season.

Basically, I don't want to look too out of place (I'm probably already going to be the only one there without a job, ha!) so what do you recommend for "Summer Chic?" I really only have dark suits and I thought khakis and a blazer would be too casual. Thoughts? Thanks!
posted by adamdrici to Society & Culture (24 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
p.s. I did find this brief blurb through google, but I was hoping for some additional input.
posted by adamdrici at 9:25 AM on July 10, 2007

I'd say a light-colored linen or seersucker suit.
posted by amro at 9:30 AM on July 10, 2007

It depends what do you normally wear? If you can pull the indie-artist-hipster thing, you'll be comfortable in that. Otherwise, I would recommend a very preppy "weekend J. Press" look. This is a NYC socialite event, peppered with $300 jeans and $200 t-shirts, I'd recommend not trying to go Ed Hardy/Entourage hip as it will be very expensive and you can really only wear it once.

Oh, and ask the girlfriend, make sure she's comfortable with what you're wearing.
posted by geoff. at 9:41 AM on July 10, 2007

Gah! I hate this trend of cutesily made-up attire catchphrases.

A linen suit sounds about right. (Something beigish/brownish, though, not bright white. Pair it with a blue shirt, no tie, casual-ish brown shoes. You'll look spiffy!)
posted by thehmsbeagle at 9:41 AM on July 10, 2007

So I'm not going to be able to pull off any kind of darker colored suit is the impression I am getting.

In that case, recommendations on where I can get something appropriate at the last minute, preferably on the cheaper side?
posted by adamdrici at 9:48 AM on July 10, 2007

First of all... JEALOUS. This is going to be one great party. Nice work. Second, linen or seersucker are both strong choices. A summer weight twill in a nice beige or tan color could also work.

New York Social Diary does a good job of chronicling the lives of the species that usually attends Young Friends of the _________ parties. Last years Young Friends of Save Venice (couldn't find the Met cocktails) is here:


Rule of thumb: don't look like you're trying too hard and don't worry about being unemployed. Pretend that you don't actually _need_ to work. They'll understand. ;)
posted by smallstatic at 9:55 AM on July 10, 2007

Sorry - didn't see your second comment re: where. Try Banana Republic for the suit (they have phenomenal sales, if you're lucky) and head over to Bloomingdales and scour the sale racks for a shirt/tie combo. Century 21 is also an option but it can be overwhelming if you don't know what you're looking for.
posted by smallstatic at 10:05 AM on July 10, 2007

smallstatic: after perusing those photos from the Young Friends of Save Venice, do you think similar attire would be appropriate for the one at the MET?

If possible, I would _love_ to not have to buy any clothing for this. Do you think this would be appropriate? With or without a tie?
posted by adamdrici at 10:28 AM on July 10, 2007

Go to H&M and/or Uniqlo.

I suggest shopping like you're going to P Diddy's white party (where they can only wear white - clothing, shoes, accessories). It's a sharp look and easy to pull off. The above posters are right, linen and seersucker would be great. White 2 piece suit, white button down shirt and a white summer weight no sleeve V-neck cardigan if you are so inclined.

Also, regarding undergarments, white will show up, wear nude coloured underwear.
posted by spec80 at 10:29 AM on July 10, 2007

I definitely would not recommend wearing a dark colored suit, or navy blazer. smallstatic is right that if you decide to go with a suit/jacket, you should go with a light twill or linen. But, I don't think you have to wear a jacket. Ask your date if you should wear a jacket, if you aren't sure; it won't demonstrate a lack of savvy to do so. I definitely do not think you need a tie.

A crisp white linen shirt is always summer chic. I think something with a fairly tailored cut would make sure you're not sloppy or woefully underdressed, but even one like this could work.

I'm not one to toss around men's seersucker lightly -- if you're going to wear it, do so with confidence and flair.

Another shopping suggestion, if you really need to both save cash and look stylish, is Syms. But, like Century 21, it helps to have an idea going in of what you are looking for.
posted by pineapple at 10:30 AM on July 10, 2007

Here's a DIY for tailoring your own shirts. You need a friend. Hopefully a friend with a sewing machine. And pins.

Don't wear the dark coloured suit/suit jacket.
posted by spec80 at 10:38 AM on July 10, 2007

A summer-weight plaid fabric kilt.

Everyone's gonna be wearing 'em in five years.

Pair it with a crisp white shirt, open at the collar, and some dressy black shoes.

Definitely not the dark suit. That says "autumn", not "summer".
posted by Greg Nog at 10:43 AM on July 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

pineapple is right on the mark. You don't need a jacket--it will just end up on the back of your chair. Light colors, no dark jackets. A white button-down shirt with darker pants is okay.
posted by misha at 11:07 AM on July 10, 2007

Here are some beginner to intermediate-level suggestions taken from the charming photos of The Sartorialist:

- White pants, grey jacket, cream sweater, loose tie, pale blue dress shirt (pic)
- Pale blue jacket, white shirt, khakis, a certain je ne sais quoi (pic)
- Corduroy (!) jacket, dark blue zip-up, black pants, patent-leather shoes, some sort of hat (pic)
- Dark suit, striped shirt, green sneakers (pic)
- and, a Swede Fonzie (pic)

There's plenty more at The Sartorialist -- check out May, June, and July in the archives. It looks like a dark suit is not entirely out of the question, although you may have to summer-ify it by making it more casual somehow (with your choice of shirt and shoes).
posted by ourobouros at 11:07 AM on July 10, 2007

Oh, I WISH that dark suit could come through for you but unless you work in finance and are "just coming from work" I think you're gonna need to get at least a new pair of light colored suit pants. I saw a lot of dudes rockin the khakis/sports jacket look but it's a little stuffy - esp. for young guys who aren't knockin back the G&Ts at the Greenwich Yacht Club. The good news - that blue shirt! I was going to suggest the DKNY men's line. You could wear that shirt, a springy, festive tie (bring the shirt with you to Bloomies and maybe ask a nice sales girl to help you pick one out - they'll love it), a pair of light weight twill pants in a beigy color and brown shoes and you'll be set. And the only reason I'm suggesting a tie is b/c you're going to need to spice up a combo of plain pants and plain shirt with something. You could go tie less if you added a blazer or tie less if you bought a great summery shirt. (If you go that route, just get a dressy pair of slim khakis from BR and head over to Thomas Pink and grab a shirt in a pastel stripe or box print pattern and you're gtg). Hope this helps.
posted by smallstatic at 11:21 AM on July 10, 2007

Re: whether the YFSV will be similar to the Met, I think your event at the Met - cocktails on the roof was it? - will actually be a bit less dressy. Which usually only means the _women_ will be less dressy. With guys it's pretty much this post work "summer chic" thing or a tux at this time of year. Lucky bastards. ;)
posted by smallstatic at 11:24 AM on July 10, 2007

Go with something like the pale blue jacket entry in ourobouros's comment. Basically light or cream colored pants (if it were outdoors I would strongly recommend linen, but indoors khakis are fine) a white shirt and a nice pastel jacket in whatever color you think is attractive.

Alternatively, have the girlfriend come over about 45 minutes early and have her pick out something from your closet.

Any of the above suggestions (in mine or other comments) can be found at any moderately priced department store like Macy's.

Finally, remember that you will look good if you feel good. So, be confident. You are there with the most desirable woman in the room. You've already got more going for you than 2/3's of the other guys.
posted by oddman at 11:34 AM on July 10, 2007

For discount linen or seersucker suits, try the Daffy's chain, or Ben Freedman's men's outfitters on Orchard between Delancey and Rivington.
posted by boots at 11:38 AM on July 10, 2007

For summer, keep it simple and try to build a look that's light and/or colorful.

First, do you have white pants? If you do, then you've already won. You can wear anything with it (except a shirt in the same shade of white) and you're done. I suggest light colored shirt, brown belt, and brown shoes.

Otherwise, start with a white or light blue dress shirt. For the white shirt, you must wear the khakis -- the dark suit pants will look too formal with the white shirt. For the light blue dress shirt, either pants will do. Since you don't have a light colored jacket, consider adding a tie for some color. You do not want a tie that screams -- pick something in muted tones with just a bit of color. Earthy patterns or dark blue ties with simple pattern is best. For the belt, go with a white nylon belt if you have one (with white shoes, sneakers OK if white and clean) otherwise go brown belt and brown shoes.
posted by junesix at 11:59 AM on July 10, 2007

Here's a decent seersucker jacket on sale for $129 at J. Crew. (I almost bought it and matching pants last year, but they were out of my size.) Check your local store; they can call around if they don't have it in stock. One of the good things about seersucker is there isn't an obvious difference between the really good stuff and the cheaper stuff.
posted by danblaker at 1:18 PM on July 10, 2007

I guess I have a differing opinion: seersucker=hipster is so last year. If you wear a tie, wear a jacket. If you don't wear a jacket, don't wear a tie.

I would recommend a linen Guayabera, no jacket. I see online they have one at Macy's, but I don't like it much. However, go to the right Cuban or Dominican store in NYC, and you should be able to find a very nice one. Pair it with anything but khakis (or seersucker).
posted by Eringatang at 2:50 PM on July 10, 2007

I'm going to buck the conventional wisdom in this thread and say that you can't go wrong with a navy blazer (brass buttons, right?) and khakis.

I think I was at this event a few years ago, but the memory is clouded by the gin and tonics.
posted by ikkyu2 at 5:45 PM on July 10, 2007

it's the met.

light/white linen or seersucker and you will not go wrong. also, wear white bucks.
posted by violetk at 9:54 PM on July 10, 2007

Linen, silk and cotton seersucker are the coolest fabrics, but pure cotton poplin pants in a neutral color would be ok too if the temperature is in the 80's.
posted by brujita at 10:21 PM on July 10, 2007

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