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Classic Hamptons Fashion And Manners

Originally Posted: September 22, 2009

Douglas MacKaye Harrington

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This writer longs for the return of the seersucker jacket on men strolling along Main Street. Images courtesy of Google Images

New York City - My fashion de rigueur can pretty much be summed up in two words - Brooks Brothers, particularly in the spring and summer. I am a traditionalist and, if I may be so bold as to mix metaphors, I am proud to be well mannered in my attire. Allow me to elaborate.

I first started coming to the Hamptons in 1969, that is four decades ago if anyone is counting. I am indeed a member of the Woodstock generation and at Woodstock I am sure I was probably wearing a pair of jeans, hibachis and a faded tee-shirt. At Yasgur's Farm that is about as fashion mannered as anyone had to be, it was a farm after all. The Hamptons, in my opinion, are an entirely different story.

Whereas once good taste was the rule on the streets of America's most iconic summer resort community, it is now the exception to the rule. Walking down Jobs Lane in Southampton recently on a cool, late summer afternoon I counted a total of only three blue blazers and one of them was mine. I stopped counting tee-shirts at number 100 and, sadly, about a dozen of them were nothing more than undershirts. Gentlemen, although you may have paid $75 for that designer tee-shirt, it is still a tee-shirt.

Live dangerously - sport a white Panama hat.

Shorts and bathing suits were the rule for the most part, along with jeans and, heaven help us all, a few pairs of spandex bicycle pants. Guys do us all a favor, ride the beautiful back roads of our gorgeous villages, don't ride into town for your mocha latte and subject us to your all too well defined buttocks as we stroll behind you on Main Street.

Getting real specific on the manners front, how about showing respect for the venue. I am talking about appropriate clothes for the appropriate setting. Why would anyone wear the same clothes they wear to the gym to a restaurant for an evening of fine dining? East End restaurateurs spend millions to create the exquisite dining palaces that populate the South Fork. Show them the respect they deserve by dressing for dinner at least a tad better than you would for a sporting event. Save the Official MLB Yankee tee-shirt for the game, not for the American Hotel. Even more outrageous than that, in recent years I have seen sweatshirts and shorts at funerals and Sunday church services.

Classic double-breasted blue blazer by Brooks Brothers. Images courtesy of Brooks Brothers.com.


I am sure I am coming off like a pompous, antiquated traditionalist, but I long to see white Panama hats and seersucker jackets on Main Street again, rather than reversed baseball caps and muscle shirts. And guys, make your mother proud, take your hats, baseball, Panama or otherwise off when you walk into a dinning room. I am not saying a necktie in summer, but how about a Brooks Brothers navy blazer, Lacoste pink polo and a pair of Ralph Lauren chinos. I wonder why any gentlemen would like to be underdressed compared to the busboy when dining out on a Saturday night? Do you really think this endears you to your wife, partner or girlfriend?

Yes, I used a degree of exaggeration to make my point, many Hampton men still dress with style, taste and manners, but believe me our numbers are dwindling. There is a classic Hamptons style and let us revive it before it becomes extinct, let us pass it along to our sons and grandsons. Along with table manners, let's teach them the manners of proper attire and respect for traditions, like the proper dress for the proper occasion. For years there was a distinct look to the Hamptons, some might consider it boring, others color outlandish; I consider it classic and in turn timeless. I consider it a unique Hamptons fashion identity that I hope doesn't disappear with my generation.

What about trying a polo or knit shirt with white slacks, rather than a tee-shirt?

Here is an idea my lads, it is the end of summer and many of the Hamptons' finer mens stores are having post Labor Day sales on their summer lines. Walk past the tee-shirts and shorts and pick up some slacks (take a chance, go for at least one pair of plaid), a blazer or two (I, of course, suggest navy and seersucker) and shirts that actually have collars (pink, white, yellow and turquoise are musts). Lose the flip-flops and sneakers and buy yourself some Sperry Topsiders and a pair of white bucks. Ready to go the whole nine yards, find yourself a white linen suit and a Panama hat. Be a real man, wear an ascot.

There are bargains to be found from Ralph Lauren to Calvin Klein to Tommy Hilfiger and at some independent men's boutiques as well. Although my closet is pretty well stocked, you will find me next week at Brooks Brothers in Southampton. This iconic American label is offering a nationwide, storewide 30 percent discount on all purchases as part of their "Friends & Family" sale from Thursday through Tuesday, Sept. 24 through Sept. 29.

Buy them now and put the clothes away until next summer, they won't go out of style because they are classics that are truly timeless. It is a Hamptons style and identity we can call our own. Say it now, say it loud, I am a Hamptonian and my seersucker suit says I'm proud! And guys, don't forget the pocket squares.


Frequently mistaken for the "Most Interesting Man in the World" from the Dos Equis commercials and the iconic gray-bearded Sean Connery, DMH is the Senior Contributing Editor at Hamptons.com. www.hamptons.com Hamptons HamptonsOnline HamptonsOnline




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Guest (Robert Bumpas) from Little Rock,Arkansas says::
I absolutely agree
Oct 9, 2009 11:17 pm

 

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