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Cords 22.1



I have written about the beauty of cords before. I have written about fine wale, wide wale, pleats and no pleats. I have also written about the difficult in pairing bold cords. This is not my first set of thoughts on the matter. Yet there is always something more to say. There is always some other little avenue to explore, and when it comes to style, in discussing an item or an idea as referencing a particular outfit, new insights or helpful ideas seem to always come. It is a new autumn and I think touching a bit on bright cords and incorporating them into an outfit seems like an appropriate thing to do.


Cords are a classic. Simple cords are easy to pair. Tan and brown cords are essentially like pairing chinos. It is easy. The same goes for navy cords and charcoal cords. When it comes to the bold, daring and bright colors things are different. Bright and bold cords are essentially GTH pants for the winter. They essentially function the same way and when pairing them, the same pitfalls occur. The pitfalls being that they are so eye catching that they swallow up most of the energy and leave no room for any other bold pieces. With them you carry a high risk of looking like a clown. You need to be careful with these fun pants.


The problem of finding the right match comes less with a shirt or the jacket. A white shirt is always easy, a navy blazer is always a reliable choice. The difficulties most often come with the tie. It can be quite hard to get a tie that works in a beautiful way with bold cords. It is hard to fully explain why but you can pull 10 ties off the rack to try to pair with some daring cords and even though 8 out of 10 should work in theory, they don't work at all when you hold them up against your shirt and jacket. Theory only goes so far. It can be really difficult to thread this needle. Of course you can always go without a tie and everything is easily taken care of. No problems. But if you want a challenge, and you want to thread the needle a bit, if you want to explore some and nail down some fits that take a bit more work to bring together, forging forward in the mission of pairing a tie is a good way to get outside the box a bit.


Moving on to the outfit found above. I love pairing this dark green patterned sport coat with these yellow cords. Green and yellow is a beautiful combination but not used so often. The richness of this green, the subtlety of the pattern paired with the bright intensity of the yellow cords feels so full. It feels so vibrant. It feels alive and organic. A white shirt is the obvious choice. If I wasn't going to do a tie, a blue university stripe would have worked as well. I resolved to add a tie so the choice was clear - a white OCBD. I went through probably 6 or 7 ties with this, none really worked. I even tried a few dark burgundy ties with motifs. Nothing worked. Of course, as is so common in situations like this the answer is to keep it simple. This rich burgundy wool knit tie (vintage thrift for $2.99) locked everything right into place, there was no question.


There is a very faint burgundy thread in the sport coat if you look closely. The tie locks right up with this with a subtle wink. The simplicity brings everything down without any crowding or competition. The burgundy creates a sort of spread in the color so we have all different corners represented. Yellow, white, green (dark cool), burgundy (dark warm). This tie feels distinct and solid, yet subdued. All of this together feels autumnal, rich and vibrant yet not clownish. It is lush and interesting, yet it isn't so eye catching so as to be obnoxious. This outfit is rich with texture as well. The cords, the dynamic texture of the knit tie and the fuzzy warmth of the wool sport coat creates an outfit that feels so deep, so warm with texture.


When it comes to working with bold cords every outfit is a new adventure. I will delve into lots of other cord combinations this autumn and winter. There are serious risks, the chance of clownishness is not small. You need to have a large selection of ties and sport coats to really put something together reliably and enjoyably, but if you have those things I think bold cords bring a dash of energy and excitement to the cold months. Everything doesn't have to be continually dim and dark for months on end. There is a place for that, of course. I wear more muted colors in the cold months. It is natural. But, there is also a right place for a bit of color, a dash of energy. Bold cords. when done right feel completely natural when incorporated in the right way at the right time.

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