Memorial Day is just that: a day to pay homage to the dead. The concept was born in 1868 after the Civil War, with the intent of honoring the dead by decorating their graves. Ever heard the term ‘Decoration Day’? Yep. Memorial Day is also the unofficial start to Summer. Buckle up, folks: pools are opening everywhere, and the temperatures are going to stay at a pretty consistent ‘warm to hot’ for the next five or six months.
It’s great that the last Monday in May is a holiday. It gives everyone a chance to cut loose a little and get a little tan. We usually end up at a pool during the day, and cook out at night. Being that there is a patriotic theme to the weekend, here’s how to do the pool during the day, and the cookout at night:
From top left:
1. Orvis Americana Ball Cap: Not that you have to wear a hat at the pool/beach/yard, but it’s always good to have one. After wearing the stitching out of my Masters caps, I’m really leaning towards the trucker-style hats. This patriotic option from Orvis is perfect for the holiday weekend.
2. Randolph Engineering Aviator II Sunglasses: American made aviators. They are as good as it gets. Timeless, and stylish. Check.
3. Sunscreen: You know what’s not cool? A sunburn. I don’t care how old you are, there is no excuse. Get some SPF on your mayo-esque skin. Given that I’m married to a sunscreen Nazi and her best friend is a dermatologist, the SPF point has been driven home.
4. Aluminum Lawn Chair: You know what else isn’t cool? Sitting on the ground. I know people that carry a chair in their trunk for situations like a Memorial Day party. So sit back, crack open a #7, and relax.
5. Beachcomber Shirt from Bourbon & Blue: I’m getting down with the short sleeve button up shirt. For me, it has to check a few boxes: first, good fit. Second, all cotton. Third, beat to death and it still dominates. It must patina well.
6. Birdwell Beach Britches: Simple, California-made, and the appropriate inseam for a swimsuit. The price point is really good for what you get. These swimsuits aren’t overpriced, gimmicky, or too high-tech. Keep it simple, and keep it short.
7. Tropicalia IPA from Creature Comforts: Not only is this the best beer in Georgia, these are some of the nicest folks on the planet. The beer drinks really well for an IPA; very pool/lake/beach friendly. It’s has a nice citrus finish, but nothing close to the camo cargo shorts, tank topped, Kenny Chesney crowd’s level. Tropicalia keeps it classy, and you should too.
8. USA Koozie: Keep ’em cold; that way you don’t have to drink too fast and pass out like a chump. There’s more work to do tonight.
9. Grateful Dead Flip Flops from Chacos: Seriously, how cool are these? (insert ‘Truckin” logo here). It may be a case of idea vs. execution (we’ll touch on that in a bit), but for those that are down with Chacos and the Grateful Dead, it would be hard to say no to these…and how about the appropriate red, white, and blue theme?
10. $100 Bill Beach Towel: C.R.E.A.M.
11: Holderness & Bourne Evans Tote: By now, everyone should be on board with the tote bag. Filson gets a lot of play here on Red Clay Soul, and Jack Spade does a great job as well. A new player to the game is Holderness & Bourne (much more to come). Their Evans tote is a dressed up version of a utility bag. This is the masculine version of the traditional beach bag.
…and on to the night:
From top left:
1. J. Crew Slim Fit Secret Wash Summer Gingham Shirt: I like that the dress shirt, but dressed down has essentially solidified as the go-to look for guys. Continue to embrace this look at the cookout later that night. J. Crew does a good job with their secret wash shirts; they are really thin, and actually wash really well. A quick ironing gives them the casual, but crisp look you are going for.
2. Randolph Engineering Aviator II Sunglasses: Just wash all the sunscreen off, and clean the lenses. These sunglasses go with everything, and since the sun doesn’t go down until about 8:30 or 9PM, they should go with you as well.
3. B&O Play Beloit 15 Portable Speaker: Whether you are down on the dock or on the back porch, you can bring the tunes with you. The Beloit 15 is a serious upgrade from your Jawbone, but your music capabilities should mature as you do. This speaker will make your “Athens, GA” playlist sound great during dinner, and your “Strip Club” playlist really hit the nail on the head as the night goes on.
4. A Bag of Ice: Since you are going to be mixing, show up prepared. Be sure to stash it in a cooler or in the shade.
5. Seiko SKX009 Diver Watch: The Seiko divers watch is an outstanding daily casual watch for every man. My man Trip did a GREAT piece on them a while back (read it here). The SKX009 has that American flare that keeps with the theme of the weekend. Be sure to change out the band to a cool NATO (pictured) or even just a navy blue strap.
6. Smathers & Branson Belt: Some waist action. In a good way.
7. Sid Mashburn Powder Blue Canvas Shorts: The Sid Mashburn canvas shorts, along with Patagonia Stand Ups, are the best OTR shorts on the market. They do not need ANY alterations; the inseam is just right. Not to mention they break in like a dream. They re-released the powder blue color this year after a short hiatus. All good news.
8. After Sun Aloe: You didn’t listen, did you? Got a little sunburn? Now that you realize you’d rather have a stomach flu rather than a sunburn, there is help. Get some aloe on that roast.
9. Tretorn Nylite Canvas Shoes: It’s so great to see Tretorns have come back into favor; by now they are starting to get good and ‘broken in’, which makes it look you you know what you are doing…and this condition is the best way to wear them. They need to look like Bjorn played an entire Wimbledon in them. If your Tretorns are still shiny white, leave them at home (get a pair of navy Swims or something). You don’t want to look like you tied them up for the first time on your way to the party.
10. A Really Nice Non-Redneck Cornhole Set: The other day I saw a cornhole set that was adorned with the Fireball whiskey logo. DO NOT be that guy. Cornhole is a great game, and nice sets like these are all over Etsy.
11. Tito’s Vodka: John Daly recipe: Fill #12 with ice. 2 shots of Tito’s vodka. Fill to the middle with iced tea. Top off with pulp-free lemonade.
12. Yeti 20 oz. Rambler: The perfect vessel for carrying around multiple John Daly’s.