Every year, we eagerly anticipate the arrival of Spring. Bring out the lighter fabrics, tropical colors, and vibrant patterns! In South Texas, that may come a little earlier for us than most other places in the U.S. Some of the most unique American traditions happen at this time of year, and each of them calls for special dress for the gentleman.
March - Spring Break & Formal Resort Attire
Spring break has taken on a tenor of it’s own. Just mention places like Panama City or South Padre Island and it conjures up images of drunken fratty shenanigans. We’re talking a more genteel, refined and mature spring break. Think Sea Island, Georgia or Naples, Florida.
Enter the category of “Formal Resort Attire.” Once you reach a certain stage of life, you might want to consider leaving behind the cargo shorts, funny tees and flip flops when you book a stay at a resort. There are certain destinations that call for an elevated level of respect in dress. If you booked a stay at a Disney World resort, you can ignore this. If you booked a stay at Mackinac Island's Grand Hotel,where there are dress codes, then pay close attention.
Formal resort attire is intended for tropical or warm weather locations. You might argue “But I’m on vacation! Why do I need to follow these rules?” The dress code is for your comfort and the comfort of others, so that no one feels over or under-dressed. There really are no particular “rules” to follow, so instead follow these basic guidelines:
Linen and Madras are popular fabrics all-around, whereas Seersucker is uniquely identified with Southern culture. For pants, think khakis and cotton chinos. For shirts, think linen and polos. With performance tech fabrics, golf polos and well-cut fishing shirts can look sharp in place of a traditional button-up shirt. Shoes really set the tone for the “summery” look with driving moccasins, loafers or other type of deck shoe conveying a sense of clean & casual.
If you need to dress up in a suit for dinner, consider a patterned or textured summer blazer, or a light sports coat. Dress suits are usually as formal as it gets for cruises and resorts (unless otherwise specified) and sometimes a dress shirt and nice slacks are enough. Just do your due research and check out the resort website before you pack.
April - PGA Masters & Golf Attire
At the time of writing this blog post, Sergio Garcia just won the 2017 Masters - Congratulations! We’ve got golf on the mind, we’ve been busy hitting the links and even were a local sponsor for an area Golf Tournament (the first of many!). Part of why we love golf is for the attire - it’s often bright, casual, and at the same time looks smart.
Golf attire is part of the decorum of the game, but you don’t have to be as restrictive as Augusta National. Think function first, style second. Comfort, etiquette and ease of movement are just as important as how you look out there on the green.
Though we tip our hat to the great icon that is John Daly, a good rule of thumb is that you should have only one garment in your golfing getup that is brightly colored. On the other hand you also should avoid monotone combinations - that’s just plain boring.
Always pair with a belt. Even John Daly wears a belt. A belt, among other things, indicates a finesse and attention to detail that characterizes golf above many other recreational sports.
You never know if the weather may change when you’re out on the green. 11 holes in, and suddenly the sun comes out in all it’s glory. That’s why you wear layers. Smart people wear layers.
Shirts should be collared and tucked in. Again, it’s about the class & attention to detail. Popular fabrics are light and breathable, so try cotton, microfiber, polyester or a new smart tec-material recently invented by Elon Musk that makes your game as good as Tiger’s. Just kidding. Let us know when he invents that though... In the mean time, why don't you pick up one or our polos by Southern Marsh, available in bright tropical tones & have a cool moisture wicking fabric.
Shorts & pants are a little more restrictive. Shorts should extend to the knee. None of this “chubbies” business on the green. If you choose to wear pants instead of shorts, make sure there aren’t any cuffs as they can collect dirt, grass, and the occasional gopher. Cotton is a popular material for most golfing shorts or pants, and it’s a nice bonus if you have something water-resistant. Want to have some fun like John Daly? Wear some preppy go to hell pants. Jeans are of course prohibited and workout, running or basketball shorts are in poor taste.
Footwear is considered part of the game’s equipment, so when you short on this, it’s tres gauche. Proper golf shoes help establish a player’s swing and they protect the green; it’s a sign of respect. Nowadays, golf shoes can look as cool as your regular athletic shoes. Just make sure they’re comfortable, durable and suit your style. Courses will sometimes allow sneakers or athletic shoes, but choosing this route lacks a refinement and purpose.
We top it all off with hats. These aren’t as specific in golf course dress codes, and if you look at the pros you’ll see that most baseball caps or visors are popular for both genders. You can also use hats as a way to stand out a bit and be different. Consider a straw hat like a panama, or maybe tap into your inner Scot with a pageboy cap. Just don’t go too crazy as sombreros, cowboy hats, fedoras, or other gag hats (like those horrible visors with the Guy Fieri hair) are generally frowned upon.
May - Kentucky Derby & Race Day Attire
So at least we’re publishing this post in time for you to be well attired for the Kentucky Derby!
The Kentucky Derby provides a splendid excuse for men to get as dressed up and decked out as the ladies. Think colors, seersucker, bow ties, southern drawls, and mint juleps. The most important thing to remember, gentlemen, is you must be confident about your Derby outfit. We rarely dress up in such vibrant colors, and some men may feel somewhat foolish strutting around in pink or seersucker. No matter what you wear, the secret is in how you wear it.
The modern gentleman at the Derby must truly embrace a wide color palette if you truly want to fit in. From light pastels to sun-drenched tropical hues, men of the South are all-color inclusive. And these colors show up in any number of designs, like bold stripes, subtle seersucker lines, a busy plaid, or a solid electric statement color. The more polished looks perfectly balance the bright enthusiasm of color with conservative style. Tone down your coral-colored dress pants with a classic navy or chalk stripe blazer. We recommend 3-buttons for a more polished look.
A great dress shirt in a complementary color will go a long way. This is the one day of the year that more is better. Feeling bold? Consider mixing patterns such as gingham or stripes - but be careful! If you don’t have an eye for it, you can easily end up looking like a bad 80’s music video.
Now for the best part - the tie. Most gentlemen wear a necktie, but we’re especially partial to bow ties. Bethune & Son has a great selection by High Cotton Ties. Following our same theme, keep the colors and themes on the tie light, playful and in the spirit of Derby festivities.
If you want to go the extra mile, join the ladies and finish things off with a great hat. A fedora or bowler hat are Derby classics. Men’s hats are generally solid in color and look like they came out of a 1920’s gentlemen’s haberdashery.
Nota Bene: We wanted to include hunting attire in this section on specialty dress codes, but when we started compiling content - it was too much! Hunting is such a huge part of the South Texas lifestyle, that it deserves a post all on it’s own. I guess our 9-part series just became a 10-part series. Look for our hunting attire post in late Summer.
Penny for our thoughts...
The Bethune & Son blog captures the lifestyle of the South Texas gentleman. From men's clothing, to recreations, food and values - this blog tells you all you need to know about being a Bethune & Son gentleman.