Last week I began to break down some of the stupid things my dad says about fashion. Whether it’s about never wearing brown in town, borrowing my tie bar far too much or trying to decide if pleats are still “in”, we meticulously destroyed some of fashion and style’s most ridiculous ‘rules’.
But don’t worry, there is more still. Because if there’s one thing I know about my old man, it’s that he’ll never stop saying stupid sh*t.
So, without further ado, here we go…
Now this is a bit of a tough one for me. When I first started becoming interested in men’s fashion and style, this was a phrase I heard a lot. And during my opening couple of years it was actually a very useful piece of advice. This is because, when used in large block colours, navy and black can look wrong together. It takes experience and an understanding of hues and textures to really be able to pull off these two colours at the same time.
So for you beginners out there – yes, don’t wear navy and black together. At the most, stick to pairing them in small doses. A navy suit with a white shirt and black tie is a fine example. The black tie is a small proportion of your outfit and the white shirt helps separate the two colours. The same goes for your shoes – feel free to pair black shoes with a navy suit or tux.
However, if you want to get more complex, please bear these two points in mind: firstly, not all tones of navy are the same. A navy with a bluer base hue is easier to pair with black because it creates a greater contrast between the two colours. This then prevents you from suffering from a black hole syndrome, whereby items of clothing blend into one another.
Secondly, remember to alter your textures. A black cotton t-shirt can look fine with a navy suit that is made from herringbone tweed, corduroy or a heavy duty wool because the different materials help to distinguish them both.
By following these two rules you can start to wear black and navy together a lot more and, especially during the evenings, it can help produce a very sophisticated look.
And here are a few example outfits (both casual and formal) I have put together in order to inspire you to develop your own looks based on these two timeless hues:
You know what? It’s not a bad rule to abide by. Traditionally speaking, colours such as black and grey (often paired with white) tend to work better under the typically dim lighting that you find in clubs or bars. Much in the same way that navy will always look richer and have more depth when worn during natural light.
So, if all else fails, when it comes to putting a look together for a night out, this rule is a good crutch to lean on.
However, it does tend to make your look, even if it is just a simple shirt, trouser and knit combination, lean more to the formal side of the sartorial spectrum. It also happens to be quite an old rule.
These days, my suggestion is simply to wear whatever makes you feel the most comfortable and confident in yourself, which in some cases may not be grey and black. But remember to adhere to the underlying message this rule is trying to communicate – keep it simple. When heading out, be it to a club or to a restaurant, try not to over think or over-complicate what you’re going to wear.
For a more in-depth look at this extremely broad topic, try these recent FashionBeans guides:
Now we all know that when it comes dressing yourself as a grown arse man, it’s all about fit, fit, fit. And that applies even more when it comes to heavier gentleman. If you pick clothes that are too big for you, they can end up adding even more size to your frame. Too small and you can start to look like a badly packed Cumberland sausage. To say it’s a fine art is an understatement.
But if you are on the larger side of life, it doesn’t mean you can’t wear slim fit. Don’t make the mistake of buying bigger, baggier clothes to hide your shape – it’s not fooling anyone. Your clothing should skim and follow the contours of your body, without pulling or bunching the material or making them look tight.
Men’s clothing is all about clean lines and symmetry; clothing that’s too big or too small will not achieve this. The best advice I can give you is to buy clothing that fits you properly in the correct places – such as collar/sleeve length for shirts and shoulders/body length for jackets – and then get a tailor to amend the rest. It will make a world of difference, without taking too much out of your wallet.
Alternatively, you can check out your local charity and thrift shops. These places will likely be stocking clothes from a bygone era – when men’s clothing had a fuller cut and an eye for the well-built male. The fact they’ll be dirt cheap is just a bonus. But more on this at a later date.
After the first part of our fashion myths mini-series was published, many of you took to the comments section in order to throw out some more ‘rules’ that the majority of the fashion world seems to treat as gospel. Below, I tackle a few of the recurring themes:
When it comes to mixing and matching colours within your outfits, you should all first check out the series ‘basics’ articles I did last year:
With blue and green, it’s best to make sure that one of them is a dark hue such as navy or olive. You then make sure the other one is a light to medium hue to provide a point of difference between the two colours.
I often wear a mint green shirt with my navy suit in the summer and regularly pair my light blue shirts with my olive chinos when heading out to the bar or restaurant. As for putting brown in between? I personally don’t think it makes any difference, but if it makes you feel better about pairing the two together then go for it. Just try to not pair navy and olive together.
Yeah, this is a tough one.
You can wear brown with black, just as long as the brown hue is in contrast to the black – for example, a tan or coffee pair of shoes. It’s when they are similar tones that it all goes wrong.
However, with a black suit it gets even trickier because there is just so much of one colour. My best advice is to try and avoid it due to the haphazard results than can occur – but if you have to, create a nice contrast between the two hues to eliminate risk of errors occurring.
This is a very good rule to go by, however, I do want to clarify that they don’t have to match exactly. You’d be surprised by the amount of guys who look for a belt to match the exact colour of brown their shoes are. Obviously there aren’t too many shades of black but when it comes to brown, play things fast and loose.
I often think a tan belt with a pair of dark brown shoes adds a nice twist to this most steadfast of style rules.
So there you have it, a few more common myths dispelled. Why not tell me what you think about these crazy rules? Do you think they’re right or just plain ridiculous? Have I missed any others out? Let me know in the comments section…