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The Compass  /  Personal Style  /  Style Series Part 3A Knowing the MATERIAL Details

Style Series Part 3A Knowing the MATERIAL Details

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Details – a recurring motif in men’s style and fashion.  It’s all about the details.  Details have the ability to transform an ordinary canvas into something conversation worthy. Whether it’s adding custom details to your clothes or unique accessories to your outfit the end result is certain; when you focus on the details, you’ve got what it takes to create a work of sartorial art.

Making the move from broad strokes to fine details is a great way to think about your stylistic progression. As mentioned in our Three Things to Remember post, a staple of well-fitting, classic pieces should always form the foundation of your look. If you think of your outfit as a sculpture, consider a flattering foundation of trouser, shirt, jacket and shoes as your marble.  Once you have a solid foundation, you can chisel in those fine details with statement pieces that proudly speak to who you are and to the lifestyle you want to lead.

Your jacket or blazer is a wonderful place to start. We’ll break it down for you below…

First, it’s important to mention that details come in two forms: a) Material Details b) Structural Details.  Today, we’ll address the former.

Material details can be added or subtracted from your look. These most notably include accessories like ties and pocket squares; they are non-permanent additions to any outfit.  You can use material details as a way to create your own expressions – creativity is your friend when you mix and match your colors and patterns. Further, using these types of details bolsters the versatility of your foundation garment.

Here’s an example using a classic staple like a Cool Gray Custom Blazer. This classic piece is simply the top half of an ever so versatile Cool Gray Custom Suit, but also pairs nicely with jeans or chinos. There are a couple of places where you can begin adding details on the jacket. One of our favorite places, of course, is the lapel.

Think a cuff link’s only place of residence should be within the French cuff of your shirt?  Think again.  Maybe your cuff link wants to see and experience more of the world, just like you do.  If you have a functional boutonniere (which we recommend you always have), you can give one of your allegiant cuff links a better view, up closer to where you view the world.  By using a traditional accessory in a new way, you’ve injected a wealth of personality into what may have otherwise been considered a “standard” outfit. You’ve also given new life to the cuff link itself.  Whatever your choice, this simple but bold move is compliment-worthy.

You’ve now definitely defied the rule that a cuff link can and should only be worn in the cuff of your shirt.  Feeling a bit more rebellious now or just silly?  If it’s the former, let’s keep rolling.  If it’s the latter, lay down and take a nap.  But what else can we do with the functional boutonniere?  How can we be even more creative?  We can stick other non-conventional things through it of course.  Look around your room; go through those seldom visited desk or dresser drawers for any miscellaneous items that could potentially serve as an accessory.  We gave it a shot and here is what we came up with:

What is that in Warren’s boutonniere?  It looks like a piece of colorful string.  It is.  It’s a string-knit bracelet with an unknown and mysterious origin.  We stuck it through the boutonniere and looped a simple knot so it would stay put.  Stylish win?  You decide.  The point is that we’ve figured out a way to take something otherwise useless and turn it into an element of sartorial authenticity.  There’s no reason you can’t do the same.

Fresh flowers are another great addition, especially if you are attending a more formal event or even a summery outdoor luncheon. Now, we’re not talking a prom style rose, but rather a bud that is a bit unexpected, one with some character that you happened to spot on a walk through the park, or in our case, plucked from a planter in the middle of Park Avenue. If the flower has a light fragrance even better, spring is here and the warm weather will be sure to attract closer interactions. Just slip the stem through your lapel button hole and fasten using a straight pin and you are all set to go

Let’s continue with our seasonal theme.  If you want to take advantage of spring but frolicking through the meadows of Central Park in search of a real flower isn’t really your “thing”, another contemporary look we love are knit crotchet flowers. This once vintage item has been revived with new breath and we can’t get enough of it. Lapel flowers come in a variety of hues and can be used to pull together different color complements in an outfit. They are also great for bringing together color points from various parts of your outfit. For example, those pink striped socks have bit more meaning now that you’re wearing a pink knit crotchet flower. By coordinating these two details you will create a look that flows from head to toe, creating that elusive “ahhh, well done” component of style.  Who knows? You might even receive a round of gentle golf claps from passersby.

While material details are at once affordable, interchangeable, and fun there are also other ways to add details directly into the design and construction of your garment. These are what we consider to be structural details.  We’ll tell you more about that in part two, coming soon.  Stay tuned!

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Until then, go on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and show us some creative ways you add material details to your outfit!

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