It was probably inevitable. The golfer who just made a sartorial splash on the golf course in a pair of red plaid slacks would not be a man to give up his new freedom of plumage overnight. This new and rugged individualist has inspired even old-line traditionalists in the evening-clothes business. This summer for the first time he has ample choice of bright colors for formal occasions—the country club dance, or a formal dinner party beside a swimming pool.
And there's more than color in this new era of casual elegance. There are Bermuda-length dinner shorts, with formal ribbon stripe down each abbreviated leg. There is the waist-length mess jacket which looks like a jaunty fashion comeback. The traditional cummerbund is enlivened in color and diminished in weight by the use of cool madras or cotton broadcloth. And informal evening shirts now bear rows of pin tucking and lace.
The individualist's approach is important in women's summer evening clothes, too. The proper combination of informality and elegance can be achieved by wearing a floor-length version of an informal dress—say a silk shirt, or a full separate skirt of casual cotton print batik or madras worn with a décolleté sun-type top.
Midriffs are the focal point—covered or bare—in Jerry George's yellow dinner jacket and evening shorts (Palm Beach, $47) and Dierdre Ahearn's tapa-print dinner dress (Greta Plattry, $38). Jerry's piqué dinner shirt has lace-edged placket (Arrow, $7), and his madras bow tie matches cummerbund (Royal Elastic, $8).
Color is the quickest way to be up to date. Alfred Jollon's "sundown coat" and dinner trousers (Palm Beach, $48) are further dandified with a knife-pleated-bosom shirt (Arrow, $6) and madras cummerbund and tie like those worn above. Barbara Blount's dinner dress is a floor-length silk shirt (Claire McCardell, $60).
Mess jacket of white silk (After Six, $55) is teamed by John Wilson with a pique-formal shirt with double rows of lace (Arrow, $8) and cummerbund and tie with Coast Guard signals (Royal Elastic, $10).