by TYLER HAMPTON
Springtime in the South is off to the races! Whether you’ll be attending Keeneland’s Spring Meet races, keeping it local at Queen’s Cup, or going all out at The Derby, there are countless opportunities to don your best colorful ensemble. You may see some wild, ridiculous looking outfits at the races, but not to worry; I’m here to help you avoid that catastrophic offense!
For the ladies, it’s all about the hats. For the men, however, the jacket is king. Several factors will play into whether a particular coat is proper for the occasion: fabric composition, internal construction and tailoring, pattern, and color all play a role. My personal favorite fabric composition for the spring and summer months is a blend of cashmere, silk, and linen. The cashmere provides an exceptional softness, the silk ensures a proper drape while remaining lightweight, and the linen allows for incredible breathability. I know you’re probably thinking “cashmere, in the summer?!” Absolutely… cashmere is actually a temperature-regulating wool that’s incredibly lightweight but provides warmth when needed. Plus, when used as a spring-summer sportcoat fabric, it’s not the lofty cashmere you may be imagining. In terms of internal construction and tailoring, the more handwork a jacket has in it, the softer and lighter it will feel. Nothing feels as great as Neapolitan tailoring on the shoulders! Lastly, pattern and color are equally important. Don’t be afraid to go bold here for these occasions… but do so tastefully. This spring, the colors to wear will be oranges, purples, and aquamarines. These are all great colors to wear, and super versatile for other occasions.
When it comes to styling these jackets, I always like to add details you won’t see on most others. Hacking pockets, which originated for ease of access while mounted on a horse, are a staple on any jacket I may wear to a horse race. They are angled instead of being cut straight across, and this gives a distinguished look seen generally only on custom coats. Fun linings, coordinating buttons, and different lapel styles are also great customization options when considering your new go-to spring jacket. When designing the inventory for my store, I add several of these features to many of our ready-to-wear jackets, so if custom isn’t an option but you’d still like to look the part, we have you covered!
Perhaps the most important part of your outfit is complementing that of your date. Truly matching is a bit much and lacks individuality; complementing is perfection. This should be achieved throughout the entire outfit, and not just the accessories. I have guys come into the store often looking for ties to match dresses their wives are wearing, but the ties won’t necessarily go with the suit or coat they’re wearing. It’s a noble and appreciated effort, but we want to make sure you look tasteful and knowledgeable in your efforts.
Spring style is a great opportunity to break out of your comfort zone and add something you may not normally consider. The colors are versatile, fabrics are purposeful, and the best part is you’ll show that you know what you’re doing as opposed to looking like you’re rushing a fraternity in the boring old navy blazer and khakis. Stop by Hampton’s sometime and we’ll be happy to help you assemble your ideal spring and race-ready wardrobe… you don’t want to look careless when cashing in the big ticket!
If you have any questions or a topic you’d like to see addressed, please feel free to contact me at Tyler@HamptonsMens.com