Hey Van, first off – good catch and glad to hear you noticed!
In terms of "ideas" - I've got two words: 'Arnold' and 'Palmer.' Since this week happens to be the Arnold Palmer Invitational, seems like a perfect time to talk golf. But I'm getting ahead of myself. We've never dressed a tour professional for his day job before, but Keith has been a customer and friend off the course for almost a decade... and we've always dug his spirit and enthusiasm (for clothes, cars, records, watches) whenever he was in the shop.
He reached out to us after leaving a big, athletic brand. His observation was that golf-wear (just like office-wear) was getting super casual – think mock collars and hoodies and athletic shoes – and losing some of the tradition and formality of its roots. So it was a new direction for Keith in 2021, and he came out of the gate swinging: "I wanna channel late 60s/early 70s Arnold Palmer, and I wanna go all in." He had no idea that one of my favorite coffee table books happens to be Arnold Palmer: A Personal Journey - it sits in my office - so we were on the same wavelength from the get-go. For inspiration, we pulled pictures of the places Keith would be playing, architectural drawings of the courses, photos of other stylish players like Hogan and Seve, iconic emblems like Arnie's umbrella logo or the red Players Badge from Augusta National. We've never done anything like this, and we really wanted to get a feel for style and setting.
So for Keith, we pulled together a kit of parts to kick off his season in Hawaii, that we hoped would be foundational items for the West Coast, the desert, and Florida swing. Lots of cashmere sweaters, cotton pique polos, DAKS waistband trousers, plus the classics like cotton pique polos and khaki shorts. Old world, "pre-performance wear" sports style that doesn't go too far off-road.
Now Van, you're probably not gearing up for the Masters per se, but I think the same blueprint might work for you this spring and summer, too. Here's the breakdown, plus a few combos to try.
POLOS: We make a handful of polos, but for Keith we focused on our classic one in pima pique. Light, airy, and stepped-up but links-appropriate. We put in a ton of time trying to get ours right, down to the $95 starting price. It's got a cut-and-sew collar (vs. knitted like a lot of other polos) that can stand up on its own or under a jacket, plus thick Trocas shell buttons like the ones on our dress shirts, and a tennis tail that'll keep it from coming untucked on your more aggressive follow-throughs. And on the materials front... I know this is controversial, but I am a cotton-or-bust guy. I can't do the synthetic-ness or the silkiness or the slipperiness of performance fabrics. It's a tactile thing. It actually makes me feel hotter. I just like the way cotton feels and breathes – and looks - better. So I'm not gonna knock the performance polos... but I'm not gonna wear one. In terms of colors, white or light blue will go with almost anything, but we make them in pinks and yellows and greens and a bunch more if you want a little more pop for the season. And don't sleep on our retro-inspired Rally Polo... a few guys in our shop & HQ wear it on their weekend rounds and love it.
PANTS & SHORTS: Five-pockets have become the norm at most courses and clubs these days, but if you're looking to take it up a notch or stand out from the crowd a little? Sport trousers in lightweight twill. They're soft but structured, will hold up on a warm spring day, and, like all of our pants, cut slimmish so they definitely read more elevated/tailored than a pair of 5-pockets. Standard khaki or stone are great, but I love getting some color in there – sky blue or soft pink. For guys who run a little hotter, we have a great roll-up of shorts in the same fabric. Now this might not be for everyone, or even you, Van, but Keith loooooooooves to rock the dress trousers on Tour (talk about standing out!) He has our high twist in mid-grey and Air Force blue, but, interestingly enough, says he gets the most compliments on his pleated ones (he's got the light grey tropical wool.) Those are great because they've got that DAKS waistband so you don't need a belt. One less egg to fry.
WHAT ELSE: In most parts of the country, it can still be chilly in the spring and you need another layer over the polo. For us, that's usually a fine-gauge cashmere sweater. If you're only going to have one, the navy V-neck is it, especially if there's a little color or pattern in your polo. And it seems like 1.5-inch gator belts are the Tour player go-to lately (when did that happen?) we prefer the proportions of a narrower strap, which means our 1-inch gator belt with a plaque buckle. Keith's is silver but the brass is great, too – we love when it gets a little banged up. Also in his kit: a white Imperial Visor and white-on-white Footjoy Premieres. Whoa.
SOME IDEAS TO TRY:
Combo No. 1: navy v-neck sweater, pale blue pique polo, charcoal high-twist trousers (modeled after Ben Hogan)
Combo No. 2: pale pink pique polo, slate blue lightweight twill trousers (modeled after Arnold Palmer)
Combo No. 3: navy v-neck sweater, white pique polo, cactus green canvas trousers (modeled after Seve Ballesteros)
Anyway - thanks for noticing, and hope this helps! And best of luck to our pal Keith down at Bay Hill this week - we think (and hope) Mr. Palmer would have approved.