How to Sport a Transitional Wardrobe

PHOTO: transitional wardrobe

Summer is not over, at least we keep saying this, fully ignoring the fact that Labor Day is right around the corner. But as we make our way into September (arguably one of the nicest months for weather in Chicago) and the temperature transitions from scorching hot to slightly cool, our wardrobe also transitions. This requires a few tweaks and additions to stay comfortable, fashionable and professional. The fundamental pieces to making this transition are the sport coat and blazer.

Many office environments become more casual in the summer, so once September hits, getting back to business professional is key.  When you’re not quite ready to put away the light-colored slacks and vibrant, summery blues, simply adding a sport coat is an easy way to transition into the new season. Plus, a classic navy blazer or plaid sport coat can sharpen and polish a casual shirt and slacks. If you are heading out for a night on the town after work, adding a sport coat provides a little bit of warmth in addition to dressing up your evening.

So when deciding between the sport coat and blazer for a night out, you may ask: What are the main distinctions between the two?

The blazer, traditionally sewn with patch pockets and gold buttons, is normally a solid color (navy blue being the most popular). The sport coat is oftentimes made of heavier, patterned material that originally paired well with men’s sporting events, like a fox hunt. Both are acceptable for dressing up casual slacks, jeans or khakis.

Eventually, we’ll need to pull out those wool suits for winter (and we should be planning for them now!). But until then, get the most out of your warm-weather wardrobe by using the sport coat and blazer like a pro.

Sonny BalaniHow to Sport a Transitional Wardrobe
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Survival of the Fitted

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To truly understand fashion today, you must look back to see how it has evolved over time.   Like Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, what’s deemed fashionable in men’s clothing has significantly changed over the last century.  War, economic instability, and social behavior considerably influenced men’s fashion from 1900 to 1950.   From tailcoats to zoot suits, this survival of the fittest approach has drastically changed the face of men’s fashion with each new decade.

In the 1900’s, men discarded the knee-length frock coat for the shorter, hip-length, single-breasted sack coat.  Typically paired with cuffed trousers and curled mustaches, this fashion trend marked the beginning of a new era.

With the end of World War I, the roaring 20’s brought a less conservative approach to fashion.   Inspired by military uniforms, men abandoned long suit jackets for colorful, high-waist jackets with narrower lapels.  To finish off the look, men sported wingtip shoes and top hats.

After the stock market crashed in 1929, the state of the economy collapsed, drastically transforming the production and style of menswear.  At the time, double-breasted suits, full-cut trousers and fedoras were staples in men’s fashion. Manufacturers tried to cut down production costs, by incorporating man-made fibers like rayon, into fabrics and limiting color variety.

Following WWII, the government placed restrictions on the use of wool.  Ultimately, this affected style trends throughout the 1940’s and 1950’s.  Men began dressing conservatively and often wore dark colors.  Flannel replaced light-weight fabric, and single-breasted suits with tapered trousers were paired with fedoras, pocket-squares, and skinny ties.

With less conservatism, more variety, and advancements in manufacturing men’s fashion has substantially evolved over time.   Like all things, what’s considered fashionable is cyclical.  Next month, find out how fashion trends from our past shaped the styles over the next 50 years.

Sonny BalaniSurvival of the Fitted
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