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Assembling outfits made easy

November 9, 2011

Some people make choosing a great outfit look so effortless. The Duke of Windsor, Frank Sinatra, and George Clooney come to mind. I can remember many times trying to figure out what to wear or how to combine clothes, only to decide in the end my closet was void of the right clothes. When I eventually landed in the store, I would stand there open-eyed without knowing what to buy or how to assemble a great look. So, I would settle for buying individual items I liked. Imagine hungrily staring into the refrigerator with no idea what to make. Your eyes wander from the cheese to the ketchup with no recipes in mind bringing relief. You grab the cheese and settle for a few bites. Now you know the dilemma I faced.

First, learn classic attire. Find those combinations used by men for years to their great benefit. Look around and you will see variations of this. Consider a few important outfits:

(1) a properly fitting black suit with a white shirt and black tie.

(2) a light blue or white shirt goes with most any pair of slacks (dark gray works well)

(3) a sweater pulled over a white shirt paired with slacks or even jeans.

Second, find ways to contrast. As far as design, art, home décor, and even fashion go, contrast creates an aesthetic pleasing to the eye. For instance, wear a dark shirt with light pants or vice versa. The opposite rings true as well. Don’t wear all the same shade of the same color (all black and all white would be the possible exception when done correctly). I offer this advice to get you started down the road of outfit assembly. This is not meant to be the end all or a hard rule. You can find good combinations with only slight contrast as well such as white pants with a light blue, light purple or pink shirt.

Lastly, search for appropriately matching colors. In other words, choose colors that compliment each other. Black works well with most any other color. Also, white. Further, you can use colors next to each other on the color wheel (analogous colors) such as blue and green. Try any variation you can think to put together, even orange and yellow (check out my book for a fuller discussion of the color wheel). Another possibility of lower complexity, combining different shades of the same color (monochromatic), can also give you a quick and easy solution. Remember my recommendations regarding contrast when thinking through colors.

Looking at my list of goals for you, one in particular underpins many of the others. I desire for you to open your closet with confidence and choose a great outfit without effort. I want you to avoid my past open-eyed gazing at clothes.  Over time you will flow into a rhythm. When you discover great blends of your likes and style preferences, hold onto those breakthroughs going forward. It is okay to have a “standard look” by which you adhere. If you fall into sync with black slacks and a white dress shirt, then wear it somewhat frequently. It never grew old for the Duke of Winsor who photographers rarely caught without his beloved suits. His “uniform” made him a highly photographed person in his day.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 24, 2012 3:15 pm

    You make that sound easy and fun.

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