21 May 2008

Cool Shirtings: The Unwearable Lightness of Cotton Lawn

In hot weather, my thoughts turn to cool shirtings. My summer shirt portfolio features polo shirts, short-sleeved madras shirts, checked shirts, and a variety of twill bush shirts that have been in my possession for years. I pair them with different combinations of khaki shorts, reds, boat shoes, and loafers.

With the impending summer season in mind, I recently undertook to acquire a traditional aloha shirt, the Reyn Spooner model offered by J.Press (above). However, much to my alarm, I discovered it is made of something called Spooner Kloth, a nefarious blend of 60% cotton/40% polyester. Now, I never, ever let synthetic fiber touch my skin, unless of course it is a vinyl, latex, or PVC bodysuit encasing the svelte charms of a hot brunette.

When I contacted the chaps at the Reyn Spooner company, they suggested I try the same shirt in 100% cotton lawn, or lawn cloth. I was intrigued. Named after the town of Laon, France where it was first manufactured, cotton lawn is a crisp, sheer, ultra-lightweight fabric used for curtains, liturgical clothing, and dresses. According to my research, however, its opaque, semi-transparent properties make it ideal for women's underwear and lingerie, rendering it completely unsuitable therefore for a grown man to wear.

If you see me going about my daily weekend activities in a summer shirt of madras or twill, spare a thought for what might have been and take heed.


Anonymous said...

This is very dissappointing news. I came close to booking a trip to Hawaii this summer and now I'm glad I didn't. Still, it has to be an improvement over Tommy Bahommy.

Gabrielle said...

I think you are needlessly faint of heart. I have several dresses of cotton lawn, and they are not sheer in the least. Or so I am told.

suzannemarques said...

pvc bodysuit. am i the only one who caught that?

Hunter said...

Trad + Aloha = two style cults that (arguably) originated in Japan. Rarely combined, but the results can be potent.

I picked up a Reyn Spooner jacket last spring at Press in Harvard Sq and was not disappointed. Fabric was 55/45 cotton-poly, but I couldn't resist the GTH pattern and legit coconut buttons.

As seen at the Owl Club Luau:

Luau 1
Luau 2

Laguna Beach Trad said...

Longwing ~ Got to Hawaii!! The awful truth about J.Press aloha shirts is no reason not to take a break from blogging Trad for a while. ;)

Gabrielle ~ Cotton lawn is simply too flimsy for me. But I'm sure it looks smashing on those with a more graceful build.

SM ~ Apparently, yes. Thanks! ;)

Hunter ~ Those are wonderful pics. Thanks for including them. I had forgotten about that J.Press jacket. It really looks good and I am tempted... It's funny you mention Japan. The most recent sightings of the Spooner 'Original Lahaina' shirt were on Japanese gents I've spotted in Hawaii over the last few years.

Richard said...

Very nice post. You have to watch Brooks Brothers as well (I hate to admit that). They include polyester in their poplin suits.

I knew what Suzi wrote before I even read it :) She seems like a fun girl.

Anonymous said...

I would give Spoonercloth a try. Here in Hawaii all the Bishop Street businessmen and lawyers wear these shirts (you probably know this is the financial/business district uniform, rather than suits). They really feel like heavy cotton, not synthetic, and the great thing is these shirts wear forever, and once you've ironed them a few times they pretty much hold their crease permanently. Also, because of the reverse print they may get a little faded over time, but that only adds to the charm. Sort of like Nantucket Reds. Pretty much what I wear every day, except when I'm going to court.

aviewaskew said...

The Unbearable Lightness of Being.
Great Flick...and Roxy Music + Depeche Mode...you have impeccable taste...but you know that. Plus you are a Black Sheep...great stuff.... end of comments.

oldskooljunky said...

really cool shirts, like the details: the matching pockets,..
dont have many people sporting them in south africa, so u sure to get compliments everytime!