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Practical Thoughts on Coherent Combinations for Beginners

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    #16
    Basically, instead of thinking of things as formal/informal, they should be looked at as city/country. Lots of times, combinations don't work because you're mixing city and country... However, it's a spectrum and things will look proper if they remain close to each other on the spectrum.

    Examples of "city" attire:
    solid grey, black, or navy wool suits
    solid navy blazer w/ brass buttons
    solid white or light blue shirts
    black shoes

    Examples of "country" attire:
    brogues (even blamorals)
    anything with a pattern
    suits in anything except wool
    all sport coats

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      #17
      I've tried looking for this post with no success, too.

      Here's what I remember:

      The big distinction was between city/urban and country/rural, and the fact that mixing these two distinct categories of menswear actually does a disservice to both. The origins of these two separate styles come from the nobility of England, and the widely different clothing they would wear while essentially "at court" (in the city) or at their country estates far from London. The city/urban look is characterized by sober, conservative wool suits, minimal accessories, a white or blue dress shirt, a dark conservative tie, and black shoes with no brogueing or other details. The country/rural look is characterized by greater variety, sportiness, and casualness, including suits and sportcoats made from heavy tweeds, cottons, and linens, sport shirts, plaids, brogued shoes and boots, brown leathers instead of black, and so on.

      Basically, the author was lamenting the fact that the city/urban and country/rural traditions have become increasingly watered-down by the modern "menswear" trends of incorporating unconventional, sporty elements into conservative business wardrobes, and vice versa. The "coherent combinations" he refers to are outfits that respect their origins and don't confuse city/urban and country/rural elements simply for the sake of looking trendy or fashionable. A perfectly-fitted, dark-colored business suit is not improved by throwing in a wild pair of socks or a crazy pocket square/tie combination. It can only be perfected by pairing it with appropriately elegant and conservative accessories.

      Those were the basic points that I recall. Reading the article was a game-changer for me, to be honest. I now like to keep my "city," "country," and workwear/casualwear pretty distinct, and don't do a lot of mix-and-match amongst my outfits. I do bend the rules for my own purposes, though... for example, I almost always wear brown shoes rather than black, even with my conservative city outfits.
      Ben

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        #18
        BenR's explanation > my explanation

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          #19
          Wow, that's really helpful, BenR and Alan. Thanks for taking the time to write that out -- and though I've known a bit about city/country this is very, very helpful. Are there other resources out there that would be helpful to learn more about these distinctions? If not, I wonder if we could do the internets world a favor and offer our own spin on this?

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            #20
            The original post was EXTREMELY comprehensive. Iit was probably AT LEAST an hour long read. I feel liek I would be doing the original authro a great disservice in attempting a recreation, but I'll do what I can in the event that nobody can find the original post.

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              #21
              One thought about this: I've noticed that there is another world in menswear that isn't in either of those two camps (English city/ English country), and that's basically "Italy." Or to be more precise, Italian rural coast. Maybe I mean "Amalfi coast." Lighter fabrics, brighter colors, and so on. This isn't reflected in English sartorial history, but it's much more applicable to my climate, at least for about five months of the year. I ran into some trouble last summer when I was trying to dress like English gentry in an Atlanta heat wave, and then realized that there was an option besides "screw it, wear flip flops and mesh shorts."

              I think some classification would really help me, and I am guessing it could help others.

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                #22
                Folks could offer bits and pieces here and there. No need to churn out the whole thing all at once. But as a teaching aid, it would be incredible.

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                  #23
                  I'll accept your payment of $1MM Internet Dollars now.

                  http://web.archive.org/web/201207110...-for-beginners
                  Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society. ~Twain

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                    #24
                    Wow. I will give you two millionish information superhighway-bucks for this feat.

                    Another post I found, much less helpful:
                    http://putthison.com/post/1807875929...use-city-mouse

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                      #25
                      Advice from F. Corbera:

                      "Why are so many guys all over the map within a single outfit? After all, cheap access to a wide variety of well-made clothes has probably never been so pervasive, nor the variety of choice so extensive. The world lays its goods at the feet of nearly every man. So, why is there such incoherence?

                      I conclude that there are two reasons.

                      First, many of the currently-active posters are over-reaching their environment. You have consciously made the decision to dress in tailored clothes, or wish to do so at a level of refinement, atypical among those with whom you interact personally. Your first step, then, is to smack the pick axe at some point in the city spectrum. But you have doubts. It seems “too formal,” the ice too cold. So, you begin the process of rusticating your city look: “Hello, crazy socks. Welcome to my breast pocket, multi-colored square. Take a seat around my neck, wooly tie.”
                      Second, you just have not learned what goes together. You did not learn it or observe it around you growing up. Your friends and work mates do not know either. And all the books, magazines and material online seem to offer advice only on those three basics: color coordination; pattern and texture coordination; and contrast combination."

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                        #26
                        This is sharp-tongued but very insightful stuff.

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                          #27
                          Originally posted by BB View Post
                          This is sharp-tongued but very insightful stuff.
                          Styleforum has little patience for dressing badly. They think very highly of themselves. They like to compare their $50k shoe collections. that beign said, a lot of them really seem to know what they're doing.

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                            #28
                            I'm enjoying reading this again. It reminds me of just how much a novice I really am, even though I sometimes feel like I've got nothing else to learn.
                            Ben

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                              #29
                              Originally posted by LesserBlackDog View Post
                              I'm enjoying reading this again. It reminds me of just how much a novice I really am, even though I sometimes feel like I've got nothing else to learn.
                              Practice makes perfect, but in this case, practice can be very expensive!

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                                #30
                                Originally posted by alan View Post
                                Practice makes perfect, but in this case, practice can be very expensive!
                                Don't I know it.
                                Ben

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