Tropical Ivy & Rainforest Trad

I have been MIA from the blog the last two weeks on vacation. I was down in Costa Rica with the family and it was glorious. I don’t get many trad fits off on my vacations. Most of the time we are enjoying the great outdoors, but I do have a few tips for this kind of weather. The type of tropical weather that I am talking about is hot, often humid, and with a good amount of on again/off again rain in the mix. As I said we hike and explore so this is more rainforest trad than your typical resort style tropical ivy.

JPress Madras and Patagonia Baggies

Let’s start with fit. Bigger is better when it comes to hot weather. Baggy clothes or a more refined word might be billowy, allows for a layer of air to get in between you and your clothes. This will help keep you cool. This is one of the reasons why I often size up in my madras shirts especially my popovers. That and it makes my popovers easier to get on and off. If you wear popovers you will relate. Baggier isn’t just better for shirts, but shorts and pants as well.

Sizing is important, but so is fabric. You want a fabric that breathes. Natural fibers are the natural chaoice. It also helps if it can dry quickly. I have mentioned in the past that linen isn’t my thing, but I do have a cheap linen/cotton popover from Target that I like and brought along (see below). I may be coming around on linen. I like it when I can make it look more rugged than refined. More on that later. The fabrics I stuck with are madras, lightweight cotton, and some synthetics which are my Patagonia baggies.

It is going to rain. This is one thing that you have to accept in a rainforest climate. I think my biggest takeaway is that no matter how light your rain jacket is it’s going to be too hot. You have a few choices. You can use an umbrella (a popular local option), wear a ball cap, or just accept being wet. I typically go with a ball cap for light rain or I will put on a long sleeve shirt to soak up the misty rain and remove it after it stops (see my pic with my Costa Rican friend below for an example). The locals all seem to favor PFG gear for this very reason which makes a lot of sense. I may have to give this a go next time around.

Who were the winners on this trip? My Patagonia baggies, J.Press Madras, old Merona brand cotton/linen popover, and green cut off cargo pants were my most worn items. Runners up were my old LE Original Oxford and Jcrew cotton henley which both served as rain jackets on a few occasions. I can’t forget to mention my Ralph Lauren madras cap and much beloved grey t-shirts. My Patagonia web belt also came in handy because it’s light to wear and because it matches nothing it works with everything.

I love visiting Costa Rica. This was my second time there. There will definitely be a third and a fourth. There are volcanoes, beaches, jungles, fresh fruit/juice, gallo pinto, wild life, sweet plantains, friendly people, amazing coffee, and I can’t forget to mention all the cool 4×4’s! Enjoy the bonus pics below!

oxford cloth button down
Jerrod Swanton is a simple man interested in simple, classic, and traditional style.

10 Comments on "Tropical Ivy & Rainforest Trad"

  1. Ashley says:

    I have been several times…I love what they do with pickups, especially Toyotas.

  2. Rob says:

    Where do you recommend visiting in Costa Rica? Do you have any hotels and things to do that you particularly enjoyed?

    • oxford cloth button down says:

      I have spent most of my time around La Fortuna and Quepos/Manuel Antonio. I recommend these areas if you like hiking and the outdoors. There are other cool areas that I want to explore around the gold coast and the Caribbean side. Send me a DM on IG or email me if you have more questions or want more specific recs!

    • Tom Friedman says:

      Short-sleeve madras popovers! My favorite shirt!

  3. Sean says:

    Great pics, and great fits – looks like it was a fun trip! Loving your concept of rainforest trad. When it comes to hot, humid conditions, I’m a big fan of vintage aloha shirts. You get the good vibes, they are typically more subdued, and can be easily dressed up within certain contexts.

  4. Sean says:

    On another note – what is the brand of your cutoff cargos? And did you do the cutting yourself? Love how they look compared to a regular cargo short.

    • oxford cloth button down says:

      Thanks! They are Jcrew Wallace & Barnes fatigues pants that I cut into shorts myself. I find many modern shorts to narrow for my liking.

  5. Joe says:

    Great photos. What brand of shoes please?

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