Colorful Outfits – How Much Is Too Much?
In the recent past, we have discussed a number of colorful and sometimes extreme outfits on our Facebook page. Due to popular demand, I wanted to dedicate an entire article to these kind of outfits, hoping to provide more food for thought to the discussion surrounding walking the fine line between having personality and outfit overkill. Generally speaking, I enjoy people who are different than me, no matter whether it is politics, hobbies or personal taste. In the past, I have often found that you can learn something from everybody even though they might seem to come from the total opposite side of your world. The same is true for clothing, in my opinion, because a deliberate style is better than an uninspired, sloppy look. Interestingly, many people would never think that punks have a very clear dress code but within their circle, they pay more attention to detail than most men do.
Shows like Pitti Uomo in Florence seem to have evolved into an informal street style cat walk of personal expression. Just like real fashion shows, the results are often over exaggerated, because the goal is to be noticed and those who scream loudest usually win the day. Many men secretly hope to pop up on the front page of the Sartorialist, and so they want to look the part. Ironically, men who are dressed in conservative colors with subtle colors and details stand out in a crowd of peacocks. Apart from that, their outfits are far more wearable on the street or at the office.
No matter how you dress, and how much you like it, bear in mind that it is just one form of self expression that cannot substitute for other qualities, such as good humor or a pleasing intellect. If all you can talk about is clothes and style, things get rather dull pretty quickly. With our topic being colorful outfits, I want to discuss clothes nevertheless:
First, let’s start with extreme outfits that many consider over the top – me included.
Here we have a bold hairstyle mixed with overpowering patterns and colors. All I sense here is “look at me”.
The next picture also shows an overload of patterns and textures. The center is so cluttered that you will probably not look to the wearer’s face because your eyes are too busy figuring out what is going on.
Less Extreme Ensembles
Second, there are outfits that are often bold – either in color or in pattern – and hence they should be paired with less pronounced items in order to achieved a harmonious, balanced overall look.
For example, this Tartan plaid sportscoat is worn with a white shirt and dark, subtle tie. While white dress shirts would have not been the traditional choice for a powerful sportscoat, it works because of the tan and the dominance of the coat. Personally, I would have opted for a quieter tartan but each to his own.
This light blue summer suit is rather classic in cut but the suit color in combination with the accessories and body language changes the pedigree. Mr. Sajeel expressed on Facebook that the gentleman’s body language seems to lack confidence. While I agree with him, that might just be the picture – people often look awkward in pictures in a way that is not the case in real life. What clearly stands out in this pictures are the black opera pumps, which are completely out of place. Combined with the narrow trouser leg, they look even stranger. This picture illustrates that formal accessories rarely go well with casual outfits. On the other hand, casual accessories may work well with formal dress but that’s something for another article.
The following picture is the exception to the rule. Obviously, this is a bright red summer outfit though the traditionally more formal cufflinks work well here because their style matches the rest of the outfit. Overall certainly bright but I like the look of it.
Even a small accents of color can have a huge impact, as shown by this picture. Not my cup of tea but interesting nonetheless. Note the perfect harmony of shirt sleeve and cuff?
Mother of pearl buttons are a fantastic way to add a summer not to your otherwise classic navy blazer. The teal blazer as shown on the left is certainly something you will only find bespoke.
Here, a conservative business suit is is paired with a canary yellow vest and a bulky steel watch. The vest is certainly a very strong statement and hence it dictates the rest of the accessories. The solid navy tie is a good choice whereas the stainless steel watch is too casual for such an ensemble.
From afar Will Smith might look better than up-close. This outfit has just too many patterns and the fit – especially of the pants – is tight.
On the left, we have a subtle gray suit with dark tie and shirt. Color is added with the popular wristbands and the nice eyeglasses frame. On the right, we see an almost cornflower blue blazer with flapped patch pockets which was tailored from a fabric that is similar to the Casentino fleece.
This outfit is neither extreme in color nor in pattern, but in cut. Note, how narrow the fit is, how high the gorge of the lapel, and how angled the pockets. While I like the colors and the combination of accessories, I think the fit is over the top. What do you think?
Less Is More
Probably my favorite outfit of this selection is Prince Charles. The outfit is unique but proper, without looking overwhelming although we are confronted with 4 different patterns, a boutonniere and a pin.
This is a combination I found most interesting. Without the vest, it is clearly a business outfit with the contrasting white collar and navy coat. However, the green Donegal tweed vest harmonizes with the tie, although its double breasted cut is not typical for the country at all. Although this outfit does not adhere to classic standards, I find it interesting and different without being over the top.
Sometimes it can be as simple as flipping up a brim to create an entirely different, 1910s inspired look.
Picture Credit for the most part Guerre from Guerrisms.