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I think I'm missing the coordination gene (advice?)

TheConstantGardener

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I'm 30 and its time to admit it: I cannot put a nice outfit together.
I've spent plenty of money on nice clothes and suits and have what I would consider an adequate collection of nice shirts (10), pants (7), jackets(6), etc.... ...but am so unsure of how to put any of them together into a cohesive outfit that I end up never wearing any of them! Can anyone point me in the direction of a good book/article/website,...on the basics of what colors/patterns go together? I mean....I don't even know where to start. Do you start an outfit with the shirt or jacket or pants? Most of my stuff is nice but basic (black, blue, grey, some pin stripes pants and checkered shirts). I have a nice pair of black and brown shoes. As already one semester into B-School, I've got to figure this out. Thanks and sorry for the strange request.
 

mdesq

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Andy (of Ask Andy) offers the Encyclopedia of Men's Clothes which has a chapter on coordination which might be helpful.
(I hope I'm not breaking any rules by cross referencing on this forum, but I don't think SF has anything like that.)
 

Zenny

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Look at the WAYWRN thread.
 

TheConstantGardener

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No *ish.

Spent an hour looking through it and writing notes,...still so much more to look through.
Maybe I can't come up with it but at least I can recognize good style when I see it.

Question?: What's up with most of the jackets pictured in these threads?

I described them as "coats with fitted waists" in my notes,....is there an accepted way of describing the coats that taper in at the waist as most of those do?

I don't know that I've seen those for sale anywhere I've shopped.
 

Irond Will

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Originally Posted by TheConstantGardener
I'm 30 and its time to admit it: I cannot put a nice outfit together.


I've spent plenty of money on nice clothes and suits and have what I would consider an adequate collection of nice shirts (10), pants (7), jackets(6), etc....

...but am so unsure of how to put any of them together into a cohesive outfit that I end up never wearing any of them!

Can anyone point me in the direction of a good book/article/website,...on the basics of what colors/patterns go together? I mean....I don't even know where to start. Do you start an outfit with the shirt or jacket or pants?

Most of my stuff is nice but basic (black, blue, grey, some pin stripes pants and checkered shirts). I have a nice pair of black and brown shoes.

As already one semester into B-School, I've got to figure this out.
Thanks and sorry for the strange request.


I basically suck at this too. I'm starting out with the basics - neutral-colored suits or jackets, white shirts - all I need to do is find an acceptable tie and a pocket square (and I can always punt to a white square). After getting used to this, I've felt a little more confident branching out a little. It's good advice to keep abreast of what the pros are doing in the WAYWRN thread for inspiration and ideas, though it's hard not to let their materialism color you.
 

Zenny

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Originally Posted by TheConstantGardener
No *ish.

Spent an hour looking through it and writing notes,...still so much more to look through.
Maybe I can't come up with it but at least I can recognize good style when I see it.

Question?: What's up with most of the jackets pictured in these threads?

I described them as "coats with fitted waists" in my notes,....is there an accepted way of describing the coats that taper in at the waist as most of those do?

I don't know that I've seen those for sale anywhere I've shopped.


It's called "waist suppression" (eg: the jacket has a suppressed waist).

It creates a silhouette much like that of the body and IMO looks much better than sack coats. But saying "fitted waist" is fine.

If you go to say H&M you can pickup a jacket with a very fitted waist but BB will have less suppression, getting a well fitted jacket OTR is usually unlikely. Most of the people in the photos have their jackets tailored and have the waist taken in to give the desired silhouette.
 

The Transporter

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I have the same issue but it stems from being colorblind so I stick to the basics. I hate having to ask people all the time whether things go together when I want to branch out.
 

koolhistorian

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Originally Posted by TheConstantGardener
I'm 30 and its time to admit it: I cannot put a nice outfit together.


I've spent plenty of money on nice clothes and suits and have what I would consider an adequate collection of nice shirts (10), pants (7), jackets(6), etc....

...but am so unsure of how to put any of them together into a cohesive outfit that I end up never wearing any of them!

Can anyone point me in the direction of a good book/article/website,...on the basics of what colors/patterns go together? I mean....I don't even know where to start. Do you start an outfit with the shirt or jacket or pants?

Most of my stuff is nice but basic (black, blue, grey, some pin stripes pants and checkered shirts). I have a nice pair of black and brown shoes.

As already one semester into B-School, I've got to figure this out.
Thanks and sorry for the strange request.


Ok, there are some basics:
Buy your outfits with a starting point - for example your suit (the most costly item) towards the tie (the cheaper one), or starting from the jacket, but don't do the reverse (buy a tie, and then go around it).
Some pinstripe gray pants are nice, but paired with a similarly nice tweed jacket won't do a good looking outfit, but there is a chance that navy blazer will fit nicely the pants!
Start with plains - grey and navy for suits, white and blue for shirts, red and navy for the ties and slowly work it out, it is a learning process, it takes time and resources. There are some good sellers on e-bay (look for A. Harris's shop or others, on the affiliate thread on the forum), find a good alterations tailor (aside from bespoke or very high end MTM, no RTW suit will fit you directly off the rack).
For books - just click on the style forum amazon shop - you have the most of them, a very didactical blog is Will's A Suitable Wardrobe, look at the WAYWRN thread, but this is a little bit "advanced class"!
Good luck!
 

rs232

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Since we're cross-referencing sites, I hate the sack suit look. For a long time I read many adjectives, like comfortable, easy, generous, American, staple, etc, but all I see in pictures is fat guys in loose-fitting suits. I've never seen a person of thinner proportions wearing a dartless sack suit (or are sack suits allowed darts?). Andy waxes lyrical on the virtues of all his latest suits, and they're obviously well-made, but ...

http://www.askandyaboutclothes.com/i...20x%20400).jpg

No offense or meanness intended Andy, but this guy's wearing a $200 suit from Lowes, and it doesn't look different. Granted, it will probably fall out of shape within a year, but that still leaves you wearing a $200-look-alike.

http://www.lowes.com.au/applications..._Pinstripe.jpg

Part of the problem, I feel, is that suits tend to favour certain body shapes, and overweight isn't really one of them. Something like letting pick-stitching trump proportion ...

So then, to the OP, maybe all your clothing just has a daggy sack cut, and isn't going to look great no matter what you do? If they're basic navy, charcoals, etc, then they should look good if they are cut well and fit properly. Post a pic, and describe what you think is wrong with it to better enable others to think of solutions?
 

Zenny

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Originally Posted by rs232
Since we're cross-referencing sites, I hate the sack suit look. For a long time I read many adjectives, like comfortable, easy, generous, American, staple, etc, but all I see in pictures is fat guys in loose-fitting suits. I've never seen a person of thinner proportions wearing a dartless sack suit (or are sack suits allowed darts?). Andy waxes lyrical on the virtues of all his latest suits, and they're obviously well-made, but ...

http://www.askandyaboutclothes.com/i...20x%20400).jpg

No offense or meanness intended Andy, but this guy's wearing a $200 suit from Lowes, and it doesn't look different. Granted, it will probably fall out of shape within a year, but that still leaves you wearing a $200-look-alike.

http://www.lowes.com.au/applications..._Pinstripe.jpg

Part of the problem, I feel, is that suits tend to favour certain body shapes, and overweight isn't really one of them. Something like letting pick-stitching trump proportion ...

So then, to the OP, maybe all your clothing just has a daggy sack cut, and isn't going to look great no matter what you do? If they're basic navy, charcoals, etc, then they should look good if they are cut well and fit properly. Post a pic, and describe what you think is wrong with it to better enable others to think of solutions?




I kinda agree, I never got the whole "full cut" suit look. Even my dad, who has a bit of a beer belly, wears darted suits and it helps alot compared to a comparative sack suit
 

Holdfast

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Originally Posted by TheConstantGardener
I've spent plenty of money on nice clothes and suits and have what I would consider an adequate collection of nice shirts (10), pants (7), jackets(6), etc....

...but am so unsure of how to put any of them together into a cohesive outfit that I end up never wearing any of them!



Stop spending money on clothes.

Spend money on looking at art, going to museums, noticing the world around you, etc, etc. That sounds horribly patronising and pretentious, I know, but I would say that being able to co-ordinate clothing is an aesthetic skill that improves as you "get your eye in".

You can do that by browsing the WAYWN thread (or its "best of" spin-off) or, even better, by learning to appreciate what looks nice and why. This isn't just a clothing issue, it's a general way of looking at the world and thinking about what harmonises nicely. Once you have that, you can experiment with more outre looks.

Money can get you stuff that is made-well & fits nicely, if you choose well. But it won't buy you an eye for a nice look. Practice does (and it helps if you have a natural inclination towards aesthetics I think). If I'm preaching to the converted, and you already have a good aesthetic sense, transfer those principles over to making choices about your outfits. It's the same thing, really.
 

koolhistorian

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Originally Posted by Holdfast
Stop spending money on clothes.

Spend money on looking at art, going to museums, noticing the world around you, etc, etc. That sounds horribly patronising and pretentious, I know, but I would say that being able to co-ordinate clothing is an aesthetic skill that improves as you "get your eye in".

You can do that by browsing the WAYWN thread (or its "best of" spin-off) or, even better, by learning to appreciate what looks nice and why. This isn't just a clothing issue, it's a general way of looking at the world and thinking about what harmonises nicely. Once you have that, you can experiment with more outre looks.

Money can get you stuff that is made-well & fits nicely, if you choose well. But it won't buy you an eye for a nice look. Practice does (and it helps if you have a natural inclination towards aesthetics I think). If I'm preaching to the converted, and you already have a good aesthetic sense, transfer those principles over to making choices about your outfits. It's the same thing, really.

Best advice !
 

SkinnyGoomba

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Start with the basics and move outwards.

Start putting together your suit with white shirt/red tie looks, and make them work. Get the sleeves right, get the waist supression right, and get everything to the point where it really works well for you.

Then move onto the next look, sportcoat, trou. Find a sportcoat and trousers that work well, if you need help, post them on this board. Then find a few more trousers that work with that same coat. Do the same as the above, get the sleeves and waist suppression right, and get the pant lenghts right.

Once all the basics are taken care of, then its time to experiment, start missing and matching shirts and ties with your suits and sportcoats, take pics, post them on WAYW, if its a good look people will mention it. The good looks will get some good compliments, the bad looks will not.

You must realise that for every hit, there are a few misses, so dont be shy on putting together something that doesnt work for fear of looking bad.
 

TheConstantGardener

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Thanks to everyone! Very helpful. Looking through the WAYWRN thread was truley inspirational. After taking some notes, etc...I starting trying to kinda imitate the looks with my pieces, and as I suspected,....my pieces are just fine! One of the things I'm learning is "how" to wear the pieces. For instance, I'm guilty of wearing my pants too low,....and just generally taking every opportunity to wear each piece as casually as possible (loosley tucked in shirt, sloppy loose tie knot, etc..) Seriously though, it was like a light-switch went on and I realized that wearing things correctly...eventually gives the whole look a sense of 'hipness' that drooping your pants could never achieve. I'm also really excited about several other accessories that I'd never thought I'd do....like a cloth in the coat, suspenders, and careful attention to sock color (another advantage of wearing pants correctly is you can actually see them sometimes. I picked up a few of the just mentioned articles today and am going to spend tonight putting some outfits together and taking pictures of them. That way when I'm struggling putting an outfit together I can open up iphoto and pick one. Maybe I'll post a couple late tonight or tomorrow here. If no one responds, I'll know I need to keep trying
 

Zenny

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Originally Posted by TheConstantGardener
Thanks to everyone! Very helpful.

Looking through the WAYWRN thread was truley inspirational. After taking some notes, etc...I starting trying to kinda imitate the looks with my pieces, and as I suspected,....my pieces are just fine! One of the things I'm learning is "how" to wear the pieces. For instance, I'm guilty of wearing my pants too low,....and just generally taking every opportunity to wear each piece as casually as possible (loosley tucked in shirt, sloppy loose tie knot, etc..)

Seriously though, it was like a light-switch went on and I realized that wearing things correctly...eventually gives the whole look a sense of 'hipness' that drooping your pants could never achieve.

I'm also really excited about several other accessories that I'd never thought I'd do....like a cloth in the coat, suspenders, and careful attention to sock color (another advantage of wearing pants correctly is you can actually see them sometimes.

I picked up a few of the just mentioned articles today and am going to spend tonight putting some outfits together and taking pictures of them. That way when I'm struggling putting an outfit together I can open up iphoto and pick one.

Maybe I'll post a couple late tonight or tomorrow here.
If no one responds, I'll know I need to keep trying


"cloth in the coat" = pocket square?
 

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