Caroline Matthews / Dos Carolinas (San Antonio)
It was late August. We’d only been in San Antonio a couple months - not long enough to be re-indoctrinated into the sartorial limitations of the Texas summer - when Marjory and I were asked by some new friends to fill some empty seats at their table… a benefit for the Museo Alameda. We had negronis at the house and hopped a cab the four blocks from our apartment to the venue, arriving for cocktails on the street behind a valet line forty cars deep. Thank God we hadn’t driven. And walking was out of the question... 100% humidity in full tux and high heels. For an hour we stood outside, alternating between wine and water in an attempt to mitigate the effects that extreme heat has on someone wearing head-to-toe black wool.
As I drifted in and out of heat stroke I noticed a sizeable contingent of folks who were not subjected to my same level of discomfort. The common thread: they were all wearing formal, linen Guayaberas, a shirt of questionably provenance distinctive style that does a hell of a job helping folks cope with hot weather. Ever since then I’ve been meaning get one, both for everyday as well evening wear; the question was, “where to?”, and overwhelmingly the response was, “Dos Carolinas”…
It took a year but we finally made it by Caroline Matthews’ Southtown studio. The process is simultaneously simple - (i) Select fabric (ii) Pick colors for stitching (iii) Select stitching pattern (iv) How many pockets? (v) Embroidery (yes, of course)... what and where? – and exhausting (by my calculation there are 647 million different combinations from which to choose). But the result, a hand-cut-San Antonio-made-custom-Guayabera, is really the manifestation of a decision well-made. That is… acting on an appreciation for quality craftsmanship and a willingness to pay for the story.