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Voxsartoria's Coherent Combinations - What "Fit(s)" Do You Wear Most Often During the Week?

What "Fit" Do You Wear Most Often During the Week? (Voxsartoria Coherent Combinations)

  • "City" Suits

    Votes: 28 34.1%
  • Casual Suits That Overlap with City Looks Suits

    Votes: 11 13.4%
  • Casual Suits That Do Not Overlap with City Looks Suits

    Votes: 3 3.7%
  • City/Formal Odd Jackets

    Votes: 34 41.5%
  • Country/Casual Odd Jackets

    Votes: 26 31.7%
  • "Unstructured" Jackets

    Votes: 9 11.0%
  • Slacks + shirt (no jacket) - non Vox category

    Votes: 11 13.4%

  • Total voters
    82

jrd617

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I came across a link to the long-lost Coherent Combination thread. Captured for posterity by the Internet Archive:
https://web.archive.org/web/2012021...oughts-on-coherent-combinations-for-beginners

One of the questions asked is:

Can I wear a city look appropriately most days of the week? Social comfort is an elastic concept that differs for every individual’s circumstances. Its range is bounded fundamentally by how willing you are to make others uncomfortable and how well you can survive their discomfort.

https://web.archive.org/web/2012021...erent-combinations-for-beginners#post_5203608

I thought it would be interesting poll people on what type of fit they wear most during the week. Up to TWO choices are allowed. (Please no more than two for the purposes of this poll - make a judgment call) We are talking weekday wear, not weekend.


"City" Suits

445cd6ce_i-kcsJFHv.jpeg

It is always a suit. It can be a two piece suit, single or double breasted, but single breasted is safer. A three piece suit with a[U single breasted vest (waistcoat if you prefer) without lapels can be a tolerable archaism depending on location and what you do.

The color of the suit is always dark blue, or shades of gray. Not brown, not tan. The pattern is solid, or variants of solids like birds-eyes, nailheads, sharkskin, etc. Acceptable patterns from the casual world include discreet pinstripes, chalk stripes (don't let this throw you, but striped suits come from tennis and ball sports) and fine herringbones. Plaids and box checks, well, any check, are too rusticating for a role here.
The material is always smoothly finished worsted wool (not flannel, silk, cotton etc. which we will discuss later.)

The hip pockets on the jacket have straight flaps. The breast pocket is a welt. Pants can have flat or pleated fronts. The pants can be held up with a belt, suspenders, or waistband adjustors as you prefer. Acceptable forms from the casual spectrum, depending on where you live and what you do, are cuffs on the pants, and center, side vents, and hacking and ticket pockets on the jacket. Patch pockets are too rusticating.

Shirts are white, either barrel or double cuffs, point or semi-spread collars. Acceptable forms from the casual spectrum, depending on where live and what you do, are solid light blue shirts or blue and white stripes.

Neckties are solid grenadines or other textured woven silks, wedding tie patterns in silk, silk prints with discrete repeating non-figurative patterns. Sheen is medium to matte during the day, can be more at night. Diagonally striped ties are okay unless you’re British, for whom special rules still exist about such patterns.

Breast pockets have no squares or hankies. Acceptable from the casual spectrum are fine white linen hankies, puffed in or edges out in a plain fold. A silk print square is okay in principle, but is often undermining in practice.

Shoes are black lace up plain or cap toe oxfords. Acceptable influences from the casual world are discreet broguing on a cap toe or a wingtip, and shoes in a dark oxblood or dark brown. Not suede. Derby versions outside of the Anglo-American sphere are fine.

Socks are not fun.

Now, do not misinterpret this list. Deviations from it that remain for all practical extents equivalently formal and good looking are many. The exact elements might differ slightly here and there depending on where one lives. Climates with seasonality, or ones of extremes, might suggest options not presented above.

Nevertheless:

If your goal as a beginner is to look great, well, here is a way that you can do it reliably every time in a way that works all across the world and in nearly every social circle that expects coat and tie. In fact, every man should be able to assemble this look even if he needs to call on it rarely.

So, why is it happening so infrequently? It could be that when a look is made so plain, the wearer feels that a lack of quality in make or fit is more keenly revealed. "I'll fool the eye," the thinking might go, "with this crazy sock, or this pizza grenade pocket square, or maybe...just maybe...a color common in the women's department."

This might be true, but I do not conclude it is the most common issue. I think that what I see is that a lot of guys probably know, even today, how this type of look gets put together. They've seen it in movies, on TV, and some even still read.

These guys (maybe you!) then develop doubts: maybe it is too formal, too public, too city.

And you know what? It just might be...for you. Think about this.

The most common reaction seems to be to rusticate this formality by taking the city look and staging a country invasion. After all, don't those snappy dressers do this often?

Well, some do, some don't.

The case that I will make in the next set of examples is that it is better for beginners to do this holisticallly across the board rather than piecemeal. Do not put a moustache on the Mona Lisa of the city look if the city look is not right for your life. Save it for that event or occasion for which is it right for your personal circumstances.

Don't worry: we have not given up on the suit. In the next post, we will look at examples where the sliders all move back toward the casual/private/country
Casual Suits That Overlap with City Look Suits

304x700px-LL-2361203d_i-nxpJxwQ.jpeg

The degree of overlap differs by place and culture. The overlap is a consequence of how much country was accepted into the city in the years after the lounge suit won its place of supremacy. There remain narrow contexts in which no overlap exists even today. Generally speaking, however, this mode of casualization is acceptable in most places.

The key concept is that casual suits in the first group can be made to fit in completely fine in a city look when combined with city accessories. Unlike a city suit, these suits can also be combined with more rustic elements successfully to dial back the whole look to something more casual.

And that is what we are after if we want an easy execution of a coherent look.

In contrast, the casual suits in the second group—by fabric, feature or patterns—are never intended to be anything more than casual: they have no substitution value or intent for a city look. They are casual suits through and through.

What are casual suits in this first group, the ones that overlap with the city suit?

The first attribute is that they are cut and “featured” exactly the same way as their city look cousins (no patch pockets, no throat latches, etc.).

The second attribute is that their fabrics are more rustic, in the following range:

Blue, gray and brown flannel suits in solids or stripes (and the seasonal equivalent of flannels, such as frescos, hopsacks, etc.)

Brown suits in city worsted solids or stripes.

Blue, gray and brown worsted suits in urbanized country patterns: muted and small scale glen checks; houndstooth; etc.

How far one can get from the first to the third bullet, from week day to weekend, is a function, again, of place and culture. Fortunately, empirical determination is easy. If you find yourself in an environment in which a city look does not work, it is safe to say that you are not in an environment so formal as to inherently disqualify a casual suit in the first group as irredeemably informal.

City accessories will have no problems co-existing with these suits; neither will the more rustic types of accessories that we discussed in the previous posts in this thread.





Casual Suits That Do Not Overlap with City Look Suits

350x525px-LL-6ac2ff4f_i-9WpLcx9.jpeg

Well, the simplest way to think about this is everything that is not in the first group fits into the second. This includes:

Suits in alternative fabrics such as cottons, silks, linens, tweeds real and faux, corduroy, (dare I say denim? It has been done), etc.

Suits in explicit country, loud, or obvious patterns, or unusual colors.

Suits with informalizing, sporting features, such as a jacket with three patch pockets, action or belted backs, etc.

In this second group, it is very difficult or impossible to make most city accessories look good. Casual suits in this category are the opposite of the city look when it comes to accessories: they look great with the informal accessories that typically look terrible with a city suit.

At one time, it was relatively difficult to find RTW suits in this group. Today, however, it seems that a lot of choice is available as a wide variety of alternative fabrics are marketed in the form of suits.

Suits in this category also essentially overlap with the next category that we will discuss as we move one step further toward the country/informal : coat and tie with the odd jacket.

Why should a beginner consider casual suit suits in this second category, then, if he can simply achieve a similar level of informality by wearing the familiar odd jacket and tie?

The most important reason is that suits are “easier.” The jacket and pants already are coordinated.

Do not underestimate the value of this simple fact, especially for you, the beginner.

Moreover, despite the overlap with the familiar odd jacket/odd trouser, the casual suit has a debonair pedigree that lends it a continuing debonair affect that can be appealing to men who like clothes well enough to think about them. That might also be you, despite being a beginner.

Just try to line up the range of formality of accesories, on one hand, to the type of suit, on the other, if you wish to achieve a coherent look more effortlessly.





City/Formal Odd Jackets

350x649px-LL-c4110f97_i-84DMTdJ-X2.jpeg

For our purposes—putting together coherent “fits” easily—odd jackets in the city/formal spectrum have one thing in common: nearly all “city look” suit accessories work with these odd jackets. If you are wearing a city look gray suit, striped shirt, neatly patterned silk tie, and black oxfords, you can remove the suit jacket and replace it with a navy blue blazer without another thought.

In several of the previous posts in this thread, we discussed how it was unwise to attempt to informalize a city suit with accessories appropriate for a casual suit. Once we include odd jackets in the mix, however, we now have a way to informalize that city look successfully, which is to replace the suit jacket with a city/formal odd jacket.

Such jackets, again, are:

The navy blazer and other solid navy odd jackets done in classic serge, hopsack, flannels, but also cashmeres, camel hair, linen, cotton, silks.

Jackets in other solid colors (such as beige camel) or all classic jacket colors in weaves and textures that resolve to a solid except up close.

Now, unlike a city look suit, however, you can also successfully informalize city/formal odd jackets themselves (e.g., patch pockets), and accessorize city/formal odd jacket ensembles with the more rustic/informal accessories that we discussed in the previous sections on the casual suit.

Examples include neckties in materials other than silk. Try a challis, Irish poplin, Mogador, or a knit tie. Maybe lose the tie altogether. Add checked, multi-striped, and colored shirts. Button-down collars. Sweater vests. Multi-colored “pocket squares.” Patterned but subtle socks. Colored and brogued shoes…or loafers. And even patterned trousers or ones in non-standard colors.

Some of these casual options are going to be usually subtle. It is possible, but difficult, to get a really crazy Irish poplin tie, for example. It is very easy, in contrast, to get a pocket square or pants that are rather crazy.

Because odd jacket looks hold such wide possibility for over-festooning, if you experiment with a crazy accessory (in the next post we will see this can be the odd jacket itself), try keeping it to one item. The crazier that one item, the more chance of success you will have as a beginner if you tone everything else back.






Country/Casual Odd Jackets

350x386px-LL-2d782a83_002we21.jpeg

336x700px-LL-e4443d5f_p1030737kf71.jpeg

For our purposes—putting together coherent “fits” easily—odd jackets in the country/casual spectrum have one thing in common: nearly all “city look” suit accessories are non-optimal or even poor choices for these odd jackets.

Such jackets, again, are:

Country and obviously patterned jackets, all tweeds (even more subtle ones such as Donegals), heavily textured fabrics like corduroys, etc.
Tweeds have remarkable popularity among online denizens. Out in wild, however, tweeds are far outnumbered by their city/formal odd jacket counterparts. As a beginner, when you accessorize a tweed, you would be wise to keep in mind that it is always a country jacket. Tweed in the city is rus in urbe, country in the city. It is never, never urbane. So, you should typically match it with rusticated accessories: shirts, ties, squares, shoes.

You might protest, “If I do that, I might look like an extra from All Creatures Great and Small.” Well, some of you oft do and it is odd to see you tramping around a metropolitan area dressed that way.

The trick with taming tweeds is to (a) wear the relevant rustic accessories but (b) go back to the basics of color coordination, pattern and texture coordination, and contrast combination to tone down the “fit.” This lends itself to a quiet coherence that extends the relevance of wearing tweed into wider circumstances compatible with city living. This is why beginners should always wear solid pants with tweed and solid or subtle patterned, textured, and knit neckties.

Again, the beginner who sports the louder the country/casual jacket, the bolder the pattern, the more he should try calming the other elements in the "fit."

Few looks are more wonderful that a no-holds-barred tweed look. You know, Duke of Windsor-y, clash-on-clash. Yet, I am sure that I will incite no controversy if I were to note that doing so outside of your estate or emerging from your Daimler makes you stand out in a dandified way. Does bold balance bold? Yes it can, but it is not a natural or inherent skill for most guys. If you are a beginner who has gotten to this point in this thread, you have already decided this is not how you will approach wearing coat and tie in your immediate future.

The same considerations that apply to all tweed and other country fabrics apply to all obviously patterned odd jackets, even if made from more citified materials like cashmeres or camel hair. A loud pattern says country/casual even if the fabric inherently does not. Do not let the soft hand of that boldly checked cashmere jacket fool you.





"Unstructured" Jackets

350x493px-LL-d441ceb4_MCc7G.jpeg

This leads us to a relatively new but expanding category of odd jackets, which are unstructured, untailored jackets. By “untailored,” I mean lacking some of the usual structural elements of jackets, such as a canvas, shoulder support, or even a lining. These jackets are unlikely to be urbane and formal. Increasing numbers of RTW examples, in fact, come from the niche fashion world that prizes "workwear" and denim as every day, all day wear. This type of jacket has special relevance for many of you since you wear jeans.

For those of you who find yourselves way at the casual end of the city/formal to country/informal spectrum, it is worth considering such jackets. If you wear jeans most of the time, it makes sense to be open to jackets that are designed by makers who are are looking at clothes from the viewpoint of that aesthetic.

One of the evolutionary changes in Style Forum years ago was the division of the forum and various recurring threads between “Mens Clothing” and “Streetwear and Denim.” Do not let that divide prevent you from considering this category of jacket if your daily preference involves wearing denim, since that will maximize the chance that your look will be coherent: our goal in this thread. With a few notable exceptions, some of the worst looks shared on SF have been those involving tailored jackets and jeans.



Slacks + shirt (no jacket) - non Vox category

 
Last edited:

jrd617

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Personally, I go for the City/Formal and County/Casual jackets most. Very rarely (maybe 15x per year) bring out a suit
 
Last edited:

razl

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Personally, I go for the City/Formal and County/Casual jackets most. Very rarely (maybe 15x per year) bring out a suit


Ditto. I lean city more than country (say, 70/30 split) but only rarely a suit. Of course the great unwashed constantly refer to my odd jacket ensembles as "he's wearing a suit" - sigh...
 

tattoodobem

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I think this information is really good for beginers. It help you understand what is more appropriate for one's lifestyle and to set a goal.
 

jrd617

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Of course the great unwashed constantly refer to my odd jacket ensembles as "he's wearing a suit" - sigh...


+1

This happens a lot to me. Somehow, even an unconstructed tan sportcoat + jeans = "a suit." I never argue with anyone on this, though, as it's usually said within the context of "you look nice."

This recent MW commercial certainly doesn't help the clarify:

http://www.ispot.tv/ad/71bv/mens-wearhouse-jeans-and-jacket
 
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Claghorn

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That ****** couldn't sound more smarmy if he tried.
 

Gus

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I rarely need to wear a suit. I work with owners of creative businesses and a City or Country suit suit looks far to formal to them. The one exception is a solid navy or tan suit without a tie. I find unconstructed jackets or casual suits work best. I wear jeans frequently with my jackets but also wear cotton/cashmere blends, cotton twill and grey flannels. To coordinate properly with unconstructed jackets they need to be tailored to a somewhat trim fit.
 

in stitches

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Personally, I go for the City/Formal and County/Casual jackets most. Very rarely (maybe 15x per year) bring out a suit


Pretty much this, but I wear suit almost once a week, certainly every other. More often as my collection grows.
 

size 38R

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Wow, that was a great proclamation of mis-information.- he has no idea.
baldy[1].gif


i'm usually wearing a tweed/check s/c, waistcoat(cardigan in winter), and jeans. as my work can vary from office work, to setting up major festivals, to building factories. and working with heavy equipment. hey, when you don't know what the day will bring. dress nice. and ready for either a business meeting, or rolling up the sleeves to get your hands dirty. workers and clients appreciate it when you can make a deal. and help out when on site.

business men can wear jeans.
 

YRR92

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Wow, that was a great proclamation of mis-information.- he has no idea.
baldy[1].gif


i'm usually wearing a tweed/check s/c, waistcoat(cardigan in winter), and jeans. as my work can vary from office work, to setting up major festivals, to building factories. and working with heavy equipment. hey, when you don't know what the day will bring. dress nice. and ready for either a business meeting, or rolling up the sleeves to get your hands dirty. workers and clients appreciate it when you can make a deal. and help out when on site.

business men can wear jeans.

You know, between you and Vox, I can tell you who knows more about clothes.
devil.gif


I also don't see where anybody in this thread said you can't wear jeans for business. You can't wear jeans to an office where everybody else wears suits, but a big part of the original thread is that it would be silly to wear a suit to an office where everyone else wears jeans (unless you've decided to accept that you tend a little bit towards dandyishness) -- or to wear a suit when your work requires you to do things incompatible with a suit.
 
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ter1413

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City suits and casual suits THAT overlap. City suits 75% of the time.
 

Quadcammer

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Wow, that was a great proclamation  of mis-information.- he has no idea.
baldy%5B1%5D.gif


i'm usually wearing a tweed/check s/c, waistcoat(cardigan in winter), and jeans. as my work can vary from office work, to setting up major festivals, to building factories. and working with heavy equipment. hey, when you don't know what the day will bring. dress nice. and ready for either a business meeting, or rolling up the sleeves to get your hands dirty. workers  and clients appreciate it when you can make a deal. and help out when on site.

business men can wear jeans.


oh dear god.

please child, shut your mouth (keyboard?) as you just continue to make yourself look foolish.

I'm about 50% city suits, 25% country suits, and the remainder in all of the remaining categories (save the last one) depending on my mood.
 

in stitches

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Betelgeuse

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Personally, I go for the City/Formal and County/Casual jackets most. Very rarely (maybe 15x per year) bring out a suit

Same here. I'm trying to grow that collection and add just one or two suits. I really don't use a lot of suits right now and living in a place where City Suits are the common denominator (although it's more like a combination of a City Suit and a Casual Suit, something weird) going for the City and Casual jackets it's a lot better and I feel comfortable.
 

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