September has finally arrived and so has the first wave of fall products. Banana Republic has started stocking their flannel pants and J. Crew is advertising their latest trenchcoat model. However, being a Southern California Native, I am still feeling the effects of the 90F+ heat. That’s why I finally decided to bite the bullet and buy two things I should’ve had since June: the white espadrille and the rayon Hawaiian Shirt.
Espadrilles have been around for a long time. They have a Spanish origin and are flat, casual shoes with a rope sole and a (usually) canvas upper. While the espadrille (and similar designs) have exploded into popularity thanks to Tom’s (which aren’t true espadrilles mind you), this shoe actually first rose in the USA in the 1940s. You can look at some Laurence Fellows illustrations and see the 1930s-40s variant, with laces that wrap around the ankle. It was a staple for vintage beach and vacation wear!
I purchased mine from Espadrillestore.com after a recommendation from a friend. They boast their “made in Spain” origin along with a traditional method of crafting the shoe. When I bought them, they were 40% off all orders, so it came out pretty cheap. I purchased the plain ivory esapadrille; they do make the ankle-tie models, but that’s a bit weird for me!
My shoe size is a 7E (short and wide) with a narrow heel and Espadrille Store.com only makes half sizes in a predetermined width. My friend told me just to get a 7.5 and that’s what I did. The fit is okay, but I feel that my narrow heel slips out just a bit if I keep walking. They’re comfortable with just a bit of snugness on my toe box. I’ve never worn Tom’s or any other espadrille type shoe besides loafers, so I’m not sure if this is natural. The color is fantastic though!
The Hawaiian Shirt
After reading blog posts from Put This On and Die Workwear about the resurgence of the Hawaiian shirt, I decided to buy a couple of shirts myself. For those of you who don’t know about the vintage scene, these shirts (true vintage ones from the 1930s-1960s) are some of the most coveted and expensive items you’ll find on eBay. This is because these ones are not like the Tommy Bahama ones at the outlet or the tourist trash ones from Walmart. Vintage Hawaiian shirts are made of silk or rayon, which is infinitely better than the aforementioned trash ones which are usually made of cotton or polyester. Vintage designs are also much better and “fashionable” boasting cooling prints and a much better collar. Just compare the following two Hawaiian shirts: vintage and Tommy Bahama.
J. Crew makes some pretty cool ones, but they have normal shirt collars which I think ruins the “vintage vacation” aesthetic that comes with a true Hawaiian shirt. When it came to buy my own, I went with the company that PTO and Die Workwear recommended: Two Palms Hawaii. These Hawaiian shirts are made in the US and are a pretty great price if you want one that’s made of rayon and you don’t feel like hunting thrift or vintage stores. The designs are great and they pair well with tailored clothes. Just look at Benjamin Levy from The Armoury:
I followed the advice from my fellow menswear blogs and went with my true size: small.
A tucked in short sleeve shirt? Reminds me of the 1950’s and rockabilly fashion. Since my shirt was so saturated with color I went with my trusty grey chinos. This helps ground the outfit. It also provides a nice visual contrast from the legs to the off-white espadrilles. Even though grey can be seen as formal color, it can be quite casual when made in cotton and used with the right pieces! Just remember that fit is important even if its casual wear. There’s nothing cooler than going tailored casual. That’s how gentlemen did it in the 1930s.
The shirt (size small) isn’t super baggy but its not too fitted either. I’m also not to keen on the pretty large sleeves. I may take this shirt to the tailor and get it taken in a bit and get the sleeves shortened! Short sleeve shirts are all about having a nice figure and when they’re too big, they can make you look pretty bad! You really don’t want increase negative connotations when you’re wearing a hawaiian shirt, since the piece is already associated with some pretty bad outfits. Read my old article on a similar look, if you want to know why most guys have strayed away from short sleeve shirts in general.
To add a layering component to this outfit, I took a page from that short sleeve shirt article and also donned a DB in a casual, summer fabric. This one is a khaki cotton DB sportcoat from Suit Supply, which boasts two patch pockets and large peak lapels. The khaki is a natural color to add to a summer palette and the DB nature make it a statement piece.
As I said in that previous article, most guys automatically assume that double breasted jackets and peak lapels are only reserved for “super formal suits”. If you look at the 1930s and 1940s, that’s completely untrue as DBs made from linen, cotton, and palm beach were quite common. Just look at this man wearing his double breasted grey suit with a polo shirt (bottom left).
Here are the espadrilles, in their clean glory. Note that they are very snug on my foot and that my heel is a bit awkwardly placed. These are a 7.5 and I wear a 7E. I’m afraid that the 7 will be too narrow for my wide foot and that an 8 would be too long! I hope that these espadrilles will conform to my foot, but I’m afraid that nothing will help my narrow heel.
Cotton DB from Suit Supply, Hawaiian shirt from Two Palms, Grey Aiden fit Chinos from BR, Ivory Shoes from Espadrille.com
While these pieces are great, they will take some getting used to. I really hope to get my two Hawaiian shirts tailored (I also purchased a red one), as I tend to seldom wear shirts that are ill fitting. With that said, I really love the color and pattern on these shirts as they aren’t the typical ones you see at the beach or on vacation!
Let me know what you think of these purchases by commenting below! Are you a fan of espadrilles? Do you think that Hawaiian shirts can be pulled off? Comment away.
Always a pleasure,
Street x Sprezza
Photography by Spencer O.