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Memorial Day Weekend 2020 is here, and those of us in the Philadelphia & New York areas are still under varying degrees of quarantine. The unofficial start to summer is typically celebratory. Full of cookouts, weekend beach trips, and an overall change in mindset, we look forward to it every year.
This year is understandably different. As we and others have said quite a bit since mid-March: things are anything but typical now. Getting together with friends and family is still discouraged, and the beaches that serve the Northeast Corridor are still largely closed.
With that, we thought this would be a good opportunity to talk about the holiday’s origins, summer style rules, and offer some suggestions on how to celebrate amid a pandemic.
Memorial Day – A Bittersweet Holiday
Memorial Day is the replacement for a now-uncelebrated American holiday called Decoration Day. Originally honoring only those who fought and died in the Civil War, it became a federal holiday in 1971 and now includes the fallen from any American war since then.
The holiday’s traditions are understandably somber, including parades and visits to cemeteries and memorials. On a lighter note, it became the unofficial beginning of summer by virtue of it being a three-day weekend during a warm time of year. Nowadays, we head off to shore points to grill and relax for a few days. Ideally, we remember that many sacrificed their lives for us to be able to do so.
Summer Style Rules For Men
As the unofficial beginning of summer, #mdw begins the time when we Northeasterners can officially wear summer clothes and not look out of place. Our friends who live in more or less perpetual warmth – the American South and Southwest come to mind – are exempt from this rule.
What garments are too summery for the other nine months of the year?
- White pants, jackets & shoes. Winter white for men has been showing itself in swatch books on and off for a while. Still, it’s a color best left to summertime when we’re discussing pants and shoes – white shirts are acceptable at any time of year for just about any occasion. White chinos, jeans, or shorts make an excellent addition to any summer wardrobe. As for shoes, white bucks are an American classic, and white calfskin loafers will complement any summer attire.
- Linen. Linen has an exceptional ability to breathe, keeping the wearer as cool and dry as possible. It’s not that it’s just great for summer, it only makes sense in the summer.
- Seersucker. Seersucker is a specific cotton textile that has a bumpy handle, typically found in a colored stripe (usually blue) alternating with white. The material – found mostly on suits, but also shirts and ties – is very light and breathable, making it a perfect fit for summer.
- Light & bright colors. Mint green, light pink, baby blue – these light colors can work in small pops all year round with your accessories. When these colors take up, say, an entire polo shirt, they become bolder and decidedly more summery. If this isn’t your strong suit, take a look at our color guide.
A note on white pants and jackets: it’s no surprise that white stains easily and is a little harder to maintain than other colors. Still, we recommend that you keep a pair of white trousers in your wardrobe, if for no other reason than to have something fun and special to wear a few times a year.
Memorial Day 2020 – What To Do Under Quarantine?
If you can’t be with the ones you love, love the ones you’re with.
Zoom Barbecue (and dress for it)
Part of the “new normal” is the temporary substitution of video calls for in-person meetings. If you’re still in quarantine, we see no reason to not get a group of friends and family “together” for a virtual cookout. Whether we keep the iPad near us while we grill or wait until we’re sitting down to eat, we’re very fortunate to have this level of technology at a time like this. It’s best to take advantage of it.
We’re big proponents of maintaining a robust image even while in quarantine. We advise dressing as you would for any fun gathering. It maintains some normalcy and is much more fun than throwing on old shorts and a worn-out t-shirt.
Update Your Resume
It might not be most people’s idea of fun, but it’s important to do if your employment status has been affected by COVID-19. We’ve got more job-seeking tips in another post.
If you’re working from home, you might not feel like you’ve had much more time than you typically do. If this is a three-day weekend for you, make good use of the time and audit your wardrobe. A closet consisting only of clothes you like will keep you looking better, and there’s huge mental benefit to getting rid of things you don’t use anymore.
Work On The Home (Or Not)
We are now spending many more hours per day in our homes than we did months ago. It behooves us to ensure our surroundings are optimally set up to keep us as happy and productive as possible. Half-finished projects and disorganized spaces do the exact opposite. If there’s art to hang, hang it. If there are walls to paint, paint them.
With that said, taking the time to truly relax – to do nothing except that which you enjoy and enriches you – is highly valuable, especially when our lives continue to be so uncertain.
One of the central tenets of Memorial Day is keeping an “attitude of gratitude.” After all, what are we celebrating if we’re not grateful to those who sacrificed their lives for us? This Memorial Day will be tougher than the rest for all of us, and maintaining a grateful, positive mindset will make it as happy a Memorial Day as possible.
As always, we are here, working remotely (though we’re taking this weekend off, of course). If we can be of help with clothing or anything else, call us at 215-310-0219 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.