Summer is inching closer towards its end. For some, this is a joyous occasion as it indicates that Fall, my favourite season, is approaching. Additionally, one celebratory feature of a season’s close is, evidently, the End-of-Season sale. And some websites worth browsing are FarFetch, Barneys New York, Yoox and Saks Fifth Avenue. What these e-commerce retailers have in common is the occasional sale-on-sale code that really enables for deep discounts.
I usually use this opportunity to acquire garments that are unique, one-of, experimental and heavily discounted. The challenge to this is seeking a garment that may not be worn frequently but can pass the test of times, such that you can wear it for years to come. What I come to discover is that bolder prints or patterns often fall into this category and two louder prints I urge you to consider are madras and floral.
Most will be familiar with what a floral print looks like but madras? Not as common unfortunately. Madras, originating from a city in India, is a colourful plaid-like design that is used on a variety of garment types. Quickly adopted by rich baby boomers in the 1960s to establish social standing, madras has a slight preppy connotation to it and brands, such as Ralph Lauren, still make madras pattern garments today.
Most floral and madras fabrics are quite different from one another and it’s boldness can range from stylishly subtle to Ronald McDonald ridiculous. This is why I highly recommend reserving these patterns solely for shirts as they are easier to wear, pair and flair well with most existing wardrobes.
What I like about these patterns that’s often overlooked, is how easy it is to wear it casually. Its a kind of garment that requires very little thought to put on. A pairing that I have come to enjoy with these shirts is wearing them with a pair of dark denim jeans or linen pants and loafers. I can also see them looking great with navy shorts and khaki/olive chinos. However bare in mind, for the latter, a lighter coloured shirt will produce a less notable contrast that is not always ideal.
This yellow floral shirt was purchased from Zara nearly 5 years ago. It’s quite tight now and the material isn’t of the greatest quality, but, in regards to details and pattern, the shirt does not appear dated or influent with todays dress code. With loud/bold patterns, it can be challenging to observe a garment and determine if it will be relevant or wearable in the proceeding years. It requires some form of logical foresight and, more importantly, referential experience. Ultimately, remember that clothing, dressing or building your personal style is a journey/learning process that takes time, practice, education and, unfortunately, money. So don’t beat yourself over if you felt that you wasted money purchasing something that you no longer wear now. Trust me, we have all been there.
Back to the post’s topic, on hot summer days, specifically with a humidity such as Singapore’s, you don’t really need to wear a jacket. However, if you feel compelled to, I personally prefer wearing a jacket over a madras than a floral shirt. Floral shirts, especially this colourful one, tend to be bolder and often overwhelms the jacket. On the other hand, due to the blend of darker and lighter colours, a madras is more often subdued. They both though, look great without a jacket, which is occasionally great to focus on considering how repulsive a tailored jacket can seem in the heat.
Some sale shirts I recommend are by my favourite Toronto brand, Spier & Mackay. For those who mainly follow me on Instagram will be familiar with my love and support I have for this classical menswear brand. Most of their Summer shirts are on sale right now and they have some extremely interesting floral, like this, and madras ones, like this.
Bare in mind, some of their fabrics, particularly the madras, are available at a custom fit for $59.99. An incredible steal if you ask me. In fact, they still have the madras fabric I am wearing above. For those who are hesitant on Made-to-Measure, fear not as you can input your favourite shirt measurements into your profile, which I did and turned out exceptionally well.
I am quite familiar with Spier & Mackay’s custom process and if anyone of you have further questions about the brand, please feel free to drop me an email. I am aware that this may seem like an advertised post (trust me it isn’t) so, to offset this perception, here are two other beautiful floral shirts at higher price points for your consideration, Xacus and Paul Smith.
Thanks for reading, cheers.
(Images from Spier & Mackay, Ralph Lauren, MenFashionHub & Pinterest)