OFF THE GRID WITHDavid
Coggins
The menswear expert and author of The Optimist, a new book on fly-
fishing, takes us into the woods and onto the water in Amenia, NY, to
discuss getting dressed for the outdoors with style and character.

I like to be outside. Whether that’s fly-fishing with
friends, grilling all day for a family dinner, reading by
the lake or walking in the woods. I don’t like to think
too hard about clothes in the country… I just want good
khakis, a good chambray shirt and a few other classics
that go well together.
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Sometimes you want to pull yourself together a little bit more, say if you’re at dinner at a nice lodge or a friend’s house. An easygoing cotton suit is usually the answer. It makes sense almost everywhere I go—from Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, to Ennis, Montana, to Dutchess County, New York.
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Five easy ways toElevate your
outdoor style
David breaks it down...
1 Consider a sport coat“Sport coat in the country? You’re skeptical? Think of it as a cotton jacket. You don’t have to be delicate with it—you can throw it in the lake. It goes with everything you own, and you can wear it every day. This makes your life unquestionably easier and more elegant.”
2 Close relatives get along“Tonal dressing applies to city clothes too, and if you’re in the olive-colored zone, it’s a good place to be. Chinos and a similarly colored like-minded jacket don’t need to match exactly—they can be friendly relations. This is true for most agreeable color families like navy and brown and khaki.”
3 Khaki is your friend“People have been wearing khaki for a long time, and that should tell you something. It’s flattering and easy to wear, and so are khaki alternatives like olive and brown.”
4 Personalize your accessories“I wear old military belts with chinos and bandanas in the pockets of my sport coats. These are low-key ways to express yourself that don’t take much effort, and if they get noticed then everybody wins.”
5 A little effort goes a long way“This is country dressing, so you’re not expected to break out a pinstriped suit. But adding something thoughtful and interesting is good. Do you have a lucky straw hat? A wildflower for your buttonhole? Some espadrilles in a daring shade? It’s the right time to raise the bar just enough.”

It’s a time to be relaxed,
not too fussy, and still have
a sense of personality.
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Read about David’s obsession with outdoor
style, angling
and travel in his latest
book The Optimist.
Buy The Optimist
The weekenderStyle editKeep your bag light with David’s favorites.
“The indispensable shirt. For fishing, for grilling, for reading by the lake. You always want a stack of beloved chambray shirts in varying stages of disrepair, and this is a good addition.”
“A trusted cashmere sweater, that’s easy to wear in a neutral color, is required in your arsenal.”
“They’re enduring for a reason and my absolute first choice when I’m in nature. A slightly darker color changes the pace.”
“Good with chinos, good with shorts, and better without socks. Desert boots are the right answer in any situation. Dark brown is very right.”
“I like discreet shorts that are a little on the loose side. They make me feel relaxed without any threat of actual exercise.”
“I’m open to new ideas. A shirt in a slightly daring color (for me, anyway) is a welcome departure from my norm and perfect for country life.”
“This is a great cotton jacket. And it has a great pair of pants to match. Wear them together or apart. Don’t overthink it. They go with everything and go everywhere you go.”
“This will feel like it’s been your favorite shirt from the first time you wear it. And that’s just what you want from an oxford.”
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Follow
@davidrcoggins
on Instagram
And tune in for more of his insights
next month!
More stories to explore…
ON THE GRIDThe style rules you should break, according to menswear personality Lawrence Schlossman
THE EDIT: APRÈS HIKERugged, relaxed and ready for a well-earned post-trek hangout
DENIM CAREHow to take care of your jeans (and the planet)