THE NAVY SUIT | Ties and Pocket Squares Combos

In the post 90's Neil Strauss world of Peacocking, men's tailoring has found its dimmer switch. Between the garishly elaborate 'statement pieces' and the monochrome mundanities of men’s tailoring, lies a convenient halfway house that is accoutrements. In particular ties and pocket squares. Today I want to zero in on the Navy suit and what ties and pocket squares make a good pairing.

Whilst doing some research for the post I took to the net in true Arnie with a mini-gun mode, bouncing between blogs, Insta and Pinterest posts with equal and efficient precision. A lot of people will talk about colour wheels and triadic colour schemes, which is all great and if you'd like to take a deep-dive on that then I'll need to credit the guys over at Deep Knot for their Tie and Pocket Square Combinations Editorial. But I'm going to offer you more of a broad view of combinations that catch my eye, and maybe worm a little science along the way. For more fashion inspiration, you can check out my look book article on How to wear Your Navy Suit 5 Ways

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The Future is Orange

The aforementioned colour wheel will highlight orange as the colour diametrically opposed to Navy Blue. Known as the complementary colour scheme. There is no starker contrast on the planet than a Navy/Orange combo. Credit goes to the Silver London for demonstrating how to subtly peacock with this Reiss navy suit and orange accoutrements. If you're looking to flirt a little with the pocket square then you might want to dull the orange slightly, allowing room for manoeuvre in other departments such as a polka dot pattern and a pin stripe shirt.

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Micro Check Shirt/Gingham Shirt

Look I've made it into this collage, how did that happen haha? I think this is one of the most underused combos in men’s tailoring right now, the gingham shirt and Navy suit combo. I've paired my own Hawkins & Shepherd Gingham Shirt with a Navy Knitted tie. However, whereas mine and the others featured are micro-check, Ewan to the right of me went for a bolder separated gingham keeping close to a monochromatic colour palette (a scheme that involves pairing darker and lighter variants of the same colour). 

Kudos also goes to Lookastic.Com for showing us how it's done with the Navy Vertical Striped Blazer, adorned but not distracted by the Charcoal Pocket Square and Brown Plaid Wool Tie. 

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Paisley Crazy

When it comes to pairing paisley patterns imagine being a movie director trying to reign in a Jim Carrey in his prime. His exuberance is off the chart and destroying the picture, it's your job to mollify him but not brow beat him into thinking he can't go off-piste now and again. So Paisley is all about showing restraint. It doesn't need a partner in crime, it just needs others to do their job. You'll find patterns and textures the most exciting part of pairing because you'll get to exercise your creative muscle. I've highlighted some less bilious pairings, but as Bukowski once said 'Some people never go Paisley. What truly horrible lives they must lead.' Or something like that. 

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How to build your entire wardrobe with only 10 outfits | ep. 1 The navy suit

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I like to follow the concept of a minimalist capsule wardrobe but at the same time have great outfits for every occasion. The main requirement for a look to make its way into my wardrobe is to withstand the test of time: it worked ten years ago, it works now, and it will work ten years from now. The first look that fits that bill to a T is a fitted navy suit combined with white button up, grey tie and a finishing touch of a white pocket square.

There are few simple rules you should follow in order to perfectly style your navy suit (and any other suit in general). These include:

The Blazer: There are three things you should pay your attention to when selecting a blazer which are the widths of lapels, length of the sleeves and overall fit. Make sure the lapels on your blazer are rather slim, sometimes wider lapels can make your appearance wider, but this all depends on your body shape. Wider peek lapels are a tailoring classic but do not suit the masses, so I would suggest getting a second or third opinion when going for a wide lapel. A general rule is - don’t have anything wide around your face, because it makes everything else appear wider as well. The Sleeves should be a tiny bit shorter than you might expect (even though it may feel counterintuitive) so that the cuffs of your crisp white shirt show approx. ¾ of an inch below your blazer. Getting the perfect fit is key to everything, pay attention to how much extra space you have in your shoulder area (where the top button of your blazer buttons) and your bicep area. In these areas the blazer should be snug but not tight. You should be able to comfortably put your arms in your jacket yet not to have it too loose, which would create wrinkles of excessive fabric.

The Tie: As Oscar Wilde wisely pointed out “A well tied-tie is the first serious step in life”. Besides knowing how to tie a tie it’s also important to know how to style it correctly. I suggest to follow the same principle as for lapels and go for a slim or semi-slim tie of which a grey tie works wonders with a navy suit. A simple rule you should adhere to is to match the widest measurement of your tie to the suit lapel width. A semi slim tie has a width of around 6 to 6.5cm, measure your ties by calculating the distance between the two widest parts which should be at the tie blade.

The Trousers: You want them to fit you like a fitted pair of jeans. It’s the middle of the spectrum between slim fit and relaxed fit you are looking for.

The Shoes: The key thing to remember about the shoes is that their main role is to complement your outfit and not to make a statement. This is why I believe you should avoid wingtips or any other major details. Also, avoid a boxy shape.

The Pocket Square: There are so many ways to wear a pocket square but my recommendation is simple. Go for the straight line fold. It might be understated yet it screams class. If you are styling your suit and pocket square without a tie, this gives you more freedom to experiment with a pocket square fold.

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Now you have my complete guide to one of the top 10 essential looks in men’s wardrobe. I call this look “the confidence booster”. Whether I want to look great when meeting a business client or impress a date, this is the look I can always rely on. Try it for yourself. When you do this look right you will feel like a million dollars, yet, you don't have to part with a million dollars to get it.

 

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Dressing Smart Casual | The Men's Style Edit

When an invite suggests dressing 'Smart Casual' it's always met with question marks around whether to veer more towards smart or casual? For me smart-casual means a pair of trousers or smart jeans, a shirt, blazer and shoes...no ties, no trainers and certainly no shorts unless you are in Italy in the fashionable Tuscany district, then it's passable. I think many men struggle with dressing smart casual because there are decisions to be made! So in this Style Edit, I've put together an outfit that I would class as smart-casual (*with a little toe more in the smart side).

I've styled a navy suit, as it's always good to turn up to your meeting or event dressed on the smarter side, then you can always lose the blazer for a slightly casual look. Alternatively you could wear a blazer with a pair of smart jeans (no rips) or trousers in contrasting colours. If your trousers are slim or tapered fit then you have the ability to wear a pair of loafers without any socks. On to the shirt, of course a tie is not required so a button-down or even a granddad shirt is the perfect collar type for smart-causal attire. If you want to marten up a little bit, add a touch of class with a pocjet square or silk scarf as I have demonstrated in this look.

 

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Photography by Rebecca Spencer

SMART CITY WORKWEAR LOOK

It's that time of year when we all feel a little bit depressed - our summer holidays have been and gone, its raining more, colder and getting darker earlier. This is the perfect time to give yourself a confidence boost at work with a completely new look this autumn. Putting on a crisp shirt and pressed suit should give you confidence for the day ahead.

In this classic yet contemporary smart city office look, I have kept things simple with a navy 3-piece suit from ASOS and added some finer details with a navy check pin collar shirt and copper/coffee pin bar from Hawkins & Shepherd shirtmakers. 

Match the ASOS grey skinny tie with some grey socks. When choosing footwear, both black or brown shoes work equally as well. Keep the pocket square simple with whites or navy however if you are comfortable adding some bold colours you cant go wrong with oranges or yellows.

 

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Photos by Sophie Milner

HOW TO DRESS FOR AN INTERVIEW OR IMPORTANT MEETING

Dressing for an interview is not the time to start experimenting.
— Carl Thompson, Founder Hawkins & Shepherd

Interviews and important meetings can be a very stressful time wether it is getting your presentation right, making sure your voice doesn't get that embarrassing shaky tone or what to wear to make the best impression.

Although I'm a dab hand at PowerPoint, I'm probably best qualified to help you out on the styling aspect and leave someone else to deal with the other stuff!

Firstly the most important thing is that you dress in something which you are comfortable in both physically and mentally. So pick a shirt that fits you well, not too small that the buttons are screaming out for extra stitching or the shirt is cutting off your circulation under the arms. What I mean by dressing comfortable mentally is just dress in something that doesn't make you feel anxious. Wear something you have worn before and liked what you felt and looked like. An interview is NOT the place to start experimenting with different colour combinations. Focus on whats important, which is getting that job!

Don't go over the top. Choose a plain Navy/Grey suit or if you are fashion forward maybe opt for a subtle window-pane or Prince of Wales Check suit. You should avoid bold tones, black or brown suits, as these can be seen a depressing colours.

Saying that, you need to stand out. So you can best do this with either the shirt or the accessories. In this look, I have gone for a gingham check red and navy extreme cutaway shirt which is bold however I have kept the tie simple with a knitted navy design and not worn a pocket square.

Do not over accessorise. There are many options when accessorising your formal look. Pocket squares, socks, tie bars, flower lapels, ties etc. Do not over use all of these accessories and do not match the colours as it can be too over powering.

Be yourself and be confident, now get out there and smash it!

 

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Hawkins & Shepherd Shirt | Suit Supply Suit | Gibson London Tie | Hawkins & Shepherd Socks | Dune Shoes | Tie Bar by Stytched

Photo Credit Sophie Milner

THE DECK CHAIR SHIRT!

When choosing fabric and designing the Hawkins & Shepherd Spring Summer 2015 collection, I wanted to go bright and bold to accompany their popular yet safe essentials collection.

Bold stripes and gingham checks are what I decided to focus on and will be THE designs to have throughout SS15 and even AW15. Although they are beautiful shirts, they are also hard to style correctly and therefore often avoided and instead opting for the bog standard whites and blues.

Well today is lesson one in how to style them. It is important to match bold colours in particular stripes with a block colour and in this case I chose navy. Try to keep the small details small and not over used or over powering. In this look I have gone for Hawkins & Shepherd Red wool socks but thats it with the red accessorising. It would be too much to then add a red pocket square..its one or the other.

Other than the coffee, which was awesome by the way; thanks The Chelsea Quarter Cafe on Kings Road - the only other accessory I have worn is a navy tie pin with palm tree details by stytched.co.uk. The worst sin when wearing a tie bar is if the tie bar hangs over the edge of the tie and with this particular bar being 1.75" in length is it perfect for semi-skinny and classed width ties.

Where to position your tie bar? Divide your tie into thirds. The bar should be pinned one third of the way down from your knot.

 

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Suit Supply French Navy Suit  | Hawkins & Shepherd Shirt | Gibson London Tie | Hawkins & Shepherd Socks | Black Brogue Shoes