Author Bruce Boyer wrote that successfully combining four patterns in an ensemble is the domain of the expert dresser (he expressed himself more gracefully than that but I am not by my library as I write this). And four patterns are truly difficult; indeed, in the context of business dress even a successful result will usually be too distracting to the eye.
The same challenge applies with as few as two patterns worn together. A satisfactory result is easier to achieve but may have a tendency to look as though the wearer is proud of himself for combining his checked shirt and striped necktie. That is of course the opposite of the objective of business dress which, as someone other than Mr. Boyer wrote long ago, is to stay out of the way so that men can do business.
All solids in combination is far too simplistic to be an alternative, leaving us inevitably with one pattern as the standard for quiet propriety. I use a photo of Lapo Elkann, a man not necessarily known for his propriety, to illustrate the point. Ignoring the pale socks and mother of pearl jacket buttons, and even those are restrained by the general peacefulness of the remainder of his clothing, a checked necktie is the only visible pattern. The result is quietly appropriate, or rather it would be but for the socks and the buttons.
Wear only one pattern to the office.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Photo: ISpirit Vodka