D writes: When is it appropriate to start wearing light colors again? I'm tired of wearing dark suits and clothes, but don't want to perpetuate my So Cal stereotype of "its sunny all the time so I can wear any color I want"...
Knowing precisely where D works, I pick up the phone and dial. (In addition to his fashion question, he also had an announcement to make: Congrats, D! on popping - and her saying yes - to the big question!)
He commented that he gets "ragged on" for wearing light colored suits of the tan, taupe, beige variety when it's cold out.
1) I asked him who rags on him (not expecting the answer: "H." We'll take care of that separately.).
2) I told him there are no "rules" anymore.
D, really, what it comes down to is wearing what you feel like in the season. I certainly wouldn't run around wearing linen during a snowstorm (although I'm sure someone could make a layered argument for it). But what you can do is wear any of your "lighter" colored (read in DC: not navy, brown, black or charcoal) haberdashery in a season-appropriate fabric. Since most men's suits are cut from a halfway decent wool gabardine, perfect for any season, you should be good to go.
We went further in the conversation. It's starting to be party season (i.e. baby, engagement, wedding shower-type events for friends), and he wants to be appropriate and dashing, all at the same time.
I will say that, though I'm a huge proponent of breaking the rules, I generally recommend men stick to the 5 o'clock dealio. For weddings or other more formal events after 5pm, go for a darker suit. If it's gotten balmy, or you want to keep it a little more hip without being disrespectful to your friend's grandma, go tie-less. It's dashing, a teensy bit daring, and, well, all the stars are doing it (that must make it right). I was thrilled when several of our friends sported the tie-less look for our June nuptuals.
Lastly, please, please, please don't wear a tie and go jacketless. That'll put you smack in the Government Worker Style realm, and, I know you don't want to go there.