Friday, May 4, 2012

Classic on the Coast

You can never go wrong with classic pieces well assembled. 

Outfits such as this are so versatile.  With a discerning use of accessories you can nudge the overall flavor in any direction.  Here she uses them to lean towards the youthful, playful side.  Beautiful, and perfect for a day out on the coast.

Summer's coming!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Most Fashionable?

Thought this was interesting - I was born in the OC (10 minutes from Irvine), Lived most of my life in LA, and now currently live in NYC.

The keyword here is "fashionable".  Not "stylish".  This list is essentially based on money spent on clothes.

Remember, you don't need to spend a lot of money to be stylish.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Color Balance, Men's Edition

The suit, shirt, and tie are great.  Yawn.  The pocket square and silk cuff links playing off the tie to provide the punch?  Drool.

(Ok, not really Yawn.  The cut of the suit is irreprehensible.  The super-wide collar and the texture of the tie are fantastic.  I was just trying to add punch to my point.)

Another example.  Bonus points for the lapel pin.  And the construction of that blazer's shoulder is immaculate.

I usually don't like things being too matchy-matchy (in this case I mean the shirt, pocket square, and socks in the same exact color/pattern), but I'll still totally endorse this incarnation. 

Monday, April 23, 2012


We come into this world head first and go out feet first; in between, it is all a matter of balance.
~ Paul Boese

Paul Boese, a Dutch botanist of little repute but a great source for quotes (thanks Google), expressed a universal principle that is always relevant in style.  I expounded on it in a previous post as it applies to color, but it's just as important in choosing pieces that combine with each other.

Look at the example above.  Ripped jean shorts ("Jorts", if you like - though I only use that term when meant derogatively) with a heather gray blazer + crisp white button-down?  If you had told me without showing me you would have heard me snort some retort about jorts.  (sorry)

But as you can see above, it works.  And the key is in the scarf.  There's a hint of "business neck-tie" combining deliciously with the playful flair of the color, weight, and pattern.  The super-casual shorts on bottom is provided a counter point on top.  (The cut of the blouse - particularly those collar points - are subtly important as well.)  Balance.

How about men's style?  Let's consider one of the most abused high/low trends of the past several years:  pairing suits with sneakers. 

Done carefully, it can work beautifully.

Bam.  The playful punch of the shirt and tie (the hat helps, too) means that those socks and sneakers are not out of place.  Balance.  Another example:

Bam, works.  The horizontal-striped cardigan helps break the inherent formality of the suit, while the pocket square offers the casual counterpoint to the sneakers.  Balance.

But what about this one?

Here's one I would argue doesn't work.  While I love the elements, there's a lack of balance.  The feel of the top half is button-downed prep.  The tie is cleanly knotted, the pocket square is a clean flatly-folded square.  The belt looks like a finely braided brown leather.  Yes, the sleeves are a bit rolled up, but that's not enough for the SHOCKING PURE WHITE CANVAS SNEAKERS.  Sorry for the caps, but that's how my eyes feel when I see those shoes anchoring this ensemble.  Cover the shoes and the outfit is beautiful.  It's not a disaster by any means.  But as it is, it is unbalanced.

(I chose the above example because everything else works except for the balance.  There are no shortage of suit+sneaker disasters that you can find if so desired.  Rule of thumb:  don't wear Air Force Ones with a suit.  Just don't.)

Just to show you that I'm not hating on this collection, here's an example from the same:

Beautiful.  (Check out the link, there are a lot of wonderful looks.)

Successfully pulling off the high-low act is a bit of a tightrope.  Always keep your balance.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Don't be an Alien

Why doesn't this work?  (In my opinion.  You're always entitled to keep yours.)

One of the fundamentals of dress is that the overall shape should always be attractive.  Details and flourishes are important, but they won't help you in silhouette.  And even though you may not be appearing in an ipod ad, the overall shape of your outfit will have an overriding effect on the way you look.

So how does this outfit measure up?  Take a look:

Not a good look.  Unless you've really been working on your traps and triceps. 

I need to add that I'm reluctant to totally dump on this outfit.  It's bold and playful, which we can usually use a bit more of, generally speaking.  And it's a bit unfair to do the silhouette thing to a single pose and angle.  But looking at the original image (with details intact), I couldn't shake the feeling that it reminded me of something.  Then it dawned on me.

Good rule of thumb:  Don't remind people of the Alien.