Q I seem to find myself wearing the same clothes year-round. Any ideas how can I alter my wardrobe for these last couple of weeks of summer?
A: Men always complain about the restrictions placed on them, the limits and the sameness of their wardrobes. Yet they overlook many of the distinctive, small touches that are only appropriate in summer.
Even men who recognize the warmth and flattery of a snap-brim fedora in winter, seem to forgo a straw hat in summer. Besides keeping you shaded and cool, it adds crispness and -- to a wilted outfit. For the jaunty dresser, a classic straw "boater" -- the flat-topped straw hat popular when Granddad was a boy -- has a timeless grace.
Shoes, too, may be slightly more relaxed in summer. Wing tips often give way to tasseled loafers, and instead of brown suede, the fashion-aware may sport a pair of toasty-brown woven leather slip-ons.
To change a navy blazer during summer months, substitute snappy white pearl buttons for those seen-everywhere brass buttons. On warm weather weekends, colorful blazers abound: Jackets in cotton Oxford cloth (the familiar shirting fabric) appear in blue, pink, even yellow; narrow striped seersuckers and awning-striped cottons are reminiscent of turn-of-the-century musicals;green linen is occasionally seen, especially in golfing circles.
Usually-quiet dressers -- men who would not be caught dead in such colors the rest of the year -- show up at restaurants, country clubs, and Sunday afternoon parties looking quite splendid.
Another choice is beige silk tweed. Dressier than cotton, it looks great with pastel shirts, with or without a tie. It goes with most dark trousers: navy, brown, or black. It is terrific with lightweight wool or linen pants in taupe.
My own favorite jacket for a summer party is white wool -- either single- or double-breasted. With a great summer tan, what a way to stand out!
Send your questions or comments to Lois Fenton, Today in Style, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278. Ms. Fenton welcomes questions about men's dress or grooming for use in this column but regrets she cannot answer mail personally.
Ms. Fenton, the author of "Dress for Excellence" (Rawson Associates, $19.95), conducts wardrobe seminars for Fortune 500 companies around the country.