Is it seersucker season yet?
Going to the Hamptons for Memorial Day Weekend, is it too early to wear seersucker before June?
- Seersucker fabric is easy to pack and won't appear creased after the long Hampton Jitney ride to the east end of Long Island. If you dove into the Atlantic after a boozy lunch, you could hang up your suit and it would be dry in time for dinner!
- Nothing says summer with more durability than the timeless, classic seersucker suit -- and we have the hipsters to thank for the seersucker revival.
- A well-made seersucker suit is made of 100% cotton that has been treated to resist heat, and the trouser hem is reinforced with a heavier fabric to keep the shape of the trouser legs and protect the hems from wear and tear.
- Because of the ultra light-weight seersucker fabric, the suit lacks structure unless it is well-fitted to the wearer; you certainly don't want your suit to droop or hang from your body.
- Have the seersucker suit jacket altered to have a natural shoulder that doesn't look over-padded; it can be lined or half-lined from the shoulder down.
- The trousers should never be slim fit, and can even be slightly baggy. But then you don't want to look like a clown if they're awkwardly sloppy. The heaviness of the extra fabric in the hem should keep the legs from ballooning out.
- Don't forget: good seersucker trousers should be lined from the waist to the break in the knee.
- Alternatively, you can find seersucker with the white stripes wider than the blue, as well as more colorful variations: tan and brown stripes, or combinations from green to yellow to pink.
- Shoes can be either a brown penny loafer, white suede bucks, or spectators, which are brown and white -- or like DiCaprio (in the above photo), do your own thing.
- The usual suit socks rule is broken here: You don't have to match your socks to one of the colors in your striped suit, you can go wild with a crazy pattern or simply go sockless. Then there are always those who wear no-show socks.
- Of course a bowtie gives a traditional southern flare, or you can tame down the flame with a solid knit or linen necktie -- or don't wear a tie at all.
- Seersucker trousers are made for ribbon or surcingle belts.
- It goes without saying that you would wear a solid white or pale blue collared, button-down shirt.
- Solid red suspenders are traditionally worn when the trousers don't have belt loops.
- A plus for the seersucker suit is its versatility: for a more casual look the jacket can be worn with dress khakis, blue jeans or Nantucket Reds (which are faded for a salty look).
- Pairing seersucker trousers with a solid color poplin or linen jacket or blazer works nicely, as well.
Over the Memorial Day Weekend I’m taking my girlfriend to Newport, RI, and in planning our time we’re looking for special things to do that are somewhat off the beaten track and we’re also hoping to hear live music.
She’s done the house tours and we want to spend as much time as possible, weather permitting, outdoors. Any ideas?
–JC, Brooklyn, NY
- Rosemary & Thyme Cafe (rosemaryandthymecafe.com), Sweet Berry Farm (sweetberryfarm.com), Flo's Clam Shack (flosclamshacks.com) and the Newport Lobster Shack (newportlobstershack.com) -- all terrific sources for prepared picnic food to go.
- Greenvale Vineyards is a family-run historic farm on the Sakonnet River featuring an exquisitely restored 19th-century summer house and stable, which is now the vineyards' Tasting Room. Family members produce small batches of wines from vintage grapes. Many of these wines can be sampled to accompany your picnic, while listening to the sounds of a live jazz group on a lazy afternoon.
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Is it possible to ask our son’s relatives and our close friends to send him money instead of boxed graduation presents? He needs money for college. He doesn’t want some random article of clothing, bedding or towels.
We’re having a graduation party early in the evening with the older people and then he’s going off with his friends. I know guests will feel that they have to bring a wrapped boxed gift: he won’t pretend to act all gushy and grateful about having to unwrap it in front of them.
–Cecily, Worcester, MA
- A Starbucks or a Subway can be found pretty readily in most college towns.
- The only problem with gift cards is that they can go missing, but so can checks.
- Placing a twenty dollar, fifty dollar, or hundred bill in a gift envelope with his name on it, would probably work best.
- Be honest with your family and friends. Just say, "Zack doesn't want stuff, he only wants cash."
My question is about college student emails to their professor.
My students not only call me by my first name, but their emails are equally casual and disrespectful. Grammar, spelling and punctuation are sloppy. Furthermore, they don’t address me by my surname, nor do they use my title. How do I encourage students to address me as Professor Brown or Dr. Brown, as opposed to using a greeting such as, “Hi there” or “Hey,” in their emails, or no salutation or closing at all? Transitioning into the workplace or graduate school, they should learn to put more polish and protocol into all their emails.
–Dr. Brown, Providence, RI
- Learn to use a greeting, either in person or in an email, address your professor formally by his or her title and last name.
- When your professor has a Phd., address him or her as Professor Brown or Dr. Brown.
- Use spellcheck and grammar check.
- Have an email address that isn't cutesy or sexy. You're not trying to impress someone on DateMySchool.com.
- Always use a closing along with your full name at the end of your email. We can't be expected to identify you by your email address alone: Kind regards, Elmer Fudd.
My question is about how to handle body shaming and body image.
Our eleven-year-old burst into tears last night and told us that boys at school made fun of her by calling her “whale tail.” She’s pleasantly plump, but she has a lovely disposition and is very bright and funny so has lots of girlfriends and a gay guy friend. Her brothers are also chubby, so they don’t tease her. When we asked the boys if their chubbiness has been made fun of at school, they said they hadn’t.
Making a big deal of this will only call attention to the unfortunate name calling, and could lead to making “Whale Tail” a permanent nickname. What do you suggest?
–LL, Salem, MA
- Make sure nobody in the home is teasing anybody about being overweight, because if a child feels secure at home she will be more resilient to name calling outside the home. When kids consistently accept who they are, they are better equipped to handle the cruel bullying in the schoolyard.
- Encourage your daughter to try different activities to find one or two she can become engrossed in, such as a musical instrument, drawing, painting, singing, cooking, basketball, acting, until she finds her passion.
- Don't be the makeup mom who overpraises her child for achievement she doesn't deserve, because she'll see through you. It backfires.
- The compliment should match the accomplishment.
- When she's upset, teach her to calm down by being mindful of her reactions to having been teased. Have her draw a cartoon, do a jigsaw puzzle, practice yoga, make a healthy salad for the family, or read a book.
- Suggest that she be brave and talk directly to the person who teases her to tell him that he makes her feel badly when he calls her names, even if she needs an adult to facilitate the conversation.
My question is about eye rolling and sarcasm.
My boyfriend has the annoying habit of looking upward and giving me the eye roll when he disagrees or doesn’t like something I’ve said. When we’re at dinner, after he’s executed the eye rolling, he’ll take up finger drumming and make a sarcastic comment. To signal me that he’s impatient, he’ll tap his fingers on the table when he’s lost interest in what I’m saying or that he thinks I’m rattling on too long or that he totally disagrees with my opinion.
I love him but when he behaves like this it feels like a relationship deal-breaker. How do I get my feelings about his bad behavior across to my boyfriend?
–HB, Atlanta, GA
- Eye rolling is the equivalent of the door slam, the shrug, the smirk and the sarcastic tone of voice that are all acts that show disrespect and arrogance.
- Much like name calling, sarcasm expresses disgust. He shows signs of being a covert narcissist. Tell him that his body language and tone of voice is sometimes (or often) unacceptable because it makes you feel belittled.
- When he doesn't agree with you he should have the decency to say why outright instead of using the passive-aggressive eye roll. Stop him at the eye roll and call attention to how he's handling his negative -- or perhaps ambivalent -- feelings.
I’m looking for suggestions for the best marriage proposal spots.
She chose the ring, now I want to surprise my fiancée with the creative location to give it to her while I propose. Any ideas?
–Name Withheld, East Greenwich, RI
- Norman Bird Sanctuary: Hike out to hanging rock and propose with the panoramic view of the Atlantic and its coastline.
- Horseback riding on Second Beach for the ultimate equine experience.
- Narragansett Bay sunset sail on a Twelve Meter or catamaran as the sun begins to set coloring the sky with red, pink and salmon hues.
- Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge: Walk out to the farthest promontory while watching the birds fishing in the Atlantic Ocean.
- Sky Bar at the Clarke Cooke House: Reserve a table overlooking the harbor. The most romantic restaurant.
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My question is about tipping while traveling.
On our June honeymoon we’re traveling throughout Europe. We’re slightly mystified as to how to tip. Guidebooks differ on when exactly tipping isn’t necessary and how much to tip when we should tip. Not to be a cheapskate, but we’re never going to see these people again so why tip? And when we do have to tip, how much and to whom?
–DR, Providence, RI
- In hotels tip the people directly who wait on you and take care of your room: the equivalent of $5 a night to the housekeeper who makes your bed and cleans; $3 to $5 per bag to the bell people who deliver your bags to your room; $2 to the person who arranges a cab for you; to the concierge you would tip $5 to $10 dollars depending on how much s/he did for you by making a dinner reservation at the in restaurant, securing hard to obtain theatre or concert tickets, or recommending an English speaking tour guide.
- When engaging an English-speaking tour guide or driver for the day, you would tip anywhere from $25 to $50. For a driver, $15 to $25 for half a day.
- In restaurants the tip is usually included in what is called the service charge, but for very good to excellent service, tip the waiter and sommelier a little something extra directly at your discretion.
- For hairdressers, beauticians, barbers, masseuses, masseurs, and other personal services when the tip or service charge is not included in the price, tip accordingly for good to excellent service, anywhere from $5 to $25 depending on the length of time and quality of the care.
We are trying to get control of our invitation list.
In trying to pare down our wedding invitation list I’m stressed about not inviting people who I work with and friends from college and high school whom I don’t see any longer. Just because I went to a friend’s wedding do I have to invite them to mine? What do I do about the people I see in the office five days a week?
- What you don't want to do is talk about your wedding plans. Especially don't look for advice. If you're asking one of your coworkers to go wedding dress shopping with you after work because she has an "in" at a bridal boutique, you're going to have to invite her. People who do favors might expect to be invited.
- The word will get out that you're having a wedding and you'll have to tell those coworkers whom you're inviting that it is a small wedding and you could not invite everyone. Because you don't want any hurt feelings you're asking those invited to not discuss your wedding with anyone at your office.
- When a coworker you haven't invited gives you a wedding gift, possibly because she wants an invitation, or more than likely because she is genuinely pleased for you, take her for lunch or coffee and explain that you can't invite everyone to your small wedding and that you hope she'll understand. Be sure to send her a sweet thank-you note.
- Be careful of what you say over drinks after work. Don't go inviting coworkers to your wedding you know you don't have room for or whom you will regret having asked.
Wedding invitation images courtesy of
The Printery, Oyster Bay, New York
Didi, my question is about May to December romance.
My divorced father has fallen in love with an older woman and I’m having a very difficult time accepting the fact that they are actually getting married. I want to tell him that he might end up taking care of her and that he should date a woman his own age or younger who can take care of him. But I can’t. She makes him happy, which my mother certainly didn’t. What should I do?
–PA, Boston, MA
- A study by University of Notre Dame sociologist Elizabeth McClintock that analyzed 1,507 heterosexual couples found that we perpetuate the trophy wife notion by relying on our culturally ingrained biases. Think of your dad as a trophy husband.
- Dr. McClintock's conclusion was that the majority of both men and women seek partners who are more similar to them than dissimilar. Whatever your dad and his fiancée have found in common are interests that run deep.
Didi, breaking up is hard to do. How do I breakup with my boyfriend of many years? We live together. We’ve been through so much as a couple and he’s always been there for me. I don’t want to break his heart. He’s pressuring me to get married, but I really don’t want to marry him.
- Being deceitful or blaming a third person on the dissolution of the relationship are the two worst ways of manipulating a breakup. How about lying about why you didn't come home the other night and blaming it on your mother?
- Avoiding the person by ghosting them is sheer cruelty and immature.
- Arrange a stressless time and place to meet face to face, such as a park bench on a sunny Saturday. Do not meet on your lunch break or over drinks after work -- unless you're looking for breakup sex.
- Make an effort to show that you value the time you've spent together. How much fun you had on a trip or working on a project.
- While keeping eye contact gently describe the reason for the breakup. It could be that you're not feeling the same enormity of love that you once felt deeply.
- If the reason for the breakup is that you're gay, tell her or him.
- If the person doesn't turn you on, be honest and say you're just not that into him any more.
- Never blame the other person for the breakup.
- Verbally explain the reason you don't want to be a couple any longer.
- Try to prevent the conversation from ending on a sour note.
- Try to convince the person that the breakup will serve you both. For instance, if you work in different cities.
- Realize that this is going to be uncomfortable for both of you. Ending a romantic relationship without drama, pain, or guilt should be the objective.
- Talk about ways to end the relationship that meet your needs and those of your about to be ex-partner. Such as, compromising about the custody of the dog, putting leases in one name or the other. Helping them visualize that things will be different by talking about diving up the goods, which seems frightfully materialistic, but is realistic. Who gets that expensive new mattress?
- You want to avoid bitterness and move forward in a healthy way, and perhaps even consider staying friends.
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My ex-fiancé and I are calling off our same-sex wedding. We’ve canceled the priest, the caterer, the banquet hall, florist, makeup artist, etc., but we sent out save-the-date cards six months ago.
What we’re having a hard time doing is letting our hundred plus friends know that we’re not getting married. Can you help? Wedding presents are already arriving.
By mutual agreement, Michael Ogden and Phillip Waterson have decided not to wed and their June 10, 2017 wedding is cancelled.
Your generous gift will be returned to you with heartfelt thanks.Through word of mouth, the word will get out either through your wedding website, emails or phone calls. Additionally, you can have a card printed up with the same sort of wording that can also be used as the thank-you card when adding your handwritten words of thanks on the backside.
- The card can also be used when sending back engagement or wedding gifts.
- There is no obligation to divulge the details so refrain from overdoing it. Clean and simple, "By mutual agreement, we're no longer planning on getting married."
My daughter insists on sending out the save-the-date cards for her wedding ten months in advance. Not only that but she’s asking people to let us know – prior to the actual invitation being sent – at her wedding website, whether the person can attend. Who knows that far in advance? Seems a bit pushy to me.
–EN, Wayne, PA
- In fact, a guest isn't expected to respond to an invitation until six weeks before the wedding.
- Except of course when there is a cutoff date that says please reply by a date that is usually two weeks prior to the wedding day -- and one should RSVP by that date.
- That cutoff is mainly for the caterer, who has to know in advance how to plan for the food and beverages.
My question is about addressing and whether to use Ms. or Mrs.
I work at a real estate agency and I’m writing to the owner of a house I am contracting to sell for her. She is married, but I don’t know the status of her marriage. The house is in her name. How do I address her, as Mrs. Jane Jones or Ms. Jane Jones? She is 65 and rather conservative.
–BM, Newport, RI
Accepting A Compliment