Hot Summer, Cool Vests

My cousin who works in A&R in the music industry sent me the above picture of his stylish self in the audience of the American Idol finale a few nights ago (it's a family quirk, taking pictures of the tv). He’s rocking a sharp-looking Michael Andrews Bespoke vest, an old off-the-rack shirt that he had tailored to fit, and Persol shades as neckwear. The vest is made of lightweight wool and cost about $300. Check out how perfectly it fits him and the spirited lining in the images below.

Bespoke refers to clothing made to a person's exact specifications and involves the creation of a unique pattern for each customer, which why is the fit is so dead-on.

“No one can see it. It’s like I’m carrying around a little secret.”

Cousin or no, I love the look of a guy in a vest, particularly when it’s worn with confidence. They're actually very slimming the way they pull the midsection in when fitted correctly. As the Sartorialist says, guys might wear vests more often if they calculated how many extra beers they could drink without looking fuller in the waistline, by just pulling in their guts with a vest. And just because temperatures are rising, you don’t have to abandon this smart look. For hot weather, it’s all about fabric and light colors. A white cotton long sleeve shirt will always be cooler than one that’s black, rayon and short-sleeved. Natural fibers like cotton, linen and wool (tropical weight for summer) draw heat away from the body, keeping your temperature down, and light colors don't attract heat. And if you're ditching your blazer in favor of a vest...well, more points for the vest when trying to beat the heat.With that in mind, I selected a couple lightweight vest options that work for summertime and fit within other price ranges. The nailhead vest from Billy Reid below is made of 100% cotton, has whalebone buttons and runs $245.The shrimper boat lining is a cool down-home touch.And here it is styled with the Orleans shirt ($165).For those seeking lower price points, J. Crew has an Irish linen vest ($88) that will keep you cool as a cucumber on summery days. Try the british khaki if your coloring is warm.Or the grey if you're cool.So this Memorial Day weekend, go on, crack open a cold one, and vest it up for summer.