How often do you see yourself wearing your perfectly tailored suit, adorned with that exquisite silk, and catch yourself wondering what else you could do to spice up your ensemble. While the days of yesteryear afforded women many a choice when accessorizing their clothing, the recent renaissance in men’s fashion now truly affords men a plethora of options when you are strutting your latest bespoke or well fitted suit!
The silk tie, as it would go, has long been a wardrobe staple. But besides the tie, here are a selection of accessories that will elevate your dapper game to the next level:
1. Pocket Squares
The Pocket Square, offered in various sizes (ranging from about 13 square inches to 18-19 square inches, for the most part), come in a range of fabrics and patterns, and can add the perfect dash of color to your ensemble.
When wearing a Pocket Square, avoid the notion that it should match the color of your tie. Instead, your Pocket Square should complement the color of your tie. Blue ties, for example, go great with a red or pink pocket square, or orange if you really want to be bold and employ a complementary color scheme (using colors that are directly across each other from a color wheel!).
Another great benefit to strutting a pocket square is that they can be folded in different ways. So even having one or two pocket squares can provide a myriad of combinations, as these squares can be folded using a puff fold, a square fold or a pointed fold (best reserved for linen squares).
To view The Dark Knot's extensive range of Silk and Linen Pocket Squares, please click here.
The Dark Knot's Altamont Paisley Silk Pocket Square
The Dark Knot Tip: If you are looking to add a couple of Pocket Squares to your wardrobe, I would suggest buying them over a range of patterns, fabrics and colors. This will provide you with significant versatility when matching your ties to your pocket squares, and will also provide you with room for experimentation when you are dressing business casual with a sports jacket / blazer and pants! The key is to provide color and pattern variety with your accessories, and a pocket square is a great way to introduce / enhance those concepts within your wardrobe. Beyond that, textural variation will elevate your stylistic game even further!
2. Replace the Silk Tie with an alternative texture
While the silk tie has been a wardrobe staple and associated with traditional suits since the inception of formalwear, alternative necktie textures have grown in popularity in recent years. With gentlemen are now opting for textural variation in addition to color and pattern variety, the repertoire of different necktie fabrics offered in the marketplace has grown considerably.
When considering which necktie fabrics you would like to wear with your shirts and suits, one should consider (1) The fabric composition of the rest of your ensemble and (2) Seasonality. If, for example, you are already wearing a silk pocket square, and a soft woolen suit with some sheen to it, a linen or cotton tie that is more muted can really add a sense of elegance to your ensemble. This would be especially appropriate during the right seasons, such as spring or summer, where heavier fabrics are eschewed in favor of lighter fabrics.
Conversely, a linen tie could also be worn during the summer months, as it would provide an ‘airy’ feel to your ensemble. During the winter months however, you may opt for a woolen tie, with your woolen suit and silk pocket square, as wool is a heavier fabric, with insulation properties (not that it matters much for pocket squares!), and is generally associated with the fall and winter seasons.
To view The Dark Knot's Wool / Silk Blend Tie Collection, please click here.
The Dark Knot Tip: Balance out the textures in your ensemble with a different fabric tie. If you are looking to dress up a casual outfit or dress down a more formal outfit, a knitted tie is your perfect bet, as it offers aesthetic differentiation with square ends and a more casual (but elegant) look!A Leather Hand Bag
3. A Leather Hand Bag
One thing that often strikes me is that I see well dressed gentlemen carrying around their backpacks or shoddy looking handbags. For me, nothing signifies gentlemen more than a sophisticated hand bag. Whether you need a gym bag or something to carry your documents in, there are a range of high quality leathers bags in the marketplace.
When purchasing a leather bag, pay attention to the following details:
- Quality of leather used. Full grain leather tends to make for the most durable briefcases, while top grain leather is an affordable but feasible alternative to full grain.
- Materials used in the construction of the briefcase. Ensure that materials of the fitting is strong and that the following are secured in place: locks, handle, shoulder strap fittings, zippers, buckles and metallic rings take the most abuse on a daily basis and are likely to be subject to wear and tear.
- The type of handbag you are opting for. Harder case bags, attaches are better suited towards accountants and lawyers, where you will be storing documents. Softer briefcases are more versatile and can accommodate both larger amounts of paper and laptops. Additionally, these bags will compress easily for storage when they are holding less items.
The color of the bag. A darker brown case is more suited towards dressier / formal wear, whereas a lighter color briefcase such as a tan or beige briefcase can serve you with respect to informal wear.
The Dark Knot Tip: Looking for the right color? Opt for a handbag that matches the color of the shoes and belt that you predominantly wear, and you will certainly have a suave accessory to up your style game!
4. A Belt
The belt is an often overlooked accessory with respect to fashion – most of us look at it from a utility standpoint. If it fastens and keeps our trousers securely in place, its deemed to have done the trick. However, the right belt, when worn in accordance with the color of your shoes, can really help accentuate your suiting ensemble and have you stand out.
For summer wear with lighter colored suits and a combination of blazer and pants, having two pairs of belts (one darker and one lighter) will complement your outfits. If for example you are wearing a tan colored suit, a brown belt with shoes will bring your entire ensemble together.
When dressing formally, a black belt is generally safer with a charcoal grey or black suit. Conversely, navy suits are more flexible, and can be worn with either color belt. As mentioned above, a brown suit is always complemented by a brown belt and brown shoes. When opting for belt texture, it is best to err on the side of conservative when your shirts are generally busier. If, however, you prefer wearing solid white, blue or pink shirts, a textured belt will aid in adding visual interest to your ensemble.
Brown shoes and a brown belt can look exquisite when paired together! Courtesy of www.acontrolledsubstance.com
The Dark Knot Tip: While this is widely accepted, I would like to reiterate that the color of your belt should always be in accordance with your shoes.
One of the accessories to make the strongest statement in recent years has been the advent of colorful socks. While colorful socks can really draw attention to an individual, there are some basic rules to follow when you are opting on the side of conservative dress with your formalwear.
As a general rule of thumb, it is best to wear socks that appear as an extension of your pants. Hence, charcoal grey pants and black shoes are best worn with grey socks, and not black socks. This will contribute towards a sleek aesthetic / silhouette, without breaking up the lines of your ensemble.
For those of you that feel you are sufficiently evolved with respect to your style game and are willing to experiment with bolder colors and patterns, you can opt for louder, more colorful socks. However, just as with other elements related to pattern and color coordination, your socks should adequately contrast the rest of your outfit to balance out your ensemble.
Hence, argyle / checkered socks would work best with solid suits versus plaid suits, while solid socks will work best with patterned suits. Are you looking to really step into unprecedented territory for yourself? Embrace the colorful polka dot or paisley patterned socks!
Colorful socks are one of the best ways to spice up your outfit! Courtesy of chaos-mag.com
Fit When selecting the right socks, fit is of paramount importance. You want to ensure that your socks stay up to at least mid calf if not your full calf. After all, we don’t want leg showing while we have our legs crossed at a business meeting!
Texture With respect to socks texture, one wants to opt for smoother socks when dressing formally. When wearing a tweed blazer or a rougher garment for business / casual purposes, one can opt for woolen socks. Additionally, woolen socks have insulation properties that serve the wearer better during cooler months!
Contrary to Morgan Freeman’s dialogue in Shawshank Redemption “How often do you really look at a man’s shoes”, a man’s footwear is one of the first indicators as to a men’s sense of style. Nothing will ruin a perfectly tailored or fitted suit and corresponding accessories like shoddy footwear. So while we may not pay attention to shoes like our counterparts, it’s absolutely imperative that we scout the market for high quality footwear when we are looking to adorn our suits with the right gear.
With respect to color, nothing works in more situations and paired with more outfits than black leather, whether lace up or slip on. Black footwear can complement virtually any color suit that you have. The other color(s) that most suits will accept our burgundy / brown shoes, with the exception of a black suit. Shoes with a darker shade are more associated with formal wear.
Black Cap Toe Oxfords: Cap Toe Oxfords are dress shoes with a toe that is sectioned off with a separate leather portion These are your wardrobe staple that will serve you at daily work and in other formal settings.. Whether you are looking to dress up in a tuxedo for a black tie event, or seeking to polish off your suit with the right pair of shoes, your black oxford-cap toes will get the work done.
Courtesy of www.styleforum.net
Brown Brogues: A brogue shoe is a pattern created by punching holes into the shoe. The brogue, also known as the brogue wingtip, originated in Scotland. These shoes were initially designed with holes to help drain out water. These traditional perforations and serrations (brogueing) of the shoes distinguish them from other footwear and give them a unique, elegant characteristic. While the brogue shoe can come in a variety of brown shades, a darker shade will be the most versatile as it will work with both lighter and darker shades of brown and blue suits.
While brogues are offered in a variety of shades, a darker shade brogue will serve as your most versatile pair as it will complement both your darker and lighter shade of brown and blue suits.
Brogues are your ideal wardrobe companion because they can be worn with virtually any color suit(with the exception of black) and can work in both office and business casual settings. However, for more formal events such as a reception or important business meeting / presentation, one is safer using black cap-toe oxford shoes!
Courtesy of www.gentlemansgazette.com
Monk Straps: are shoes that fasten with with straps across the top, instead of laces. They can have any number of straps, with one strap being common and two considered fashion forward. While monk straps should be avoided for the most formal occasions, they can look fantastic with a tan or brown suit, in addition to navy or grey suits. Monk straps will definitely allow you to add flair to your ensemble!
Courtesy of www.theraregent.com
Nothing attests to a man’s sense of style like the timepiece that he is wearing. And no, it doesn’t have to cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. Despite the pre-conceived notion that men’s watches have a reputation for being too expensive or unappealing, there are many options for high quality timepieces. I
t is possible to spot a great design without forking out an arm and a leg. When opting for the right watch, consider looking for a stainless band with black, white or blue dial to have you looking subtle, yet chic.
Courtesy of www.pinterest.com
Men’s cufflinks are often overlooked as a piece of attire than can round off your ensemble. Cuff links help to accentuate detail, and because they can be seen as quite subtle given their placement, can really add to your sense of style without appearing overtly ostentatious. Try and opt for cufflink colors that match your skin color and your shirts.
Courtesy of www.coolpile.com
9. Lapel Flowers
Along with Pocket Squares, the Lapel Flower is an item that has made a strong resurgence with the recent renaissance in men’s fashion. While suit jacket lapels were largely left unattended to in the past, the adorning of the lapel with a lapel flower / boutonniere can really help liven up your ensemble.
If you are looking to add some incremental flair to your wardrobe, with boldly stepping out of your comfort zone, a white or neutral lapel flower like a light grey will add the perfect sense of refinement to your suit. Given that white and grey are neutral colors, they will complement virtually any color combination that you are pulling off with your suiting ensemble!
If you are on a mission to make an impression, and are treating your lapel flower with the same vigor and enthusiasm as you are your pocket squares, then feel free to mix and match! As with your ties and pocket squares, your lapel flower should complement or accent colors in your existing suit, and not necessarily be a direct match.
Remember, a lapel flower is a great way to add an element of class and flair to your suit, so have fun with it!
The Dark Knot's Concord Burgundy, Pink and Blue Lapel Flower!
Are you having trouble accessorizing your suits in the right manner. Don't worry, with The Dark Knot's Starter Kits, we have you covered. Each of our Starter Kits come with a Free Style Consultation (typically valued at $500), where we help you choose Ties & Accessories via a Free Email Style Consultation. Please learn more about our Starter Kits here.