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The Pocket Square

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

The pocket square is an item that I feel some men have trouble getting into as they reach the age where they begin to dress more formally.  Reasons for this could be anything from the wearer thinks them to be flamboyant, to they simply don’t know how to fold them.  As for as pocket squares being only for the flamboyant, nothing could be further from the truth.  A pocket square can be as understated and conservative or as loud and exuberant as the wearer wants them to be.

When trying to decide what color pocket square to use remember that you cannot go wrong with white.  A simple white will add another piece to your over all style without taking any risks on putting patterns or colors together.  PocketSquareBy simply folding his white pocket square, creating an thin crisp line above his pocket, this gentleman succeeds in adding interest appropriate for even the most conservative and formal event.

Colors and patterns can also be used with great effect but fight the temptation to buy prefolded or matching  tie and pocket square sets.  These may seem to be ideal but they create a boring look and are best left to the novice dresser.

Choosing a pocket square that you like with your ensemble can be difficult partly because there are no real rules.  Some men will coordinate colors with their tie or shirt but contrast patterns while others will do the opposite.  Some may pull out a minor color in their shirt or tie with a pocket square, while still others may pair it with their socks or cuff links.  Just put some thought behind it experiment a little if you need to.  Before long you will fall into a combination that is all your own.  pocket-square-10This gentleman succeeds in creating an memorable style by contrasting patterns and some color in his shirt, tie and pocket square.  He allows this combination to really stand out, without looking over done, by pairing it with a subdued cream jacket.

Materials can be anything from silk to linen to cotton but its not for wiping your nose.  That is what the handkerchief is for and you keep that in another pocket.

For some basic pattern and color mixing guidelines see Mixing patterns in your suit, shirt and tie.

Here is a great resource for folding pocket squares from Sam Hober.


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Mixing patterns in your suit, shirt and tie.

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

Wearing patterns in your suit, shirt and tie is a great way to add a little character to your look. When mixing patterns some care needs to be taken when choosing what patterns to wear together. As a general rule you should avoid wearing the same pattern on all items, for example a striped shirt, tie, suit.  An exception to this rule is when all the stripes are different. Notice in the picture below the differences between the stripes in the three items. allstripes

I prefer the tie to have the boldest stripes, as in the picture, to help it stand out against everything else.

If you choose to wear both a patterned shirt and tie, such as stripped shirt and a patterned tie, these should be worn with an understated suit.  With so much going on between the shirt and tie a boldly patterned suit could create a look that is too busy.  Remember, the bolder the shirt and tie combination, the plainer the suit should be.  If you want to pair a checked shirt with a stripped suit it is said that the width of the check should be about equal to the width of the stripes of the suit.  In this situation I would suggest a solid or subdued tie to avoid there being to much going on.

Brown and blue

If you have a suit with a pattern such as a tweed, check or bird’s eye I suggest pairing it with a more plain tie and/or shirt because of all the texture the suit or jacket provide.  Below-top is a classic combination perfect for the country or the weekend.  Below-bottom is a bird’s eye suit that uses a solid tie to tone down the patterns of the look while still demonstrating bold contrast through color.  The bolder the check or pattern on the suit the plainer the shirt and/or tie should be under it.  Tweedgrey birdseye

The material of the tie itself also can contribute an interesting touch.  A wool or knitted tie can do what a pattern does by adding texture, even when the color is a solid or very plain.  The most formal ties are silk though.knitted tie

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Coordinating Leather and Metal

Friday, August 28th, 2009

It is important to pay attention to the different textures and materials that you are wearing in order to coordinate appropriately. A truly refined look is won through attention to detail. When laying out your clothes for the day it is important to first think about what shoes you will be wearing. This will in part depend on your expected activities for the day and what clothes you will be wearing.brownshoe

Once you have decided on your shoes move on to your belt. Your belt should coordinate with your shoes in the following way: black with black, brown with brown, and in a similar texture of leather. Browns do not have to match perfectly but should be of a similar shade. A cloth belt will be paired with brown shoes, as they are more casual. belt

After your shoes and belt move on to your watch. If the watch has a leather strap, again coordinate with belt and shoes following the same rules as with the belt. For metal watches or the watch face of your leather strapped watch the color of the metal should be similar to that of the belt buckle. If you do not own multiple watches but have versatile watch that works well on many occasions (such as a metal sport watch) I suggest getting a few different belts that can coordinate with the watch. Breguet

If your shirt has double cuffs and you decide to wear metal cufflinks then you should coordinate the color with your watch and belt buckle. If you wear a tie bar, it too should follow in suit. It is forgivable if wedding bands clash with the overall theme but other rings (especially if warn on your watch hand) should not.

Some of these items are available containing both silver and gold hues. These can be paired with either gold or silver.

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