Urban Menswear Myths #2
It’s usually accepted that a gentleman should stick to a particular color palette, comprised of classic shades and refraining from overly bold items and accessories. Although this perception of the overall ensemble is slowly falling into oblivion, one item in particular has been breaking boundaries and rapidly assuming the spotlight when it comes to introducing color and pattern into an outfit: the sock.
As with so many other elements in menswear, it’s assumed that socks should only be purchased in a variety of solid hues of black, blue, grey and brown. In strictly formal, corporate environments, any kind of subtle alteration is often looked upon sideways, making it all the more easier and somewhat safer, to stick to those basics and avoid unnecessary risks and attention. Make no mistake, even within this range there’s a fiery debate on how socks should match other elements, namely the shoe or the trouser.
However, as the definition of formal is changing by the day, allowing us to present slight glimpses of personality through our attires, be it in the form of a colorful tie, pocket square, cufflink or even socks, now is the time to do so. Sporting a slightly flashier solid or patterned version, should not be faced as provocative, but rather as a strong dash of character. If done right, it’s a perfect way to add visual interest and the right amount of edge to any look. Just don’t go overboard and stay away from childish prints or motifs, but don’t be afraid to show some color; especially with more casual outfits…roll those cuffs and show them socks! Contrasting ankles are a great way to step it up a notch.
Dress to the occasion
One of the aspects which seems to be overlooked in fashion blogs and websites alike, is how one’s outfit should be put together according to a given situation. If we browse through most street style or picture based websites, we’ll most likely be presented with sharply dressed men and women going on and about their daily tasks. Obviously, we all love to see suberbly complex looks, but it seems that the context in which they’re photographed is usually redundant - fashion shows, events, on the way to work…
Certainly those same men and women have vast wardrobes at their disposal, whose contents allow them to dress up or down according to their agenda; it’s just that we often don’t get a chance to see them in different situations. In fact, as I see it, being able to discern “what to wear when/where” is a crucial aspect for stylish individuals: the ability to blend in, while dashingly standing out, simply by portraying an outstanding ensemble.
The truth is not all individuals match their outfits to the situation. In an excessive effort to look good, they sometimes forget to match their clothes to the moment or place, resulting in an inadequate, out of place look. Imagine, for instance, you’re having a sunny Sunday brunch at a seaside venue, the canvas deckchair just screaming your name: you’ll most likely want to bask in the sun for a while and pleasantly enjoy it…hard to pull off if you’re all suited up.
Don’t get me wrong, I love dressing up and intricate ensembles just as much as the next, but I believe there’s a time and place for everything. The “perfect” look is the one which, besides making you look good, allows you to feel confident and confortable about yourself, and may very well be comprised of tailored shorts and a trim polo shirt should the situation call for it. Your wardrobe is varied for a reason…make the most out of it!
Great simple Summer looks captured by F.E. Castleberry.
Hixsept’s SS11 lookbook - one of my new favourite labels.