I frequently receive emails from young men who ask about the cut and style of clothes: what’s appropriate, what’s ‘in style’, and what will serve them best over time.
My response is always, Not too tight. Not too loose. Natural fabrics (wool and cotton). Traditional tailoring of wardrobe fundamentals, by which I mean the navy or grey suit, the blue blazer, the earth-tone wool blazer, the khaki pants, the grey slacks, and the white and/or blue 100% cotton dress shirt. Brown lace up dress shoes or brown loafers. Wool or cotton sweaters in solid colors. Feel free to be expressive, but not clever, with neckties. Learn to tie a bowtie.
Shirt and jacket lapel widths for men go narrow and wide with the tides of fashion. Ignore these trends. Moderate everything. Blue, brown, grey. As your life gets busier, you’ll find it easier to dress appropriately for any occasion, easier to pack for a trip, and easier to replace worn out garments with new ones, and have everything look good with everything else. You’ll shop and spend less, save money, and look like you know what you’re doing, even if you’re a work in progress. (News flash: we all are.)
You’ll also find it easier to go from ‘dress’ to casual: lose the necktie and blazer and you’re there. People will notice you for you, not for your fashion choices. If you have money, people will not automatically assume that you do. If you don’t have money, people may suspect that you do. It’s crazy, but that’s the kind of mental rollercoaster people go on when you’re discreet, modest, and moderate with your wardrobe.
So when you’re out there this holiday season, shopping for yourself or someone else, remember (and share) these fundamentals. Let’s be civilized. Let’s dress the part.
6 thoughts on “Old Money Style: Moderation”
Thanks Byron. This is great advice for us (not so) young men also. 🙂
Ha. Who you calling (not so) young? We’re just getting started. – BGT
When buying from the rack, gentleman, please keep in mind that jacket must rest on the chest naturally – avoid the gap. Plus please watch “the wings” at the back under your armpits. You can escape this “issues” when visiting a tailor. But as Byron put it straightforward the other day, he who will notice you, will not notice mentioned little imperfections.
Thanks, OMGM. Key point about the jacket collar. – BGT
I agree with your recommendations and especially the point about “easier to replace old garments with new ones”, the convenient thing about dressing the way you describe is that “everything goes with everything else”. I am not sure if this has been expressed on your blog earlier but my personal opinion is that there really is only a need for three different colours in a man´s wardrobe: grey, brown (including beige, khaki) and blue (think light blue shirts, navy jackets). These colours do almost always go well together.
Thank you, LM. Yes, the grey/brown/blue trifecta is perfect. I know so many guys who just don’t want to have to think about mixing, matching, and fussing over clothes. It makes it so simple. Much appreciated. – BGT