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Friday, March 7, 2014


In the movie, Steel Magnolias, Clairee tells Annelle that, “The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize,” and she is right. What Clairee knows is that the smallest details can make or break an outfit.

Last fall I posted an article on the importance of paying attention to the small details when dressing.  That article focused on how I will often match my socks to the color of the shirt I’m wearing.  While it seems to be a small thing to do, it really shows that you’re willing to take the time, and that you care about what you’re wearing.

This alternating stripe set is from Brooks Brothers.

This is is Brooks Brothers #1 repp Stripe set - the bow tie is the mini version.
Note, how this pattern is woven through the bracelet from Kiel James Patrick 
for Brooks Brothers.

Another way that I pay attention to details is with the accessories I choose to wear.  I love when I am able to bring these small pieces together for a coordinated look.  Sometimes it’s easy, as certain manufacturers will make socks, ties, and watchbands that match, other times there is the thrill of the hunt as I search to assemble items that go together.

This set came from four different sources and was the most fun to put together.  
Bow Tie: Countess Mara, Socks: KJ Beckett, Watch Band: Cheapest Nato Straps, 
Bracelet: Kiel James Patrick for Brooks Brothers.

What I like about matching accessories is that it sprinkles these colors and patterns throughout the outfit rather than presenting a solid pillar of color - it enhances your outfit rather than dominating it.  Restraint is important though as you can definitely overdo the matching thing - i.e. hat, tie, vest, jacket, socks, overcoat, and gloves, all in the same plaid tartan.  When over-matching happens, not only do you diminish the look you were going for, but you’re left with an image that looks forced, over powering, and, quite honestly, tacky. 

This is the Brooks Brothers signature tartan bow tie in navy and red.  The same 
patterned cloth is found in the bracelet from Kiel James Patrick for Brooks Brothers.
While Brooks Brothers doesn't make a tartan watch band, their navy and red striped watchband complements it nicely.

By adding just a few accessories spread out across the outfit, you allow those colors and patterns to “pop” and create a fun and interesting look.  I like to match my ties, socks, and watchbands, and will often add a matching bracelet.

Even though the colors on this tie and socks set from Polo Ralph Lauren don't 
match exactly (I wish the socks were the same colors as the tie), they can work 
since they are far enough apart and echo the same pattern.

By coordinating and matching your accessories, and sprinkling them – sparingly - throughout your outfit, you’re guaranteed not to overdo the end result. In doing this your outfit will be more interesting, yet crisp, clean and classic, while at the same time presenting a look that even Clairee would approve of.

1 comment:

  1. Nicely done, Joe! I really enjoyed seeing the sets together. I'm glad we share other things in common, as this sartorial detail isn't one of my strong suits :)