31 March 2009

It All Comes Together (relativity and scale)

Pattern mixing can be a slippery slope if you're not careful. But when executed correctly, it will really set you off from the sartaraily conformist crowd. The real trick is to develop a feel for color, contrast and relative scale.

This outfit contains three distinct patterns (four if you count the socks). Yet, at a distance of 4 or 5 feet, only the most prominent one, the plaid of the jacket stands out.Closer inspection reveals a richer story. All patterns, and a bright square. It shouldn't work but it does. Why? Plaid, paisley, stripes...the patterns are all different. Large, medium small... they are all of a different scale, and as such do not compete, but work together. Anchors...the orange pocket square and olive green pants hold it all down. Texture...the roughness of the jacket against the mid-smoothness of the oxford shirt, against the smoothness of the gabardine slacks, against the tactile interest of suede shoes.
Think of this heavily earth tone outfit as my lead up study to wearing the damn olive suit I just bought. It's funny. I can throw together patterns like there's no tomorrow, but I can't figure out a green suit.
p.s. I rode a bike in this outfit today, shoes and all. Subtitle this post "Cycling Attire part 2"
p.p.s. a question: are fair isle sweaters a fall/winter thing, or can I wear one in the sunny 50 degree Boston weather? advice appreciated.


Young Fogey said...

Wow! Snazzy as always. You mix patterns with flair.

The only part of the ensemble I would change is the socks. That's because they're so light they could be mistaken for white sweat socks--which I'm certain they aren't.

It seems to me that if these colors suit you--and I have no reason to believe they don't--then you should be able to pull off the olive suit. Then again, maybe the olive suit isn't the right shade for you (hard to tell across this here Intarweb thingie).

Anonymous said...

Sharp. Sharp, sharp, sharp.

Anonymous said...

Una combinazione veramente superba!

Anonymous said...

Pattern mixing is alchemy: there is no formula. You only know gold when you see it.

Mikey said...

I've been wondering the same thing all week. I've answered "no" to myself every morning, and I think it is the right answer. However, I really like wearing a sweater with shorts. Stick to the cable knit for spring.

(check out norwegian sweater with seersucker shorts at arestlesstransplant: http://picasaweb.google.com/foster.huntington/CharlestonSC?feat=embedwebsite#5317698889546621010)

C said...

Very nice G. That square really pops. I really do like your pattern mixing. I'm starting to learn, but thankfully if something goes horribly wrong I can always go back to white oxford + whatever.


Unknown said...

I disagree with the gentleman above. I think fair isle (depending on the base color) makes a fine spring pattern. I'm thinking specifically of a camel-based fair isle in particular. I think if you throw on some other spring tones, you can pick up some of the brighter colors in the fair isle pattern. My 2 cents.

The Cordial Churchman said...

You've emboldened me to do a bit more pattern mixing. I've heretofore been afraid of having more than ONE pattern going.

You've been featured, by the way, as one of the indispensible men's style resources on the web by artofmanliness.com . That's a really cool site, by the way.

pasquale said...

while on the subject of cycling attire do check out;


That video is up your alley even though you may rock a Sturmey Archer now the simplicity of style of an old fixie is forever.

Middle-aged Diva (Carol) said...

Great post! You explained it so well and it looks fabulous.