In fashion, there tends to be a misconception that, in order for an outfit to be interesting, it has to be colorful. Not only does this lead to some crazy color combinations (contrast can be good folks, but everything in moderation), it also tends to lead to a general neglect of the use of texture to give depth to an outfit. True, a combination of ‘all monos’ - monochrome, monotone, monotexture, tend to fall pretty flat and can fail to make any sort of statement whatsoever. However, you can create an interesting, maybe even exciting outfit just by playing with textures.
Take this look I wore today. You will find (almost) nothing but grey in this outfit. Charcoal grey pants, light grey sweater, mid-grey shirt, grey tie. All one color, and arguably the least ‘exciting’ color out there. The difference lies in the attention I paid to the textures of each individual item. You won’t see a similar textured piece of clothing next to another anywhere in this outfit. The cotton, dark grey trousers cozy up with the thicker, light grey cotton knit v-neck, which lays nicely over the grey chambray shirt which stands out with a hint of sheen, but is balanced again by a thick, robust wool tie.
I topped it off with just the subtlest pops of color…it might be hard to see in the picture, but the tie has ‘cornflower’ blue pin stripes, and I threw on a pair of grey socks with similarly light blue stripes as a bit of a visual surprise if you get a glimpse between my cuff and shoe.
Like I said, what keeps this outfit from blending into a big grey mush is the texture variation (one more time - cotton twill to knit cotton to chambray to thick wool). Even the black belt, when you can see it under the sweater, helps to break up the outfit into very distinct pieces.
I have a special place in my heart for this outfit right next to my special place for all things grey. Something about the color just appeals to me, fashion-wise (might have something to do with my longstanding love affair with Tweed). I’m often frustrated with the problem of too many grey items of clothing and therefore am giddy as a school girl when I can find a way, like this, to throw on all the grey layers I can think of and make it really work. Far from blending into the background with this outfit, I actually get more compliments with this combination than many of my brighter, preppier looks. On top of that, I feel much more weather-appropriate wearing this on a cold windy Chicago day that I do putting on that pastel tie I have set aside for the upcoming spring warmth.
The whole point is, think outside the box! If you want a more interesting outfit, don’t automatically grab the brightest color in your closet! Experiment, try different things out, and see what works. For all the ‘rules’ of menswear that I love so much, there are a million ways to break and bend them and look great. By the way, I love these socks. So much that I took extra pictures of them. And posted them to Instagram earlier today. $4.00 at Nordstrom Rack, thank you very much!
Today’s Outfit (I think I forgot this section in the last WIWT post):
Shirt: Frank and Oak
Sweater: American Eagle
Tie: The Tie Bar
Pants: Frank and Oak
Socks: English Laundry
Shoes: Allen Edmonds