Monday, February 28, 2011

Color and Pattern: Disembodied Voice Edition

[I'm actually in trial all the day of this post, but thanks to the magic of the Internet, I can schedule posts in advance!]

Necessity is the mother of invention.  I had a Sunday client meeting and needed a suit and tie, but I only had this shirt clean, and the client had just seen me wear the tie I usually wear with this shirt.  I only had a few minutes, so I just grabbed my gold tie that has a touch of blue accents and figured that would have to be enough to, uhh, tie it all together.

Then I got to looking at it later.  The blue/gold color combination works passably.  But look at the pattern coordination.  Tiny blue squares on the shirt and the tie, and incrementally larger squares on the tie.  Like doing high-school geometry exercises where you draw similar figures.  I think this is a combo that leverages color as well as pattern.

Another reason I hesitate to adopt any sort of "3-pattern rule."  Does "squares" count as a pattern, or just identical squares?  What if you wore this combo with a windowpane suit, gray with a light-blue stripe?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Tactics: Shoe Selection

I couldn't decide which pair of shoes (brown or burgundy) went better with these slacks by looking at them in my I did this.  Brown was the clear winner.  Again, poor lighting means you'll just have to trust me.

Also worth discussing is the contrast between these shoes.  Obviously, the burgundy wingtips are dramatically more formal.  In fact, I really shouldn't be wearing slip-ons with a suit at all, ever, except that I haven't found a brown pair of shoes that I like to replace them, and I bought the slip-ons back before I realized the error of my ways w/r/t suit-appropriate shoes.

The slip-ons go well with denim, though.  To every thing, there is a season, &c &c.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Color: Tie Swap

I should take all my photos outside. Look how well the colors turned out!

This is this suit and shirt with one simple change--a different necktie, a silk number from JAB's clearance table in a full Windsor, swapped in on a lark.

  • Shirt picks up blue stripe in suit
  • Tie light-blue picks up shirt color in sun
  • Tie dark-blue picks up shirt color in shade
  • Wavy tan lines on tie allude to straight tan lines on suit
It's like buying an entirely new outfit for the price of one tie. I am delighted.

P.S. The "Color Is Hard" series is now just the "Color" series because color isn't that hard.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Washingtonian: Out-the-Door Checklist

Or, Checking It Twice.

Punctilios: Lacing Style

My burgundy wingtips came laced as shown, in the standard crissycrossy way.  (Shown here with A History of Men's Style, my Christmas gift from a delightful gal who, for reasons not obvious to me, has been spending time with me for over a year now.)  I prefer a different style--instructions here.

The Valet folks prefer the style shown, but I find the "straight across" style conveys a more serious attitude. After all, the crossed style is basically the same as the way you lace your running shoes.  Nothing like a whiff of the gym to send me to the drawing board.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Punctilios: Toe Stippling

Took this picture of a fellow bachelor-party reveler in scenic, picaresque Alexandria last year. These are called semi-brogues (as opposed to the full brogues, also known as wingtips, and quarter brogues, also known as cap-toes).

A standard D.C. Dude on the Town outfit--denim with a sport shirt--doesn't have to be boring or aggressively clubby.  All you have to do is add a few personal touches, like flipping up the cuffs of your jeans a bit and wearing some kickass, unique shoes, and Hey Presto! you communicate that you're a little more thoughtful about your self-presentation.

And let me tell you--a pair of shoes that you love can really boost your confidence.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Punctilios: Retirement

Some leather uppers (term of art for the part of a shoe other than the sole, laces not included) are designed to last for a lifetime or for multiple generations, perpetually reattached to new soles as they wear out. These Nunn Bushes are not such shoes.

They were extraordinarily long-lived for a pair that cost perhaps $80.  They have admirably survived heavy wear over the course of seven years.  But when the most furrowed part of the toe finally splits, it's like a shoe giving you two weeks' notice.  You don't have to find a replacement pair right now, but you'd better start looking.  So I'm off to eBay this weekend, looking for well-preserved Aldens. Once acquired, these old chaps will make their way to Goodwill for a new life.

Casual: To Which I Have Become Accustomed

I don't often get lucky, but I snapped up these Allen-Edmonds wingtips for $40 when they appeared on eBay. They are in excellent shape. eBay is actually pretty solid if you know what you're looking for. They let you sort your results much more usefully than, say, Bluefly, which gives short shrift indeed to menswear wearers. You can even save your various clothing sizes to make searching easier.

The eBay entry said these were brown, but I think they're more burgundy. Regardless, they look resplendent against denim and probably a navy suit. I will experiment soon.

Worn with APC New Standard unrolled and the Dexter kill shirt, actually an American Apparel henley in Melange Olive. Because when you're reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on a wintry night, some awesome shoes inexpensively had help keep the chill away.

At the Washingtonian: Lacing Up

Lacing Up, in which I demand greatness of the ordinary D.C. suit and offer a first step, so to speak.

I swear I didn't notice that pun until I finished typing the previous sentence.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Casual/Color: Praxis/Heuristic

I thought I should give an example of color section in casual clothes, given the other day's post.  The shirt is less orange in real life. (I need a better camera.)

Red Ford Mustang vintage-feel T-shirt, Urban Outfitters in Georgetown several years ago;
APC New Standard denim, the only jeans I wear these days, one month old;
White low-top Chuck Taylors.
Navy stripe around the border of the shoes picks up dark blue tones in the denim and the faded blue in the shirt. Red stripe around the border of the shoes picks up red in the shirt.
Visual unity.

Look, some people have an aversion to Chuck Taylors, but for $40, you cannot get a more permanently stylish pair of sneakers. If I'm wrong, please correct me in the comments. Gray and navy are also popular, versatile colors.

Finally, welcome, new readers! I will try not to have my future Washingtonian columns be about me.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Color is Hard: Color Is Easy

Navy herringbone JAB suit. White French-cuff shirt from Paul Fredrick. Bubble-level cufflinks with blue liquid. Bow tie from Filene's.  Navy suit picks up blue in the cufflinks and tiny teardrops on the necktie. White shirt picks up white accents on the necktie.  Gold coordinates well with navy suit. Clean, conservative colors with fun details.

Why the bow tie? I got stuck in a rut wearing a red tie with this suit. Then, this morning, I badly wanted to wear those cufflinks. I already had the pants on. So I laid the red tie aside and chose my neckwear based on the colors already present in what I knew I wanted to wear.

Let your whims guide you.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Good News, Everyone: My First Column Is Up at the Washingtonian

An origin story epic in scope but atomic in precision.

You will laugh.  You will cry.  You will experience that feeling you get after your date tells you that she is "busy" next weekend but then texts you later that night to say s/he had a great time.

It's my first column at the Washingtonian.  Thanks for being faithful readers here; you helped make this happen. Dapper District @ Blogspot marches on, but I will add an extra post here whenever one of my Washingtonian columns goes up.

Dapper District @ Washingtonian: "An Introduction"

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Casual: Doing T-Shirts Right

Perhaps this is unexpected, but I like a good t-shirt for casual wear.  

TeeMagnet is all you really need. Six to eight new shirts per day.  I probably buy 1 out of every 50.  Some of what you pick is up to your personal aesthetic, but think about it like a tie in terms of coordination with your pants.  A shirt with a hint of blue in it will link up to the color of your jeans; a navy shirt with jeans will tend to look like a leotard.  On the other hand, a blue shirt with chinos will look good. 

If you have a jacket or sweater that picks up another color in the shirt, so much the better.  Bonus points if your shoes match the mix as well.

Some background colors that often look good with jeans: orange, red, green, tan.

Apart from color, you should pay attention to design.  Small designs look funny--you want it to reach mostly across the chest.  In the alternative, watch for asymmetrical designs.  They often look fabulous.

Finally: no MMA themes allowed.  If you are at a bar wearing an Affliction/TapOut/what-the-&%#-ever t-shirt covered with garish skulls and crosses and gothic lettering, it's your own damn fault.