Our foreign correspondent (and frequent international flyer) David has generously offered his thoughts on the Long Weekend Wardrobe for men, in response to Crofton’s inquiry.
His comments, rock solid and good as gold, are as follows:
Three or two-buttoned navy blue blazer. Travel in it. If you’re in Business or First Class they’ll hang it up for you. If not, ask nicely. They might oblige. Use the blazer for the fine dining event.
Travel in chinos and perhaps an OCBD, pale blue, Bengal stripe, white. I know Byron doesn’t like advertising brands but Mercer’s are hard to beat.
You ‘could’ travel in jeans although I gave up years ago. In any case if you’re shlepping around a city like Rome in the summer jeans will be way out of whack for the temperature.
Shoes: loafers or reasonable condition boat shoes for the actual flight. Loafers or lace-ups for your fine dining. Don’t forget the polish and brush if they’re not suede. For sightseeing I still prefer ‘shoes’ to sneakers/athletic shoes. But that’s a personal choice.
A light pullover in case you’re subjected to aircon a-la-americano.
For fine dining: light charcoal or grey trousers and shoes appropriate to the colour. In other words, some charcoals and greys allow for brown shoes whereas others demand black. White shirt or even one of the others mentioned above. Your blazer.
If you really want to cut a dash and have a nice pair in good condition, wear your blazer, white shirt and a pair of light khaki/stone GTH (Go To Hell) trousers with appropriate slip-on shoes.
Socks: if you don’t already own a pair, try and get hold of the European-type summer socks. The really fine ones are on the Dollar-side but they’re as fine as ladies stockings and great to wear when it’s warm or you’re dining al fresco. You might also add a pocket handkerchief. A nice colourful one.
That’s my tuppence worth.
For the uninitiated, ‘Go To Hell Pants’ are brightly colored pants generally worn with a blue blazer and otherwise conservative ensemble to spice up an man’s outfit. A favorite of the yacht-y and hard-core prep set, they are a fun option for the appropriate occasion. I’m guessing the term originates from being in a financial position secure enough to wear the pants and tell anyone who has a problem with them to, yes, go to hell. So we’re going to go out on a limb and advise that you don’t wear them to your boss’s anniversary party.
Below, a photo from the Ivy Style website, showing a group of young men working The Full Dante.
And David is absolutely right to pair them with slip-ons.
For the ladies, David also provided an interesting link to an article about why French women stay so slim (and healthy) while living in the midst of some of the richest (in terms of saturated fats) and most delicious food in the world. You can link to it HERE.
Written by a French woman living in Paris, author Leonce Chenal details 10 factors that contribute to the overall good health that Parisian women seem to enjoy. Having lived in Paris for the past four years, I can attest to the validity of each one of these. I think I’ve even mentioned similar observations on this blog in the past.
And they don’t just apply to women: Paris is a walking city for everyone, and French restaurants (when they’re open) consistently served smaller portions than American restaurants. Sometimes, to an American like me, this is irritating, especially at French menu prices–“Is there a shortage on the fries?”–but it has its advantages. I’ve learned to appreciate the flavor of a dish, and take my time enjoying it, even if I sometimes feel like I could have eaten more.
Regarding Katherine’s inquiry into quality walking shoes for women, I’m obviously at a disadvantage here, but Mephisto has a reputation here for crafting solid shoes for women and selling them at reasonable prices. (Please offer experiences if I am off base on this, or if anyone knows of quality brands that work well.)
HERE is a link to their Chris model in black, tres Parisienne. Interestingly, I found this shoe for sale on a French-language website, and not on the US website.
Years ago, Mommy Dearest picked up a pair of brown suede Ferragamo lace-up ankle boots with rubber soles that she wore religiously while vacationing throughout Europe in the late 1990s. I have no idea if the company still makes these, but they served her quite well in terms of style and function.
Tod’s may now offer something similar, with their winter Gommino boots, or their year-round Timeless model ankle boots. But be prepared to pay a price.
Carmina is a Spanish shoemaker with a shop here in Paris, handcrafting footwear for men and women. They are well-known for their solid construction and sturdy heels, so yes, you could definitely wear these with socks. Below are a pair of elegant, bold, but hardly delicate lace-ups you might consider. I passed their shop window today (between the Opera & the Louvre). I think these are priced at about 345 euros.
As a not-very-Old Money person once said, “Anyone who tells you money can’t buy happiness just doesn’t know where to shop.”
All we have to do is get through this virus, and get back out into the world once the coast is clear. So stay safe & well, and if you’re shopping brings you to Paris, let me know. We’ll have a coffee and a croissant.
Thank you very much, David. And have a great week, everyone.