Summer Style: Floral Prints and Cuban collars

I have a little bit of everything for everyone in today’s post. There’s a short excerpt for those who don’t know how obnoxious Sid Rana was prior to his college days (conversely – a reminder of how obnoxious Sid was when you had to see him daily), my new hairstyle, and summer 2018’s hottest trend.

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The elephant in this post

We need to discuss the elephant in the room: 33 year old Cristiano Ronaldo just doubled his World Cup goal tally in 90′ against former champions Spain in his debut WC 2018 match. Additionally, he’s now won 3 UEFA Champions Leagues back-back-back (2015-18) with Real Madrid, and in January tied Lionel Messi at 5 Balon d’Ors. Arguably, his career has reached new heights during his “decline,” and he still manages to influence kids around the world – so much so, that I ended up getting highlights inspired by him 2 weeks ago.

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Today’s highlights: the Cuban collar floral shirt

Between 2010-12, in the blunder years known as middle school, I used to have my hair cut and precision gelled every day into a faux hawk just like Cristiano’s. I used to spend at least 5-10 minutes every morning meticulously combining the Panama Canal parts on either side and bringing the middle together into the ‘hawk.’ It was a helmet of hair just like his (but with much less sweat).

While stepping off the school bus to Crestview Middle School on Monday, December 12th, the phrase, “What if I got highlights?” first came left of my mouth. From that day on, I used to ask for opinions on highlights throughout high school but never pulled the trigger on them. I spent all of 2017-18 thinking about them until 2 weeks ago, when I finally pulled the trigger. My stylist, Lilly, did a phenomenal job and I love them: absolutely zero regrets. 

Nobody believed in accomplishing my dreams – not even my parents. They said I’d look ugly and regret it. My best friend told me I’d either love it or hate it, nothing in between. Luckily (even though I always believed in them working out), they came out fresher than today’s produce which just goes to show always believe in yourself. 

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Enjoy the rest of our regularly scheduled programming

*I’m not actually being serious here.

 What is a Cuban collar? 

Today’s shirt I only recently bought from Club Monaco and follows with spring/summer 2018’s most subtle trend – Cuban collars. The large spread collar with its wide opening, and flat front screams, “only fun allowed.”

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Shoutout to Ann for hitting 80 and still having a blast

Cuban collar shirts first immigrated to the United States during the first appearance of “leisure wear” in the early 1900s, but originate from 18th century South America where they were a stable of the working class uniform.

Naturally, this meant I had to take it the most leisurely place ever: a children’s playground. 

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Proper footwear is important for proper enjoyment of playgrounds

It wasn’t until the 1950s however, when “the King,” Elvis Presley brought Cuban collar shirts to the forefront of national attention. 

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This is outrageous, even for America
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Club Monaco/Club Monaco/Adidas

The loose cut of the shirt (in comparison to my normal slim fits) is immediately apparent in the above picture. This shirt lacks the slim taper many of my other shirts have makes gives it a significantly more “relaxed” vibe. The flower print enforce the summer theme of the shirt and contrast my light pink, pincord shorts (also from Club Monaco). The movability allowed by wearing a looser-fitting shirt definitely allows for more fun during the running/jumping/sliding required at most children’s play places.  

Many years ago, I mentioned Club Monaco in my spring 2016 post after purchasing a light blue OCBD from them (read about it here). What I said then still holds true now, if not more so: they have carved out a strong niche in the male fashion market where J. Crew used to operate.  Club Monaco nicely fills the gap between mall brand basics and niche foreign pieces I usually buy, and the quality of construction makes it worth the $15-20 premium. Still, I only buy from them when on sale, but don’t be surprised if they pop up more often in the near future.


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Floral shirt in its natural habitat

Shorts that are actually short

Similar to how I pushed my comfort zone by purchasing a shirt in a non-traditional cut, I copped a pair of 7″ shorts (also from Club Monaco), in a light pink shade. Pastels are definitely out of touch in 2018, but they also happen to be one of the most iconic spring shades ever.


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Club Monaco x2

Salmon is another color which is excessively overused by most guys on campus – which is a shame because it also looks nice in most spring/summer outfits. It was only three summers ago when I bought a pair of chambray shorts (a very neat fabric) in salmon, but after being clowned for wearing them all the time (especially with a matching salmon chambray hat), I’ve been forced to retire them. I spent a long time looking for replacements until this light pink pincord.

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Up-close look at pincord fabric

Pincord is a fabric similar to seersucker in that is a fabric sewn in a ruffled manner to maximize the surface area in contact with your skin. This allows for higher breathability as the surrounding air has more space to move to/away from you body, helping you stay cool over the summer. Unlike seersucker however, pincord lays flat against your body (while seersucker is ruffled on both sides). This allows for slightly less breathability than seersucker while slightly increasing its rigidity: a common problem with seersucker clothes is how any movement in them instantly brings wrinkles across the entire garment.

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Wow, functional fashion. Who knew that existed?
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This post was not sponsored by Marvel’s: The Avengers

Another interesting factor about these shorts is that they actually are in fact, short. I’ve noticed that the length of most guys’ shorts have slowly started creeping back towards our knees after the shortening which occurred a few summers ago when we collectively sacrificed our basketball and cargo shorts in order to stop the trend of old, embarrassing photos from our youth. I don’t know why this is happening, it might be correlated to the increasing wideness of pant legs that’s also occurring. Fret not OO readers, I will find out why this is happening.

The obvious benefit of shorts that are in fact short, is that they keep you a little bit cooler. When the temp hits 95+ Fahrenheit but actually feels like 100+ degrees, every little bit matters (especially if you’ll be out for an hour on a shoot).

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Does anyone see any sweat?
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Because I don’t


To round off the inaugural summer 2018 post, we’ll finish with a short bit about my favorite summer-only shoes. By now, you should know what espadrilles are; I’ve talked about them here and here over the past year.

Espadrilles are my favorite summer shoes because of how they were designed by people who lived in hot, humid climates to be worn in that environment. Espadrilles are straight to the point: a thin layer of fabric sewn onto a jute (rope) sole. No socks necessary means no barriers for your feet to radiate heat away from themselves, and unless you have exceptionally sweaty feet, the jute sole wicks your sweat away as it forms.

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Finally, we have the full outfit

If I wasn’t expected to wear actual shoes to work every day, I would definitely prefer these to my Asics or Adidas sneakers. Unfortunately, espadrilles do not offer the same “on foot” protection traditional sneakers provide (say if a glass container were to fall onto them), so I have to leave them for weekends only.

With the first summer 2018 Optimal Outfits post wrapping up, 

our plan for the rest of the summer is going to feature less long-form articles and more “Outfit of the Day” snapshots. This way I’ll be able to keep you guys updated on what’s going on in St. Louis as I hit up some new places and post on OO more frequently while working/studying/volunteering. 

Thank you to my photographer, Mayur Khanna, for shooting this outfit. He’s starting/started or launching/launched a photography business which you can access here:  This past spring he shot a bunch of senior’s portraits right before graduating so keep an eye out for him if you ever need shoots done. 

Keep an eye out for more, and keep reading!


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