The Finishing Touch
Picture this: you are stood in the middle of a glistening department store, surrounded by heritage tweed jackets, softly draping shirts, strong tailored blazers, casual printed tees and polished leather shoes. But do you notice the paisley print socks in the corner, the silk pocket square sat next to the shirts or the leather bound notebook on the counter?
I think it’s true to say that, when confronted with such a wide and diverse selection of pieces to wear, we can often become distracted by more stand out, statement garments such as the shirt, jacket or trousers. However, in doing so, we miss out on utilising the impact of those finer details, the finishing touches that can turn a good outfit into a great, well thought out look.
The trend for rolled up trousers has been on the fashion radar for a few seasons now and, whilst many of us are making the step to lose those extra few centimetres, we often forget that this leaves us open to a whole new area of attention; the sock. An afterthought and bi-product of dazed draw fumbling for many a man, the sock, when utilised correctly, can bring together key sections of an outfit and reinforce the colour scheme of a look. There are 3 main ways in which to style the sock:
- Matching accessories – A tip once whispered by our very own Ashley Cover and one that works best with brighter colours. Matching your socks with your belt, as opposed to your trousers or shoes, can add that extra pop of colour and draws attention to the lower half of your body. This look is best paired with simple, neutral coloured trousers.
- The patterned sock – Especially handy in to liven up a simple outfit, patterned socks in complimenting colours can offer a fun and interesting element to a relaxed outfit. However, I use the word ‘patterned’ to mean paisley, zig zag or spotted and in no way do I endorse the wearing of garish shapes or favoured cartoon characters.
- Colour Pop – Bright, contrasting socks can really draw focus to footwear and add a much needed flash of colour to a look. Use this tip sparingly and avoid clashing two opposing bright colours together.
Length of the sock is a matter of choice but as a rule you should ensure your sock always meets your hem. We can do without any unnecessary flashes of leg hair.
The Pocket Square
So, we’ve established that socks are more than just a black and white area, literally, but the finishing touches don’t stop there. One of my favourite accessories is sadly one which has gone into declined amongst the modern man, the elusive pocket square. A Pocket squares provide a touch of gentlemanly swarve and is the perfect accompaniment to a crisp white shirt or classic tweed blazer. If wearing with a white shirt, opt for a contrasting brighter shade to give a hint of colour amongst a chest of white. On the other hand, if wearing with a tweed or coloured jacket, be sure to choose a complimenting colour or pattern, perhaps in a shade lighter or darker, to avoid overcomplicating things. Both Vintage stores and Ebay are a great source of pocket squares, particularly those of the patterned variety.
Whilst socks and pocket squares may put you on the right track to adding that something extra to an outfit, what about the everyday items we never even knew could be used as fashion accessories? Like many people, working in fashion I am bound to be carrying my notebook and diary 24/7. But who says I can’t use this to my advantage? There is nothing worse than seeing a well dressed man carry a tatty paper-bound notepad and, in a time when the man clutch debate is at its height, carrying a diary or notebook can offer a midpoint between style and femininity.
So, next time you open your wardrobe or walk into a store, take a second to think about how you could work some of the finer details into a look. After all, it’s the little things that make and big difference. And who says you have to stop here? You could think about broaches, tie pins, belt buckles… The list is endless, as are the possibilities.