Cotton Dandy

Why a good cotton sports coat may represent some of the best menswear money you’ve ever spent.
A young Gardner McKay in a cotton jacket and tie. (Photo by Kobal/REX/Shutterstock (5866074b)

There’s an old saying that goes, the most expensive clothes in your wardrobe are those you never wear. The logic is, if you spend a lot of money on a garment but wear it all the time, in reality, that’s a far better investment than something you picked up for a steal but got little use out of.

A prime example of the latter for me is a lime green, shantung silk, shawl-lapel, double-breasted dinner jacket from Ralph Lauren Purple Label I bought on steep discount many years ago. (I know, right — how did something with such broad appeal end up in the bargain bin?) I’ve worn it exactly once, that single outing effectively costing me $400. Nevertheless, I don’t regret the buy one iota, and I sleep secure in the knowledge that I’m totally prepared when one glorious day I receive an invitation with a dress code reading ‘Club Tropicana formalwear’ or ‘St. Patrick’s black-tie’.

On the other end of the value spectrum is another item I acquired from the talented Mr. Lauren, purchased at full price for about the same amount as the green silk number. The difference is that I’ve worn it so often over the years, the per-wear cost probably amounts to mere pennies. It’s a navy blue cotton, unlined, unstructured, patch pocket, two-button sports coat. In my opinion, every man needs something similar in his wardrobe.


    February 2022


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