“Some people would say that you should always wear a white shirt in the evening. I still know men who will insist on it. White is more formal, it’s more flattering to your face under artificial light and it looks cleaner and sharper.” — Simon Crompton, as interviewed by GQ (the rest is a good read, by the way)

Consider Buff

In classic men’s style, it’s often easier to wear darker ties because a man’s tie is supposed to be darker than his shirt. There are a few exceptions, however. Take for example, ties with a buff-colored background. Buff is a kind of pale yellow-brown color that got its name from buff leather. The color is mostly seen on formal and informal waistcoats, but every so often, you’ll see it on ties as well. 

The picture above is from Patrick Johnson. It shows a man wearing a buff colored tie with a navy striped suit and light-blue dress shirt. The two tones of blue are subdued and conservative, and they contrast and complement well with the brightly colored tie. This would work just as well with a dark brown sport coat and a white and grey striped dress-shirt, especially if you were wearing it during a cool autumn or cold winter season. 

The most versatile ties will always be in dark blues, browns, greens, and reds, but it doesn’t hurt to have a little variety here and there. Buff colored ties can help you stand out without being loud or obnoxious, and they look great if you pair them with the right colors. You can get wool challis ties in this color right now from Drake’s, but if you want something a bit more affordable, there are also these options from Ralph Lauren and E. Marinella on eBay, as well as this Madder print from Sam Hober. Land’s End and Brooks Brothers have some that are a bit more yellow in tone, but I suppose they could also work in the same way. 

The Color Purple

Most men rely on standard colors for their wardrobe - blues, greys, and browns, in various shades and textures. These are good foundational colors since they’re easy to wear and complement each other well. However, only relying on these colors get a bit boring, and eventually cease to excite the eye. As such, it’s good to have a few secondary colors in your wardrobe just to break things up a bit. Salmon pink, hunter green, and bordeaux are all very nice, but today I’ll talk about purple. 

Purple can make a statement since it’s a unique color. However, it’s so closely related to blue that it can also feel familiar and sophisticated. Purple is also much more versatile than men give it credit for. It complements many of the standard colors men wear and serves a good substitute for blue. For example, a dark, deep purple tie goes well with a tan jacket and light blue shirt, and can be used any time you would otherwise wear a navy tie (though the conservativeness of navy can make it more useful). 

I also recommend purple socks. Michael Drake, co-founder of Drake’s of London, wears them as a personal signature of eccentricity. This past summer, I often wore purple socks with light blue shirts and pants in either a grey tropical wool or tan linen (first picture above). I’ve found that this ensemble goes especially well with brown suede shoes. 

Hardy Amies once said of purple, “I can see no use for this handsome, not unmasculine colour except for ties, socks and handkerchiefs.” I, however, think it can be used for more than accessories. For example, lavender shirts go quite well underneath navy or tan suits. You can pair it with a conservative, charcoal tie, and then have a secondary color in the tie pick up the lavender in your shirt or the color of your suit. This practice seems to be common in Moscow. From my observation, one in six men here on the street will be wearing a lavender shirt, and it always looks good (assuming the shirt fits well). 

The standard palette of grey, brown, and blue is a nice foundation, but don’t neglect to have some secondary colors here or there. Purple works with a number of colors and wearing it well can add variety into your wardrobe. Just don’t overdo it. Wearing too much of it will make you look like Barney, and doing things such as matching purple socks to purple ties will make you look too studied. Purple, in my opinion, should be worn with a healthy dose of nonchalance. 

(pictures above taken from Ethan Desu, A Bit of Color, Men of Habit, and me)

thisfits:

Brunello Cucinelli A/W 2012
It’s good seeing someone dark-skinned like myself modeling Cucinelli. I’ve developed an appreciation for his collections—even going so far as to pick up a few lookbooks from past seasons as inspiration for my own wardrobe. The styling, the cut of the clothes and especially the textures are very appealing, but I’ve always wondered how the muted palette he favors would look on a guy like me.

The answer, in my mind, is “not that great.” Even if you’re model handsome, like this dude is.
If you have a low-contrast complexion - light skin, light hair - I think the palette of Brunello Cucinelli is one you should study carefully. I don’t think anyone does a low-contrast color pallette better than him. Light gray, light blue, light brown and cream are about it, color-wise, and it always looks tremendous. If, that is, you have coloration like Cucinelli’s.
If you don’t, whether you have dark skin or light skin and dark hair, the colors will not flatter. Instead, they’ll look dull and washed out. Then, the texture is all that’s left.

thisfits:

Brunello Cucinelli A/W 2012

It’s good seeing someone dark-skinned like myself modeling Cucinelli. I’ve developed an appreciation for his collections—even going so far as to pick up a few lookbooks from past seasons as inspiration for my own wardrobe. The styling, the cut of the clothes and especially the textures are very appealing, but I’ve always wondered how the muted palette he favors would look on a guy like me.

The answer, in my mind, is “not that great.” Even if you’re model handsome, like this dude is.

If you have a low-contrast complexion - light skin, light hair - I think the palette of Brunello Cucinelli is one you should study carefully. I don’t think anyone does a low-contrast color pallette better than him. Light gray, light blue, light brown and cream are about it, color-wise, and it always looks tremendous. If, that is, you have coloration like Cucinelli’s.

If you don’t, whether you have dark skin or light skin and dark hair, the colors will not flatter. Instead, they’ll look dull and washed out. Then, the texture is all that’s left.

Q and Answer: Purple Pants
No one wrote to ask: Jesse, are you wearing purple corduroy pants today?
Yes, I am.  And also: red socks.

Q and Answer: Purple Pants

No one wrote to ask: Jesse, are you wearing purple corduroy pants today?

Yes, I am.  And also: red socks.

Our Ghanaian friend Barima has some insights on something we’ve been discussing this week: elegance among geeks.
For someone looking to establish himself as something of an “elegant  geek,” a dash of whimsy may see him through. If the department, indeed,  the company has relatively relaxed boundaries on colours or print  designs, he could wear the odd striped or gingham shirt in tasteful  colours. Nothing too loud for reasons of complexion or advancement, I’m  sure. He could also consider the style of his accessories - if he owns a  nice enough watch that suggests good taste, that’s one way around it.  He should also consider texture plays, best deployed through trousers,  belts and footwearHowever, I think knitwear is his ace. Cardigans and long or short  sleeved v-necks in fine wools can take the stead of more formal jackets  yet will still look tasteful, smart and responsible. However, they still  retain that vital nerd cachet. Muted colours won’t make him conspicuous  eitherJust my two pence - or pesewas, as we have here in Accra
Well put.  There’s nothing wrong with a little eccentricity.

Our Ghanaian friend Barima has some insights on something we’ve been discussing this week: elegance among geeks.

For someone looking to establish himself as something of an “elegant geek,” a dash of whimsy may see him through. If the department, indeed, the company has relatively relaxed boundaries on colours or print designs, he could wear the odd striped or gingham shirt in tasteful colours. Nothing too loud for reasons of complexion or advancement, I’m sure. He could also consider the style of his accessories - if he owns a nice enough watch that suggests good taste, that’s one way around it. He should also consider texture plays, best deployed through trousers, belts and footwear

However, I think knitwear is his ace. Cardigans and long or short sleeved v-necks in fine wools can take the stead of more formal jackets yet will still look tasteful, smart and responsible. However, they still retain that vital nerd cachet. Muted colours won’t make him conspicuous either


Just my two pence - or pesewas, as we have here in Accra

Well put.  There’s nothing wrong with a little eccentricity.

thisfits:

IST66 illustrates Put This On’s explanation of how to wear Fall garments in Spring. In this case, the sky blue sweater brightens up the gray herringbone tweed.
You can’t see it in this picture, but he’s also wearing bright striped socks.
(via da-i-net)

Well played.

thisfits:

IST66 illustrates Put This On’s explanation of how to wear Fall garments in Spring. In this case, the sky blue sweater brightens up the gray herringbone tweed.

You can’t see it in this picture, but he’s also wearing bright striped socks.

(via da-i-net)

Well played.

“Rich colors are typical of a rich nature.” — Van Day Truex (Via An Aesthete’s Lament)
The purpose of seasonal dressing is not only to vary the weight of your clothing to account for temperature, but to vary the palette of your clothing to account for the changing colors around you.  Here, Greg from Arizona’s rich palette gains vibrancy from the desert winter colors around him.

The purpose of seasonal dressing is not only to vary the weight of your clothing to account for temperature, but to vary the palette of your clothing to account for the changing colors around you.  Here, Greg from Arizona’s rich palette gains vibrancy from the desert winter colors around him.