Back in 1976, Tom Wolfe labeled the garish pants and patterns of East Coast island vacationers as "go-to-hell". The term stuck. Decades later on the brink of warm weather, we've rounded up the 7 most important fabrics that you absolutely need to wear this spring (if you need people to hate you for dressing like a hero.) They are the epitome of spring fever — call 'em the "eff-you" fabrics, 'cause they tell the weary winter to go screw.
These are their stories:
Produced & sold originally at Murray's Toggery Shop on the eponymous East Coast island, “Nantucket Reds” are entry-level prep uniform worn by DMB fans, Massholes, Southern frat bros, and everyone in between. Inspired by a kind of cotton trouser from Brittany (a region of northwest France), the “dusty rose” color is marketed as “guaranteed to fade”, just like the joy of taking Manhasset to the state semi-finals on the back of your excellent crease play. Do NOT refer to them as “salmon-colored”— purists are very particular that it be called its rightful name.
Popularized by the mods in the '60s, this medium-weight plain-woven fabric is usually made from dyed cotton. It’s actually a kind of seersucker, which means it’s perfect for warm summer nights of chain-smoking on the stoop of your brownstone while debating whether or not higher education should be vocational or academic and have you seen the latest Warby collection? It's, like... okay.
The navy & white striped knitted nautical shirt was originally the uniform for all seamen in Brittany (Encore! Ridiculous fabrics part deux!) in the late 1800s. The impossibly French design originally had 21 stripes (one for each of Napoleon’s victories). It's now indicative of chic Parisian style if you’re from France, or brooding in coffee shops over espresso and inflated self-importance if you’re not.
Once used as Egyptian currency, linen is one of the oldest textiles in the world. Pedigree! Mumsy will be pleased! A suit of the stuff is ideal for sepia-toned family Christmas photos with +/- 3 golden retrievers, taken in late August on your private beach in St. Barts.
A traditional fabric from India, wear this cotton plaid cut to mid-thigh if you're still heartbroken about Preakness Infield (R.I.P. — 2009 was the year
, dude, you don’t even know!) Wear it patchworked if your soul is composed of distressed assets & squash, the sport. Or wear it like Bill Murray
, immune to stereotyping. (It's impossible. Only he can. Don't try it.)
Before this puckered cotton suit was synonymous with gin drinks, horse races, and US Congress
, the fabric arrived in America via Colonialism. Originally, sweaty factory workers favored it, but by the 1920s Ivy Leaguers began wearing it “ironically” and took it “mainstream” for a while, before it became the warm-weather purview of Southern gentlemen. Complete the look with a bow tie because being preppy isn’t a fashion statement, it’s a lifestyle, man.
Wear these lightweight cotton pants with a t-shirt for casual events or a blazer for more formal things, and always with some kind of loafer but never, ever
with socks. The embroidered lobsters, lighthouses, whales, and all other kinds of privilege-implying imagery will affirm to all those girls at the Sloppy Tuna in MTK
that you cheered during Wolf of Wall Street,
and wait, what was your name again? Whatever, take this shot of Fireball!