asuitablewardrobe:

Prince Philip in contrasting textures and a block stripe necktie.

One of the most common questions we get at Put This On is about pattern matching. How is it done? How many patterns can one wear?
The rules for pattern matching are pretty simple - vary scale and type of pattern significantly. Prince Philip’s simple outfit above actually features a few simple patterns - the tie, the coat, the square. That said, there are plenty of other ways to have an interesting outfit.
I don’t feel a need to compete in the pattern sweepstakes. If you see me on the street, the odds I’m wearing a bunch of crazy patterns are low. If I’m in a coat and tie, the pants and shirt are solid-colored, and the coat and tie may be, too. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Derek’s a great advocate for being aware of texture, and I’m behind him 10,000%. I love texture in part because it’s as much for me as for those I interact with. I can feel it with my hands and body. It’s a physical pleasure. Even a cashmere tie, which touches only my shirt and coat while I’m wearing it, is a joy to put on.
It’s why I love the big bold ridges of cavalry twill trousers, the toughness of a heavy oxford shirt or the flannel of an old-style baseball cap. The textures are like a nest.
And they look good, too.

asuitablewardrobe:

Prince Philip in contrasting textures and a block stripe necktie.

One of the most common questions we get at Put This On is about pattern matching. How is it done? How many patterns can one wear?

The rules for pattern matching are pretty simple - vary scale and type of pattern significantly. Prince Philip’s simple outfit above actually features a few simple patterns - the tie, the coat, the square. That said, there are plenty of other ways to have an interesting outfit.

I don’t feel a need to compete in the pattern sweepstakes. If you see me on the street, the odds I’m wearing a bunch of crazy patterns are low. If I’m in a coat and tie, the pants and shirt are solid-colored, and the coat and tie may be, too. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Derek’s a great advocate for being aware of texture, and I’m behind him 10,000%. I love texture in part because it’s as much for me as for those I interact with. I can feel it with my hands and body. It’s a physical pleasure. Even a cashmere tie, which touches only my shirt and coat while I’m wearing it, is a joy to put on.

It’s why I love the big bold ridges of cavalry twill trousers, the toughness of a heavy oxford shirt or the flannel of an old-style baseball cap. The textures are like a nest.

And they look good, too.

Wearing Boring Outerwear

Next to tailored clothing and shoes, most of my clothing budget is spent on outerwear. In my closet are some field jackets – the kind with two pockets at the chest and two at the hips. Then I have some coats with various belted riggings, which are used to help cinch in the waist, as well as some “designer” pieces with unusual pocket placements. It’s said that these sorts of jackets are often inspired by hunting coats, but I can’t imagine anyone who has bought these sorts of things (including me) has ever hunted for anything but their keys and an open bar. 

Some of my coats, however, are quite simple. Boring, even. There’s a waxed cotton Barbour Bedale, which I bought in the standard dark green colorway. It has a corduroy collar, but the overall look is so generic at this point that the jacket has become almost nondescript. I also have a heavy Melton wool pea coat from Buzz Rickson, a green barn coat from LL Bean Signature, and a brown, waxed field coat from last season’s Barbour x Norton & Sons line. The brown field coat actually looks something like this vintage piece I found on eBay over the weekend.

Each of these lack the kind of bells and whistles that can make an outfit interesting, so to balance things out, I sometimes layer in some heavy, textured knitwear. Above are some examples. Underneath the pea coat is a very subtly textured, black Shetland, which is also from last season’s Barbour x Norton & Sons range. Underneath the LL Bean Signature barn coat and waxed cotton Bedale are some heavy, cream-colored sweaters, which are from Inis Meain. The first is a basket weave sweater that’s been made with an open interlocking lacing on the front body. The second is your standard cable knit Aran, although done to Inis Meain’s design. Finally, underneath the brown field coat is also an Aran from Inis Meain, but this time, in navy. The pairing of blue jeans and a navy sweater can sometimes look off, but the jeans here, I think, are light enough that there’s enough contrast.

The chunkiness of these sweaters and their texturally interesting designs help make boring outerwear pieces look slightly less boring. If you wanted to wear a scarf with these, it would be better to stick to something that’s also solid-colored, but textured - such as a grey cabled knit. That way, no element sticks out too much on its own. By relying on complementary colors and playing with textures, you can make outfits look interesting without needing to turn to the brashness of patterns or unusual design details. It’s a quieter, arguably more sophisticated, way of making a statement. 

(Pictured above: sweaters and coats as described; straight legged 14.5oz selvedge denim jeans from 3sixteen; undyed thick harness leather belt from Don’t Mourn Organize, made with a buckle bought at Slash Clothing; and shell cordovan boots from Brooks Brothers)

Real People: Texture over Pattern

Bold graphic pattern is an easy way to make men’s clothing interesting, since, as a whole, the cut of what we wear is circumscribed within a pretty tight space by traditions and what’s socially acceptable (otherwise we’d all be draped in sumptuous velvet). However, complementary tones and texturally complex fabrics can be quietly interesting without the brashness of wild patterns.

Nam in Jersey City consistently wears simple, clean-lined shapes in cool tones of blue, gray, and stone, and differentiates them with chambray, linen, flecked wool, and open-weave cotton knits. (The cardigan he’s wearing in the upper right photo is especially awesome; beware the air tie, though—an advanced maneuver for sure.) I like the way he wears a consistent pant length either by hemming or rolling to ankle length. It’s flattering and has the added benefit of showing off some suede shoes and matte white sneakers.

-Pete

The Advantage of Textured Ties
This photo of Oscar de la Renta perfectly demonstrates one of the things I love most about textured ties. In an ensemble with a solid colored jacket and shirt, a textured tie can help break up the plainness. Without it, the ensemble can look a bit flat and uninteresting. That’s why I like to have at least two patterns in whatever I wear. 
At the same time, with two patterns like you see here – worn through de la Renta’s shirt and pocket square – opting for texture allows you to combine things a bit more easily and with less thought. If the tie were patterned, one would have to consider how well the numerous colors play together and whether the types and scales of patterns clashed. Not with a textured tie, however. It looks just as comfortable against a solid color as it does a pattern, and when you don’t want to bother with thinking about what goes with what in the morning, reaching for a grenadine or silk knit can often be a very safe choice. 
(Photo via voxsart)

The Advantage of Textured Ties

This photo of Oscar de la Renta perfectly demonstrates one of the things I love most about textured ties. In an ensemble with a solid colored jacket and shirt, a textured tie can help break up the plainness. Without it, the ensemble can look a bit flat and uninteresting. That’s why I like to have at least two patterns in whatever I wear. 

At the same time, with two patterns like you see here – worn through de la Renta’s shirt and pocket square – opting for texture allows you to combine things a bit more easily and with less thought. If the tie were patterned, one would have to consider how well the numerous colors play together and whether the types and scales of patterns clashed. Not with a textured tie, however. It looks just as comfortable against a solid color as it does a pattern, and when you don’t want to bother with thinking about what goes with what in the morning, reaching for a grenadine or silk knit can often be a very safe choice. 

(Photo via voxsart)

On Contrast and Balance

Dressing well means pulling things together that both match and contrast, and in doing so, striking a balance. Basic pattern mixing, for example, should involve varying patterns by type and scale. A striped shirt can sit well behind a bolder striped tie and glen plaid suit, or maybe even a windowpane. 

Stephen Pulvirent, the writer behind The Simply Refined, recently wrote about the advantages of mixing “hard” and “soft” garments. Hard garments are things such as crisp white shirts, polished calf shoes, and any metal jewelry, while soft garments are flannels, challis ties, and wool sweaters. Wearing too many soft garments can make you look a bit sloppy and too relaxed, while wearing too many hard garments can make you seem rigid and stiff. Pulvirent admits that there are exceptions - a tweed jacket, corduroys, wool sweater, and suede loafers go quite well together - but he suggests that mixing the two is best. It’s a potentially controversial idea, but not one without some nugget of wisdom.

I think there are other dimensions that are worth striking a contrast. A textured tie such as a woven grenadine or silk knit can sit well against the flatness of poplin or smoothness of gabardine. Likewise, a man should consider how he balances between the shine and dullness of his clothes. A lustrous silk tie looks good next to a dry linen pocket square, and a tie in a duller fabric, such as wool or cotton, is perfectly complemented by a shiny pocket square in a printed solid or foulard. Similarly, the gleam of a man’s tie or well polished shoes can act as a good counterbalance to his otherwise matte ensemble.

There are ways of doing this poorly, of course. A satin tie would not go well with a tweed jacket and winter wools shouldn’t be mixed with summer linens. Though you want things to contrast, nothing you wear should stand out on it’s own; everything should harmonize. But that’s why we seek to both match and contrast, and in doing so, we strike a balance.

da-i-net:

post #11290
SF.net/WAYWRN

A lot of folks write to me and ask about pattern mixing. Using multiple patterns can be effective, but so can solids. Note that while color and texture are varied here, pattern is not. Every piece (save the fine dots on the square) is a solid. And it looks tremendous.

da-i-net:

post #11290

SF.net/WAYWRN

A lot of folks write to me and ask about pattern mixing. Using multiple patterns can be effective, but so can solids. Note that while color and texture are varied here, pattern is not. Every piece (save the fine dots on the square) is a solid. And it looks tremendous.

youdontmeet:

Permanent style :: Huntsman tweed suit: Part 1
Delightful, especially the smoothness and luster of the tie against the tweed.

Agreed completely.  Texture is such an important part of dressing, and so under-considered, perhaps because it’s hard to photograph for a fashion magazine.  If you take a look at the Cary Grant photo we published yesterday, the colors are incredibly simple - it’s the textures that are doing the work.

youdontmeet:

Permanent style :: Huntsman tweed suit: Part 1

Delightful, especially the smoothness and luster of the tie against the tweed.

Agreed completely.  Texture is such an important part of dressing, and so under-considered, perhaps because it’s hard to photograph for a fashion magazine.  If you take a look at the Cary Grant photo we published yesterday, the colors are incredibly simple - it’s the textures that are doing the work.

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.

British Style Genius - The Street Look Pt. 2

The rest as the week unfolds.

Will from A Suitable Wardrobe strikes again.
What I love about this - and you may have to click through to see it - is the textures.  The blue tweed (don’t see a lot of that) has a beautiful herringbone that compliments the flatness of the moleskin trousers and the vibrance of the silk scarf.  The green (with a blue stripe) hat sets the whole thing off — suitably unfussy for a Sunday outfit.
I’m also a sucker for a nice shirt jacket.  I grew up in the mild climate of San Francisco, where “cool” is as cold as it gets, and it’s perfect.  A few months ago, I bought a camel-colored “shacket" from Freeman’s Sporting Club, and I’ve worn it twice a week since.

Will from A Suitable Wardrobe strikes again.

What I love about this - and you may have to click through to see it - is the textures.  The blue tweed (don’t see a lot of that) has a beautiful herringbone that compliments the flatness of the moleskin trousers and the vibrance of the silk scarf.  The green (with a blue stripe) hat sets the whole thing off — suitably unfussy for a Sunday outfit.

I’m also a sucker for a nice shirt jacket.  I grew up in the mild climate of San Francisco, where “cool” is as cold as it gets, and it’s perfect.  A few months ago, I bought a camel-colored “shacket" from Freeman’s Sporting Club, and I’ve worn it twice a week since.