Finding the Middle…..and Owning It (Part three of a four part series)

In the last two posts, we chose the perfect coat, added the pants…and now we add the shirt for this distinctively “middle” look – between dressy and casual.
Classic Americana fashion is driving current design. Inspiration for patterns and colors is being drawn from the 50’s and 60’s, from Ike to JFK. With a jacket that is relatively solid and neutral in color, shirts are where to mix it up with color, pattern, texture, and even different collar and cuff styles.

Shirts of Oxford Cloth, Broadcloth or Chambray, and Cotton Twill
Solid blue is always a good place to start. Classic stripes and checks should also be high on your list.

Note: In general, if the jacket has a bold pattern, you may wear shirts with a subtle or muted pattern…or vice versa. Keep in mind that the bolder and larger the pattern, the more casual it reads. This is true for any garment, be it a shirt, jacket, or tie. It’s ok and even advisable to combine different textures within the same outfit. More on Mixing Patterns.

With respect to collar options, the styles that work the best without a tie are specific and few:

Medium spread
Button down

The height of the collar and the length of the points should balance with your size and shape, as well as with your choice of clothing. Trimmer fitting clothing and jackets with narrow lapels should be balanced by a shirt with a shorter collar a shorter point length. Of course, the opposite is also true.

As you develop two or more outfits that complete this look (the middle look), you will find natural versatility and ease of mixing and matching pieces from one look to the other. Next: the Finishing Details.

Sartorial regards,

Tom@tomjames.com

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