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

The fundamentals – sportcoats, pants, and shirts – are in place. The remaining pieces – the layering and finishing details – are ripe with opportunity to express your individuality and personal style.

V-neck and Zip-Mock sweaters or vests

A sweater or vest provides both a physical and visual layer, adding warmth to you and your look.

Sweaters for Causal Dress

Put Your Best Foot Forward

Neither too dressy nor too casual, the middle look requires shoes (or ankle boots) that are less formal than what you would wear only with a suit and more formal than what you would wear only with jeans or shorts. Variation is achieved by virtue of design, the texture or finish of the leather, or both. Oil waxed, slightly distressed, suede, and pebble grain are all in “the middle” range. Find out what is the right shoe for you.

Shoes for Causal Dress

(From top to bottom and left to right… MacNeil, McTavish, Malvern, and Lucca; all by Allen Edmonds, followed by two versions of the Air Jayhawker and the Air Stanton Chukka from Cole Haan.)

Note: The McTavish is part of a collection that features waxy, distressed leather that is particularly suited for the elegant casual look, giving off a fresh, young vibe for the modern urban man.


While a tie is not required with this look, if you’re going to wear one, choose a tie made with wool or cashmere in the fabric. The texture of a wool tie will look right at home with the loftier hand of your flannel, cashmere, tweed, and corduroy sport coats. Wool ties have never looked more elegant and bow ties are no longer just for professors, eccentrics, and the assertively contrarian. Pay special attention to solids, checks, plaids, two-tone stripes and dot patterns. Find out how to tie the perfect knot for you.

Ties For Causal WearNote:

Ties follow clothing in width and texture. With a 3” width as the base, the width of your tie should coordinate with the width of your jacket lapel, give or take a 1/4”.

With all of the possibilities for adding depth and warmth to complete the look, keep in mind the ancient but never out-of-date wisdom from da Vinci that “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

Sartorial regards,


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