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How to wear a white shirt

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Manton, Aug 1, 2012.

  1. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Well-Known Member

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    At least for the purposes of Mantons post, I think he's talking about wearing at least a jacket
     
  2. topos

    topos Well-Known Member

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    I think it may be a consequence of the other guidelines. Begin with the tie, then move to the shirt, then the suit, and finally the shoes. Given a tie, suppose you have only a blue or a white shirt to pick from. If you chose white, then (supposing still you're following the guidelines outlined in the OP) that tie is likely navy, light blue, grey, black, silver (otherwise you would have chosen a blue shirt). . . Then you pick a suit (blue or grey). If you're in the grey/black/silver family, then black shoes are a better choice. With a navy/light blue, again black shoes (because the grey suit is presumably preferable, and hence so are the black shoes).

    Also, once again people seem to be getting their panties in a wad about "rules" and seem concerned with proving them wrong or disagreeing with them without understanding where they come from, and why they might be useful. I think this thread in particular is a perfect example of a simple guideline - a blue shirt is almost always a better choice - that is easy to apply blindly and still likely to result in a tasteful outfit. That's the point, I think: simplify the way choices are made when dressing and still dress well. Are there exceptions? Of course, but that's completely missing the point.
     
  3. vaclava krishna

    vaclava krishna Well-Known Member

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    This topik is, it for satire ?
     
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  4. cptjeff

    cptjeff Well-Known Member

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    I do not accept that order as a given. Why not start with the suit and shoes and then pick out the shirt and tie combination as a unit?

    Again, not so much a given. Those color choices are debatable, and individual preference, not any sort of serious color theory. Nor will any given color only go with one given color shirt, or necessarily go with either blue or white "better".

    Not a big fan of black shoes with navy in general- even when wearing a white shirt. This also does not work at all when you add other colors to the mix, or involve sportcoats in any way. I match shoe color to suit color and the level of formality I'm trying to achieve, and frequently wear blue shoes for fairly conservative occasions, black shoes and all. The horror!

    You have a lot of personal opinions adding up to that bit of advice though. Will you look good if you follow them? Probably. Will you look good if you don't follow them? In the case of some 'rules', you wouldn't. In the case of this one, you would look just as good if you never knew it existed or did, and ignored it completely. Which makes it utterly useless, and rather misleading to anybody looking for practical advice.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2013
  5. topos

    topos Well-Known Member

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    You're missing the point. I was merely speculating about how one might arrive at "white shirts almost always demand black shoes" using the other guidelines in the OP. I might be deducing things in a way they weren't originally intended, but then I wouldn't be the first one to do that in this thread. In particular I am not claiming I follow it myself (I don't, but that's because of context) - it was an intellectual exercise.

    If it's useless for you, then you can ignore it; I don't really care one way or another, nor do I have a horse in this race. I find the whole blue/white shirt thing easy to think about and apply, and it's proven relevant to my wardrobe. So I like this particular guideline.
     
  6. cptjeff

    cptjeff Well-Known Member

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    And that's fine. Acting as if it's a truism that's broadly applicable isn't. It's a shortcut to your personal preferences, but it hardly defines appropriate attire, nor does it steer you away from bad choices towards good ones- it steers you from good choices to other good choices. Which is useless.

    The problem with stuff like this is that it leads to groupthink- it hardens in people's minds until what is properly a shortcut for one person's preferences gets cited as a hard rule. That's a big problem with these online menswear forums- the preferences of a few people are heard as gospel truth. Think black suits here- the idea that lounge suits should not be black has very, very little historical support. It was a pretty common color in the past- at times, THE predominant color. But some people's opinions based on its somewhat limited versatility in shirt and tie pairings and problems with some skin tones morphed into a consensus of 'nobody should wear a black suit ever'. I don't think that's a good development, and that's what I don't want to happen here.
     
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  7. topos

    topos Well-Known Member

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    It's not under my control how other people perceive these preferences or whether they hear it as gospel truth. And I don't really care. I'm not going to argue about "rules" versus "opinions" versus whatever. It's a pointless exercise. The problem isn't with the "rules", but with a misapplication of them (i.e., without thought). Also, some people are more worried about categorization "is it a rule/guideline/opinion" and less about the application/origin, which is what leads to idiotic discussions like the one we're having (and I'm taking full responsibility for partaking in the idiocy). Would applying a rule possibly rule out a good choice? Sure. Does that make it a bad rule? Not necessarily. Especially not if, when applied blindly (a good test for usefulness), it makes the "right" choice more often than not. And to be clear, I'm both advocating for and against blind application of rules: for as an intellectual exercise/test, against in practice. These guidelines are supposed to be there to simplify decision-making about dressing, but I don't think anyone would argue that they were brought down from the mountains by Moses, and I don't think anyone should argue that they are a substitute for thinking about the situation at hand.

    As for the black suit example: I don't think the issue is so much historical, and in fact I don't even care. The issue is whether or not it looks good, and whether or not another choice would more often than not be better. Maybe you find that, say, a charcoal suit is not only better in many situations than a black one, but it also works in a broader context. Then you have a "rule" about the relative uselessness of a black suit. Or maybe you don't. It's up to you.
     
  8. VinnyMac

    VinnyMac Well-Known Member

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    lawlz...

    I hear you (and agree), but sheep will be sheep. There's not much that you or I can do about that.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2013
  9. archibaldleach

    archibaldleach Well-Known Member

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    I'm not really interested in proving anything or disagreeing for the sake of disagreeing. I actually thought Manton's post was pretty useful and think that people are going a bit overboard in how they're reacting. I mostly found it odd that, given the strong love for brown shoes around here, one would posit that the mere act of changing the color of one's shirt suddenly makes black shoes a better choice.
     
  10. JapanAlex01

    JapanAlex01 Well-Known Member

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    Colour wheel-wise, black goes better with white and brown with blue, but I still feel the suit is the overall matching item--a navy suit, being blue, best paired with brown, for example. I think whether you wear blue or white with a navy suit has nothing more to do with it, than the look you're going for--crisp and sharp with white/subdued and casual with blue.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2013
  11. rikod

    rikod Well-Known Member

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    -
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2013
  12. topos

    topos Well-Known Member

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    Agreed it was pretty useful, and agreed that people are going overboard. You asked a totally reasonable question about why "white shirt nearly always demands black shoes", which I also thought was interesting, and so I decided to guess at why that might be. I'm also not interested in "proving" anything, just curious about how it might have come about and how it relates to the other guidelines in the OP. It's entirely possible my chain of pseudo-reasoning is not what the OP intended, nor how it came about.
     
  13. FillW

    FillW Well-Known Member

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    One night there was a young guy in a black suit/white shirt who wasn't wearing a tie sitting behind me in a club. The suit didn't fit too bad and he was slim anyway.

    I don't think the waitress liked the look though. She spilled beer all over him...
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2013
  14. Manton

    Manton Well-Known Member

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    jeff has drank Sator's koolaid, I see.

    The rest of you, just shut up and wear what I say!!!
     
    4 people like this.
  15. FillW

    FillW Well-Known Member

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    OK, OK, I have a blue shirt on today...
     
  16. archibaldleach

    archibaldleach Well-Known Member

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    Understood. Fair enough.
     
  17. archibaldleach

    archibaldleach Well-Known Member

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    You can sling the "groupthink" pejorative against any rule or thought that is common here with every bit as much mindlessness as some lesser informed posters might push the rules in all circumstances. I am not an expert in historical norms of dressing but was well aware of the fact that one should not wear black suits before I had ever heard of Styleforum. The black suits example you cite is a pretty awful one because it does not merely reflect the preferences of a few on here. I have seen company websites that advise candidates on what to wear for interviews to pick grey or navy, career services departments do the same thing and it has been a common theme among a majority of well-dressed men I know personally. Now maybe this is groupthink on an epic national scale that goes far beyond Styleforum, but it sure as hell is not "the preferences of a few people." And maybe, just maybe, it is in fact a rule and those who say otherwise are incorrect (please note that a rule is not the same thing as saying something looks good). Let's use a crazy example for a second. If someone asked about wearing a pink linen suit to interview at a law firm, would you accuse those saying any variation of "Hell no" of groupthink or would you agree that they had a point? I sure hope (and suspect) you'd agree they had a point.

    It could be interesting to discuss the degree of influence that a rule that is unenforced and not often followed should have in comparison to our own informed judgment about what looks good. There can be a difference here. Maybe you're getting at this a bit, but your posts seem more like rants against the idea that there might just be some rules regarding wearing white shirts.

    You like white shirts and prefer to wear them in a variety of settings. That's fine. That does not mean that there are no rules about wearing them or that you may not be breaking some of said rules. Many well dressed people make informed choices to break certain rules, but in order to make an informed choice, you have to actually know what the rules are. I don't agree with every point in Manton's post but I think someone who followed its guidelines exactly would look better than someone who had no prior thoughts about white shirts.
     
    1 person likes this.
  18. MyOtherLife

    MyOtherLife Well-Known Member

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    It could also mean this....


    [VIDEO][/VIDEO]
     
  19. bertie

    bertie Well-Known Member

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    I think the outfit of the fellow wearing (mostly) yellow is in better taste but in fairness the guy in the second video is wearing an (almost) white shirt so your video is indeed a better addition to this thread
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2013
  20. VinnyMac

    VinnyMac Well-Known Member

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    ....you know who the "fellow wearing yellow" is. ADMIT IT!
     

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