Introduction

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…

Sh*t My Dad Says – Part 2
“I Thought Black & Navy Shouldn’t Be Worn Together?”

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.

Navy and Black Combinations - Men's Fashion Lookbook

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:

  • John Smedley Belvoir Rollneck Merino Wool SweaterJohn Smedley Belvoir Rollneck Merino Wool Sweater
  • Reiss Clinton Lightweight Patch Pocket Blazer BlackReiss Clinton Lightweight Patch Pocket Blazer Black
  • Vanishing Elephant Navy Classic Benedict TrousersVanishing Elephant Navy Classic Benedict Trousers
  • Topman Hudson Langley ShoesTopman Hudson Langley Shoes
  • Allsaints Shibuya Border ShirtAllsaints Shibuya Border Shirt
  • Reiss Milton Textured Shawl Cardi NavyReiss Milton Textured Shawl Cardi Navy
  • Nudie Thin Finn 110120 Dry Black JeansNudie Thin Finn 110120 Dry Black Jeans
  • Topman Cypress Tassle LoafersTopman Cypress Tassle Loafers
  • Allsaints Branford ShirtAllsaints Branford Shirt
  • Asos Skinny Fit Sb2 Suit In NavyAsos Skinny Fit Sb2 Suit In Navy
  • Wolsey Orston Double Breasted OvercoatWolsey Orston Double Breasted Overcoat
  • Reiss Toronto Double Sole Toe Cap Derby Shoes BlackReiss Toronto Double Sole Toe Cap Derby Shoes Black
“I Was Always Told To Wear Black & Grey When Going Out In The Evenings”

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:

Classic Black/Grey Evening Outfits

Men's Classic Monochrome Evening Outfits Lookbook

Key Pieces:

  • Allsaints Cale BlazerAllsaints Cale Blazer
  • Topman Black Multi Fleck Contrast BlazerTopman Black Multi Fleck Contrast Blazer
  • Our Legacy Grey Textured Wool 3 Button Rolling BlazerOur Legacy Grey Textured Wool 3 Button Rolling Blazer
  • Reiss Knight Cable Knit Crew Neck Jumper Flannel GreyReiss Knight Cable Knit Crew Neck Jumper Flannel Grey
  • Balenciaga Wool And Silk-blend Rollneck SweaterBalenciaga Wool And Silk-blend Rollneck Sweater
  • Asos Oxford Shirt With OverdyeAsos Oxford Shirt With Overdye
  • He By Mango Slim-fit Cotton ShirtHe By Mango Slim-fit Cotton Shirt
  • Reiss Schroader T Cord Trousers GreyReiss Schroader T Cord Trousers Grey
  • Reiss Granite Black Resin Jeans BlackReiss Granite Black Resin Jeans Black
Contemporary Evening Outfits

Men's Contemporary Evening Outfits Lookbook

Key Pieces:

  • Reiss Lighthouse Abraham Moon Blazer GreenReiss Lighthouse Abraham Moon Blazer Green
  • He By Mango PiquÉ BlazerHe By Mango PiquÉ Blazer
  • Topman Red Parker Oxford Skinny BlazerTopman Red Parker Oxford Skinny Blazer
  • Allsaints Tokai ShirtAllsaints Tokai Shirt
  • Benson Shirt With Circular Paisley PatternBenson Shirt With Circular Paisley Pattern
  • Shore Leave Burgundy Button Down Oxford ShirtShore Leave Burgundy Button Down Oxford Shirt
  • He By Mango Washed Effect Cotton TrousersHe By Mango Washed Effect Cotton Trousers
  • Topman Red Skinny ChinosTopman Red Skinny Chinos
  • Reiss Chaplin Classic Chinos RoseReiss Chaplin Classic Chinos Rose
“I’m Too Fat To Be Wearing Something Slim Fit”

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.

  • Allsaints Bukowski Slim Fit ShirtAllsaints Bukowski Slim Fit Shirt
  • He By Mango Slim-fit ShirtHe By Mango Slim-fit Shirt
  • Polo Ralph Lauren Plain Oxford Slim Fit ShirtPolo Ralph Lauren Plain Oxford Slim Fit Shirt
  • Polo Ralph Lauren Kl814 Long Sleeve Androver Grey Polo ShirtPolo Ralph Lauren Kl814 Long Sleeve Androver Grey Polo Shirt
  • Allsaints Charge GrandadAllsaints Charge Grandad
  • Surrey Navy Double Breasted Slim Fit JacketSurrey Navy Double Breasted Slim Fit Jacket
  • J.crew Ludlow Slim-fit Herringbone Wool BlazerJ.crew Ludlow Slim-fit Herringbone Wool Blazer
  • Asos Slim Fit BlazerAsos Slim Fit Blazer
  • Reiss Otley T Slim Fit Formal Wool Sheen Trousers BlueReiss Otley T Slim Fit Formal Wool Sheen Trousers Blue
  • Topman Black Slim ChinosTopman Black Slim Chinos
  • J.crew Stanton Slim-fit Cotton-twill TrousersJ.crew Stanton Slim-fit Cotton-twill Trousers
  • A.p.c. New Cure Slim Rigid JeansA.p.c. New Cure Slim Rigid Jeans
Reader Requests

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:

Blue & Green, Never To Be Seen

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.

Brown Shoes With A Black Suit

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.

Matching Your Belt With Your Shoes

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.

Final Word

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…

Matt Allinson