Hide In Plain Sight.

” Loud shirts, ties, braces and suits do not an elegant image make; on the contrary, they nullify any potential of same.

The best way to dress for work is to be as inconspicuous as possible with one’s dress while being as conspicuous as possible with the output of one’s brain. Gray suits, light blue shirts, and subdued navy ties do a fine job. ”

Michael Alden, founder, The London Lounge and “DressWithStyle.com

Ooof. That one hit home. You see, “Wall Street”, costumed by Alan Flusser, was the ne plus ultra in men’s wear, as far as I was concerned. The pattern mixing. The rakish angle of the tie clip. The Thurston braces with the white gut ends. The spread collars and cufflinks. What is there not to love? This was dressing with confidence and style.

I still feel that way, but I see Mr. Alden’s point. Brummel’s solution to the question of elegance was to simplify the extravagant court dress of the time. The nobility were so encrusted and bepatterned up ’til his advent as an English arbiter of style that the king in France had lost his head over it. Well, that may have been a small part of the reason anyway. Sobriety in business dress has been the watchword ever since.

So, after the other day’s thoughts on the black suit, for better or worse, being here to stay, I thought it might be useful to note the most appropriate colour for business dress:

Blue.

(Charles Revson, the founder of Revlon cosmetics company, owned some 200 bespoke blue suits.)

Thought I was going to say grey, didn’t you? Don’t get me wrong, I love grey suits. Charcoal especially, it suits my colouring. Grey is having its day thanks to the success of Mad Men and the seriousness that grey imparts to the wearer, but blue is the most flattering colour a man can wear.

The key to including a lot of blue in one’s wardrobe is to concentrate on texture, sheen and, of course, fit. A perfectly cut blue suit will call attention to you instead of your wardrobe. It will allow you to hide in plain sight, as it were.

Consider stripes. You may wear chalk, pin, beaded, broken and shadow stripes. Simply choose stripes in light grey or white and you will always be fashionable. Delving into pink, maroon, or gold is always fun, but you risk looking fashionable instead of classic. Fashion, as we know, dates.

If you prefer solid fabrics or suits that are even more subtle, a deep blue herringbone is a classic that can be worn for a wedding, funeral, board meeting or an evening out.

Fabrics to look into run the gamut from dry worsteds to lofty flannels, sumptuous cashmere to buttery gabardines. The most ambitious among you may want to choose a slubby silk midnight blue for a summer dinner jacket.

Finally, a word about shirts. Blue works well for patterns and solid shirts. But avoid the deeper colours as paler are always preferred and considered more serious than the on-again-off-again French blue, for example.

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4 Responses to Hide In Plain Sight.

  1. ChristinaO says:

    Ah Blue. The best colour in the world.

  2. Initials CG says:

    Great point, and very well put. Grey?
    No, blue is your color…Think about it… Cary Grant started wearing solid blue when he noticed Givenchy and Onasis. I think his comment was, “yeah, those guys are always wearing blue suits…”

    Make blue your first choice..solid grey looks good after your known for blue. IMHO.

  3. ADG says:

    Revson, I think, is also credited with the line that correlates brown suits to sh_t. I disagree but then again, who am I?

    I am the owner of 20 Apparel Arts books.

  4. ADG, I’ve always liked a good deep brown suit, but the colour looks good on me. And I’ll bet those AA’s would disagree with Mr. Revson, too.

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