14 February 2011

All In The Details

I like to stretch out and get flamboyant sometimes (frequently?) in my dress, but I know full well that nothing hits it out of the park like a well executed combination of basics. In today's case, a navy blazer, striped tie and grey flannel slacks:
Menswear tends not to change that much, which can be both a blessing and a curse. It's a blessing in that certain things can last you a lifetime, like this combo here, if you buy quality to start with. It's a curse because things can get drab real quick if you let them. Such clothing can easily wear like a uniform. Throw a patch on the jacket, it's a school uniform. Throw a different patch on it and you're the hotel concierge. The best way to avoid this is, I think, to use tiny details to give it some style, without losing that classic edge.

I'll frequently use a plain white or blue oxford button shirt with a jacket and tie combo like this, but a contrast club collar worn pinned pushes the dressiness level up a notch, without getting out of hand. (Shirt by Brooks Brothers, Italian fabric, made in USA, $4.99)
The very conservative two button cuff of this 3/2 undarted blazer is given some punch by the less conservative two button shirt cuff.

The die hards are gonna twist and turn, but the reverse pleats on these pants break the conservatism another pinch, even though this is an old way of styling pants. I'm generally a flat front guy, but the more time goes by, the more I find myself digging the double reverse pleat. In a year or two these will be fashionable, mark my words. After so many years of being told to avoid pleats like the plague, the fashion industry is bound to tell us the exact opposite anytime now. Never mind all that, it's a styling detail that hails form the 1930s, and it is at home in any tasteful mans wardrobe. (Wool flannel pants by Polo, made in USA,  $7.99)
Nothing could be more conservative than brown Florsheim longwings ($20). Striped socks (Target, $5.99 in a package with two other pair) act like navy socks, only more fun.

Classics are classics for a reason, and they're best worn with an understanding of tradition...only, don't be afraid to tweak 'em. The difference between a stylish take on the old rules and rigid conformity is all in the details.

13 comments:

Young Fogey said...

Great outfit. Love the pants, though ADG is gonna holler at you to get 2" cuffs installed.

I have the same Tar-zhay socks (if you're more than about six feet away, you can't tell they're striped), and just bought four more in other colors and patterns there tonight. Although the quality is lacking, they are affordable, and sometimes quite stylish. I even got a pair with clocks there last year!

I think there is a certain freedom to be had by following the rules. Some people even go the minimalist route and look fantastic--but only by knowing the rules, and how to bend/break them. G's outfit in this post is in the same vein: traditional, yet with tweaks for individuality.

Love it.

Britt Sudduth said...

Nicely Done G. I really admire your ability to turn the basics into cool...all at a nice price!

Britt

Roger said...

Those grey trousers are pure style. And I completely agree that the fashion industry will announce the return of pleating as it suits. They don't cater to you or probably any of the other readers here who wear our trousers as fits the mood, outfit or occasion rather than the current fashion mantra.

Zach said...

Those are double forward pleats. They are made by folding the fabric forward toward the fly. Very English. The only kind of double pleat I like.

Reverse pleats face outward toward the pockets, and although they apparently have an Italian connotation thanks to Brioni, I generally associate them with Jos. A Bank. Crapola.

Stripey socks are all well and good but what really prevents you from looking like a security guard is the white, well-proportioned, club collar.

Giuseppe said...

Right you are Zach, forward pleats. I tend to mistakenly refer to them as "reverse pleats", as in the reverse of the kind I don't like.

Roger,

exactly. That's why my closet also includes both darted and un-darted jackets, two button, three button and four button cuffs, and so forth.

Fred said...

Nice combo..
rules be damned, I love and wear "foward pleats" almost exclusively. Historically they are quite correct.

JKG said...

I have a pair of box-pleat dark gray heavy flannels complete with turn-ups that come out every winter.

Today's lesson in style v. fashion.

Rebecca said...

If that's YOU in the FORWARD double pleats, you definitely are right to promote them! What a great look. It should send every man scrambling to find a pair of his own.

Jho78 said...

Are your longwings shell cordovan? It's hard to tell from the pictures but it looks like they have the telltale "waves" as opposed to fine creases.

Raulston said...

These dressings superbly crafted. The contrasting colors go rather nicely together. The blue blazer and gold buttons are an essential to any gent's wardrobe. Well Done.

Donald said...

Nice look, but please, put some edging on those shoes!

Giuseppe said...

Donald,

I can't find edge dressing anywhere. Bleive me, I've tried. Any suggestions?

Jho78,

honestly, I never considered the possibility of cordovan, but I'm going to do some research. If it turns out that I've been wearing better shoes than I though all this time, then I owe you one.

Suburban Princess said...

I just found your blog and was scrolling down...today, my almost 3 year old son has those same socks on! :O)