The best time to visit San Francisco is now. Arriving at the chilly heels of “Fogust”, fortune favors those who visit during mid-September to mid-October, when you are all but guaranteed plenty of daylight, clear skies, and warm sunshine. Not surprisingly, it’s also the most popular time for weddings in the Bay Area, including my own twenty years ago. I remember being a bit incredulous when my wife scheduled our wedding for early October, but her confidence was rewarded with wonderfully mild temperatures, perfectly suited for an outdoor garden wedding. I should have never doubted her.
Fortuitously, it’s also the ideal weather for transitional clothes, those baby-bear pieces that are too airy for the dead of winter and too oppressive for the peak of summer, but just right for right now. Think breathable linen sweaters, gauzy cotton trousers, and lightweight tops that can be layered. Never mind that you can only practically wear them a couple months of the year; when that time comes, you’ll be wondering how you ever lived without them.
Inis Meain linen tunic, Eidos cotton boucle trousers
There are a few designers that offer choices for this kind of weather, but none stands out as much as Steve Calder. Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, Steve’s line Informale includes clothes for all seasons, both tailored and casual, but his mid-season clothes are the most compelling to me personally, particularly the double-pleated trouser in 280 gram linen (about 10 ounces). With a hidden elastic waistband, high rise, relaxed and slightly tapered leg, they have been my go-to trousers practically every moment I wasn’t working or in bed, and look good with everything from loafers and a sport coat to sneakers and a t-shirt, on the streets or the beach.
Eidos jacket in linen/cotton, 18Waits polo shirt in double-faced linen/cotton gauze, Informale trousers in linen, Kilim and Shoes slippers
This aesthetic seems to permeate most of Steve’s Instagram, which is how I got to know of him (and a great source of inspiration for transitional clothes in general). His feed is full of outfits that interpret classic clothes for a casual environment, and while all of the items are familiar to menswear, it’s not strictly menswear, and neither is it streetwear. The overall impression is sophisticated but not ceremonial, unstudied but not sloppy. Or as Steve calls it: sartorial casualwear.
“Informale is essentially born out of my own personal style,” Steve relates. “I wouldn’t say it fills a void or is super unique, but I do want to make sure it has our own signature, a small detail or fabric which can’t be found anywhere else. When I started seeking out casual pieces to mix in with my tailoring, I noticed that there weren’t many casual options that mix well with the kind of classic, soft tailoring that I was making. Everything started with the dream of making a pair of drawstring linen trousers with a tailored cut that I just couldn’t find anywhere. I figured, how hard could it be to find someone local in Melbourne who can make me a pair of pants? And that was what drove me to seek out someone who could make my dream a reality.”
When it comes to styling, Steve says Informale can work piecemeal or wholesale. “Don’t worry about buying into the entire look; pick and choose the pieces that will work best for you and your own personal style. I like to believe our designs are simple and easy enough to work seamlessly into our clients’ existing wardrobe.”
I love flannel as much as the next guy, but before you go all tweedy for winter, ease your way out of summer with transitional clothes while it’s still warm.