April, 2002
By Sherry Maysonave
Empowerment Enterprises LLC

Country Club Casual: Hole-in-One Sportswear


Ever been confused over what to wear to dinner at the club, for putting on the green, or for pool-side cocktails? Similar to a prize-winning golf swing, an on-target, yet effortless, relaxed look is the name of the game for country-club casual attire. With that, sportswear is key. Nevertheless, wearing your walk-the-dog or weed-the-garden clothes will not place you above par.

With more apparel choices available today than ever before, the word casual breeds confusion. By definition, casual simply means informal, which covers a vast array of garment styles and accessories. In todayís fashion industry, sportswear for men includes all clothing but business suits and tuxedos. And then, even some business suits can be worn with a dressy golf shirt or silk T-shirt. Itís enough to confuse the smartest of guys.

Considering shoes alone, country-club casual could include all-leather dressy slip-ons, high performance sneakers, designer sandals, or leather flip-flops. With jacket styles, a tailored sport coat, a high-collar lounge coat, a waffle-weave or ribbed cardigan, a linen barn coat, or a nylon wind breaker may fit the bill.

Regardless of your fashion-personality preferences, dressing down with savvy style requires casual understanding. When decoding casual, six different apparel categories emerge:

Active Casual - all attire for active sports, particularly the individual-oriented sports such as tennis, squash, handball, biking, etc. Active casual also includes all work-out attire, sweats, jogging suits, wind suits, etc.

Rugged Casual - all attire appropriate for out-door rugged sports and activities, such as hiking, hunting, fishing, rock repelling, camping, etc.

Sporty Casual - all attire appropriate for golfing, sailing, and clothing suitable for spectators of sports events, including simple kickback wear.

Smart Casual - a more sophisticated well-coordinated look appropriate for public wear that is not sport oriented, such as casual dining, movies, shopping, etc. Typical fabrics featured in this category are cotton, cotton blends, rayon, knit, tencel, etc.

Dressy Casual - stylish garments made of dressier fabrics such as wool (tropical weights included), linen, silk, and classy microfibers and blends.

Business Casual - high level includes the more tailored garments from the smart and dressy casual categories. At times, a more dressed-down sporty look of khakis and golf shirts is acceptable.

Where is "Country-club Casual" in all this? Typically, it encompasses four of the above categories: Active casual, Sporty casual, Smart casual, and Dressy casual. If youíre entertaining clients at the club or perhaps attending a conference or a professional meeting, then business casual attire is appropriate.

Just as the best of golf bags contains the proper assortment of irons for varying fairway situations, so should a manís wardrobe contain a suitable assortment of sportswear.

And not just apropos attire, but sportswear that sets him apart as a powerful fellow, a champion in his own right. Whatís more, sportswear that allows him to be comfortable even in our infamous Texas summers.

Speaking of which, pay attention to the fabric content of your sportswear to maximize your comfort. Today, there are some splendid fabrics available, fabrics that actually work to keep the body cool. Designer Ermengildo Zegna has developed a fabric called Soltex that maintains a cooler temperature inside the jacket sleeve versus the exterior. Zanella offers trousers made of tissue-paper cotton and super lightweight tropical wool that breathes with you.

In addition to the challenge of dressing comfortably for high temperatures and high humidity, thereís another issue to consider when it comes to looking sharp at the club. Sportswear typically involves separates, none of which come with instructions for how to assemble them into a smart outfit. Thatís where most guys veer off course with their casual image. Furthermore, thereís the accessory question. Whatís the right belt or socks?

With that in mind, letís explore some sportswear options for men who want to be perceived as winners, whether theyíre on the green or relaxing at the bar. Perhaps you cannot outplay Tiger Woods, but you can out-dress him.

Whatever your own personal style preferences may be, strive for a smarter look when dressing down. Always power up your casual image to be perceived as a champ.

Examples of Country-Club Casual, at itís bestÖ

  • On the Green: Mercerized fine gauge cotton golf shirt by Axis.

  • Hanging Out: Cotton/tencel short and silk camp shirt by Axis.

  • Pool-side Cocktails: Linen shirt, slacks, pocket square and sport coat by Pal Zileri.

  • Dinner: 15 Mil double-breasted blazer with graph checked cotton shirt and woven silk tie by Ermenegildo Zegna.

Examples of Championship Sportswear for Spring/Summer 2002

  • Sporty Casual: An assortment of fine gauge cotton golf and T-shirts by Ermenegildo Zegna and Pal Zileri.

  • Smart Casual: Short sleeve camp shirts by Axis, Jhane Barnes or Zegna Sport.

  • Dressy Casual: Linen, linen and linen! Shirts, pants, jacketsÖthe works.

  • Business Casual: Tropical wool navy blazer by Burberrys or Ermenegildo Zegna. Ultra light weight wool trousers by Zanella. Italian silk neckwear by Tino Cosma, Brioni and Zegna.

Email: sherry@maysonave.com

Copyright © 2002, Sherry Maysonave and Empowerment Enterprises LLC

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