Florida—particularly Palm Beach during the December to April season—has become a traditional testing ground for new summer sports clothes for men. There, under this past winter's sun, two significant trends were obvious—the opulent one of the Orient (SI, Jan. 23) and the nostalgic one of revived classics. They will probably make this the most colorful year yet for American men. The Oriental patterns most in evidence were handsome Paisley prints, lively madras plaids and stripes and hand-woven Indian cottons of brilliant hue. They are even more colorful than the Italian-inspired stripes which have dominated American men's sportswear for the past several seasons. Equally noteworthy are the revivals of old American favorites. White trousers, in disrepute since the hard-to-care-for flannels of the '20s went their way, are back in blends of easy-to-care-for synthetic fabrics. The striped crew sock, worn with either walking shorts or white slacks, is back again. And knickers, in much slimmer versions than the plus fours worn by such well-known golfers as Bing Crosby (SI, Jan. 23) and Gene Sarazen (who has worn them since the '20s), are such a hit that the men's shops across the country are stocking them. Double-breasted blazers are new again, as well, in a much slimmer version than the old American board room model.
Paisley jacket of English cotton (Linett, $39.50) and solid-color madras hat shaped like one of Lord Byron's (Lee, $5) are worn at the Palm Beach yacht basin. Both will be at George Stinchfield's, Nantucket or Edgartown, Mass., after June 1.
Striped crew sox (F. A. MacCluer, $1.25), worn with white slacks (Palm Beach, $12.95) and saddle oxfords (Field & Flint, $26.95), come in nine color combinations. Two-toned shoes, as well as two-toned socks, are also staging a comeback.
Paisley-Patterned trunks (Corbin, $11.50), shown here at Miami Beach's LaGorce Country Club, are made of fine English cotton tailored like trousers to a gentlemanly length.
April 2, 1956
Vari-Striped BELT (King's Ltd., Surfside, Fla., $2.50) is of a hand-woven Indian cotton that is also showing up everywhere this season in Joseph's-coatlike jackets and sport shirts.
Colorfully printed shirts (White Stag, $6.95) is another of the many examples of Oriental-inspired clothing seen at southern resorts this year. Shirt has elbow-length sleeves.
Somerset jacket (Gordon of Philadelphia, $22.50), worn at the Everglades Club in Palm Beach, is designed specifically for wear with shorts. It is an inch and a half shorter than average jacket, has one-button closure, side vents. Linenlike jacket comes in red, yellow and blue (Whitehouse & Hardy, N.Y.).
Silk shirt (Hathaway, $32.50) is most luxurious version of this year's most popular sportswear fabric—madras. No two shirts made of this hand-woven Indian cloth, available here for the first time in silk, are alike.
Paisley sport shirt (Peerless, $15) was designed by Schiaparelli. The distinctive comma-like pattern has long been a popular Oriental motif. Here it is worn at the Surf Club, one of Miami Beach's oldest private clubs.
Double-Breasted blazer (Grieco) of navy Moygashel linen is available to order, Paul Stuart, N.Y. ($60). Striped cotton trousers (Corbin, $12.50) and red madras shirt (Westport Countryman, $8.95) complete the outfit.
The most interesting revival of a season of revivals is the knickerbocker. Actually, it never died but simply faded for a while. The British country gentleman and the Alpine mountaineer wear them as uniforms. The Duke of Windsor never stopped wearing them. Skiers are taking them up again in ever-increasing numbers, with waterproof Norwegian socks. (The first ski pants were knickers.) Now that they're in trimmer models than the old plus four (from four-inch overhang at the knee), they're as comfortable as, and more handsome than, walking shorts on the golf course; and more practical than slacks, which collect wet grass in the cuffs and flap in the wind. For cool days, they will be in lightweight wools; for warm weather, in Dacron and cotton cords and linen. Another trouser also seems due for a comeback this summer—the striped one, as worn with the double-breasted navy blue blazer on the opposite page, either in cotton or in a blend of Dacron and cotton.
Knickers worn at Everglades Club in Palm Beach are of Dacron and cotton cord. They have two pleats and buckle beneath the knee (Saks Fifth Avenue Men's Shops, $16.50). Cable-knit socks are by Izod ($3.95).
Huck-a-back blazer is one of the newest of many striped blazers on this year's resort and summer scene. This one is made of huck toweling in either brown or gray stripes (White Stag, $17.95).
Espadrilles, very much like the popular ones imported from Italy and Spain, have the added advantage of a rubber sole instead of rope, which makes them more practical for boating (U.S. Rubber Co., $5.50).