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Your Rules to Break (or Bend)

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  • Your Rules to Break (or Bend)

    Being fairly new at the practice of dressing well (I started last October), I'm still early in the process of feeling out what works for me and what doesn't. The more time I spend on the pursuit though, the more I realize that "the rules" generally work very well across the board. The general advice of pairing lots of blues/grays/browns together for the basics just works for most of us, and it makes getting the basics of matching and contrast far easier to execute well. So does the advice to avoid black suits, and pairing browns and blacks in dress choices. More than once I thought I knew better, only to see the wisdom of many outweigh my own when given enough time to realize it.

    That said, I've stumbled on at least one that I think doesn't hold very well for me, and I'm curious what rules you've had to bend or break because doing so it better for you.

    The rule: The first suits should be navy and charcoal.

    Good basis for it, especially if you work in a conservative work environment. I think there's a case to be made for an updated twist though, especially since so few of us work in that kind of environment. Most of us are wearing suits out of desire rather than need to conform.

    My bend: Pair one lighter and one darker of the accepted rule. Replace navy or charcoal with a medium blue or medium gray.

    A true navy looks pretty bad on me. I have no idea why, but it simultaneously highlights the reds and the pale in my complexion. I don't suffer the same effect from black shirts, nor from charcoal suits. But replacing that navy with a much less dark (but not flashy) blue works very well. In my case I chose the Combat Gent Slate Blue Sharkskin suit. Similarly, for charcoal I prefer a medium gray. They go the same places and do the same things. I don't think I'd recommend taking lighter colors with both options, in part for the same reason that I think charcoal and navy are unwise together, that being color temperature. I think the wiser pairing is a one lighter and one darker, however it plays best for you. A bit lighter blue and a charcoal, or a navy and a medium gray. It's not a huge step away from the accepted norm, but that's what a bend is all about.

    So what are your tweaks or breaks, and whats the reasoning behind them?

  • #2
    Originally posted by ronrob View Post
    A true navy looks pretty bad on me. I have no idea why, but it simultaneously highlights the reds and the pale in my complexion.
    Like this?



    One "rule" I break is the "proper" length for untucked shirts--all of mine are too long, according to most recommendations. That's because I'm 6'5" with a (relatively) short torso sitting on top of long, gangly legs. If I follow the traditional rule, I look like an ostrich.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by facelessghost View Post
      One "rule" I break is the "proper" length for untucked shirts--all of mine are too long, according to most recommendations. That's because I'm 6'5" with a (relatively) short torso sitting on top of long, gangly legs. If I follow the traditional rule, I look like an ostrich.
      Perfect reason to break a rule, imho.

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      • #4
        I wear white socks (that show) with my shorts/summer pants. Granted, they are low rise, and only show about 1/4" above my sneakers, but still. The "rule" is that white socks are reserved for the gym. Or, that they shouldn't show.

        I personally despise the idea of going sockless, to the point that I don't even like the sockless look. They just happen to be white because that goes best with my sand colored canvas sneakers. So I show a little bit of sock. Sue me.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Mr. Charles View Post
          I personally despise the idea of going sockless, to the point that I don't even like the sockless look. They just happen to be white because that goes best with my sand colored canvas sneakers. So I show a little bit of sock. Sue me.
          *gasp*

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          • #6
            White crew neck t showing, sometimes, under a dress shirt. I like the look from time to time.

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            • #7
              Oxford laced shoes with chinos and denim. Granted, the shoes are pretty casual and distressed.

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              • #8
                For whatever reason, it seems as though medium (and even light) grey is a much more common color for suits than is a non-navy blue, at least for business dress. So, I think that navy and grey would be bending the rule much less than would blue and charcoal.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Rocco View Post
                  Oxford laced shoes with chinos and denim. Granted, the shoes are pretty casual and distressed.
                  I certainly do this. McTavishs and Neumoks are pretty much made for this in my opinion.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Pepetito View Post
                    I certainly do this. McTavishs and Neumoks are pretty much made for this in my opinion.
                    I agree. I know there are some who detest it!

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                    • #11
                      We do this thread every three months. Why is this topic so popular?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Evenflow View Post
                        White crew neck t showing, sometimes, under a dress shirt. I like the look from time to time.
                        On casual friday's (only day I'm not always wearing a tie), I prefer to have the crisp white normal undershirt showing. I dislike the v neck undershirt and showing off chest hair. Not a fan.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by LosRockets View Post
                          We do this thread every three months. Why is this topic so popular?
                          Really? I hadn't seen it yet. My apologies.

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                          • #14
                            Oh lol it's not a problem. I think for a lot of people, old and new, they can be instructive and therapeutic. Just making an observation. I have my theories as to why they recur but they're not important. As for your tweaks, I'd say I agree about the first gray suit being a dark/mid gray over a charcoal for many complexions. Can't think of one for myself right now.

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                            • #15
                              The Rule: Wearing a light coloured sportscoat over a dark coloured pants. Example, Light Grey jacket with navy pants.

                              I feel this rule is traditional and most modern menswear forums/blogs are okay with it. It is however, overwhelmingly inferior to navy jacket + grey pants. I guess I break this rule because I just have too many left over navy pants from my less knowledgeable days.

                              The Rule: Loafers with suits

                              More like tthis and less like this.

                              There's no real good reason I'm breaking this rule aside from the fact that I just like loafers a lot.

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