A lot of guys (including myself, at one point), get to a point where they have the sartorial education/know-how to put together a strong wardrobe of well-fitting, stylish pieces, but struggle to put them together into a coherent outfit. One of the most common questions I see is “where do I start?” With that in mind, here’s how I do it.
I try to start every outfit with one piece. This may be a new article of clothing that I’m really excited to wear or an old one that I’ve been meaning to work back into my rotation. It may be a bold, statement piece, or a neutral base. It might be as front-and-center as a blazer, or as behind-the-scenes as a pair of socks or pocket square. The point is, this piece acts as the foundation for the rest of the building blocks that will come together to form my outfit.
From there, every decision comes back to this one piece. You could go any direction, but I went to pants next. While I didn’t have the restrictions of an office dress code to work with, the blazer is still pretty in-your-face, as far as style goes. Therefore, I decided right away to tone down the rest of my pieces. I also wanted to dress down the tailored look a bit, since it was still the weekend. Thus, for pants, the easy choice was a pair of dark blue jeans: a subtle and neutral pair of pants that were casual enough for the occasion but sharp enough for the combination, and in a blue that will play well with the colors in the jacket:
When it came to the shirt, the patterned blazer immediately dictated a solid shirt (or at the very least a very subtle pattern). Beyond that, I took the same mindset as I did with my pants, and picked what I consider to be the shirt equivalent of a pair of crisp blue jeans: a white OCBD. Again, weekend-casual, but fitting to wear with a tailored blazer. Where I played off the darker colors in the blazer when picking the jeans, this time around I brought out the lighter contrasting notes and picked a white shirt over blue:
From there, I just kept up those same themes as I picked out accessories and final touches. A knit cotton tie, a chambray pocket square, a brown belt and blue suede brogues with no-show socks. Each seems like (and is) a pretty straightforward choice, but if you look at the path that took me to each piece, it always starts with the blazer.
Levi's 513 Blue Jeans
Uniqlo White Slim OCBD
Thrifted Vintage Woven Belt (similar, new)
J.Crew Factory Blue Cotton Knit Tie
Past The Pocket Chambray Pocket Square
Bass Blue Suede Shoes (similar)
PACT No-Show Socks (unseen)
What's your method of choice? Share in the comments below!