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Executing 3 Bold Items In One Setting



Anyone who has read my writing or listened to my thoughts and ideas on my approach to clothing knows I generally err on the side of simplicity and generally recommend including only 1 bold element at a time, with the rest of the pieces in a given outfit remaining neutral. I believe that if one follows this recommendation, one will never look clownish due to over-crowding or over-complexity.


As you can see, the outfit above has 3 bold elements, the shirt, sport coat and tie. This is more bold elements than I generally wear. Including more bold elements into a single setting like this is more risky, but if one feels very comfortable and certain in their own personal development of style, with a clear eye and understanding of what they are doing, it can work. To my mind, there are some clear keys to why this looks pleasing and there are, of course, with all elements of style some subjective, nuanced, wispy clues as well, and a hard-to-pin-down feeling-sense as to why something works.


First, there is a clear home in terms of the general hue. In the case of this outfit, it is a yellow / warm beige. Everything orbits this home / hue. All of the elements share this sort of shared hue origin-feeling while none of them being the exact same color as another element. They all vary in distance from this shared home. The chinos, on the lighter stone side, the university stripe shirt on the warmer yellow side, and the sport coat on the duller beige side. The tie is also related to this home / hue, but with it's colors departing the farthest. Olive green and orange. The tie is the smallest element of the outfit. It is also the piece which departs farthest from the home / hue. The colors which are present on the tie are the most striking and contrasting both within the tie and the outfit. The colors present in the tie lie the farthest from the home / hue on opposing ends of the spectrum. The tie hints at colors found in the fabric of the sport coat. There is both orange thread and olive green thread in the sport coat pattern, yet again, not the exact same shades of these colors. When the colors in two pieces are the exact same, sometimes it can feel a bit too "match-y".


Second, the varying patterns present in this setting are of different sizes which help to minimize unpleasant tension one feels between them, and helps distinguish them as differing elements and helps to create a pleasing sight to the eye.


Third, the home / hue where the outfit is based is very muted. It isn't red, green, navy or dark brown. The home / hue is the most neutral of colors. Yellow / warm beige. That this starts from such an unoffensive color-place helps to minimize the complexity in the outfit. If the home / hue was more bold, it could feel a bit too in your face, flashy etc...


This complex set of operations doesn't need to go through one's head when you set your clothes for the day. But, this level of analysis and thought helps to explain what exactly is going on and why something looks pleasing. This is useful because if you can understand the theory behind why one outfit looks good, you can then replicate this process and theory / approach on a different day for another outfit with different clothes. This ensures a greater probability of being able to reliably craft the look you would like to present and do so well, without looking "clownish".


Much of beginning to understanding how to dress intentionally in a way and approach that you feel happy with, is refusing to accept "happenstance" or "chance" as an explanation as to why something looks good. It isn't chance. Instead, analyzing and finding the keys to explain why something looks pleasing, so you can then understand and consequently use it reliably to set your clothes in the future is how one begins to get a firm handle on, and solid footing in reliably understanding what will look good, and what won't. Obviously, and this doesn't need to be said but I will say it anyway, there is so much leeway, give and take, and music to all of this. There aren't really rules, but guidelines, starting points, suggestions, inklings, theories. There is a music and vibe to all of it, it isn't some mechanical thing. But, there is a layer of analysis and logic to what works, and what doesn't within this style we love, and it is present whether one is aware of it or not. Becoming aware of this logic and analysis, allows you to maximize your chance of looking how you want to look reliably and consistently. It is with that knowledge and approach that the the music, feeling ,and your own personal touch become even more noticeable and characteristic, because it is set on a beautiful canvas.


Lastly, someone could hate this outfit. I am sure someone does! That's okay! We all have our own personal touch. I, of course think it looks good by both a personal and a certain objective standard, I wouldn't wear it otherwise. But, style is style, and everyone has their own personal style & preference. I write about these things because I hope my thoughts and ideas are of interest to other men who like my approach to style and who are honing their style or (like we all are always doing to an extent) exploring and trying to understand more deeply theirs and others.


Perhaps, hopefully you enjoyed this over a cup of black coffee or a whiskey neat.