When it comes to watches, we have a tendency to pore over, even obsess, about the details. Sure, at some higher level, we can have some sort of a gut reaction to a watch (positive or negative), but as we spend some time with it, we find ourselves down in the details of the watch. For instance, handset sizing, or the type and style of indices on the dial. You know where else the details matter? In your own personal style.
Now, this is not that far of a leap to make. Frankly, for all the love we have for watches, they are truly – and factually – functional pieces of jewelry. Yes, they serve a purpose and provide functionality, but they are still jewelry. And think about it; from the most common of “fashion” watches to those that inhabit the world of one-off-haute-horology, we care about how they look. The watch may have the most amazing innovations in the movement, but if it’s housed in something that looks like it would be found on the lawn, well, it’s going to have a hard time of it.
By the same token, a pedestrian movement (be it a basic Miyota or even a quartz) can be elevated by being housed in a well-designed watch. This does not have to be something that is an outlandish or unusual look (say, some crazy case shape), just something that is well-sorted. And it’s the details that help do that sorting.
In much the same way, your own personal style will, at some point, boil down to the details. Whether you’re a t-shirt and jeans or a three-piece suit sort of a person, the details of what you have on will matter. As a case in point, let’s start on something simple – coordinating a belt and shoes. This is something you have no doubt heard about, and it’s a detail I ascribe to. If I’ve got black shoes one (be they wingtips or sneakers), I’ve got a black belt on. By the same token, brown shoes beget a brown belt.
Where the fun comes in is bending and re-interpreting those rules. For example, if I’m wearing grey boots, I’m not concerned about a grey belt. No, I go with a black belt. By the same token, I’ve got a pair of sneakers that are blue with brown soles. You could go either way here, but I end up picking up the brown of the soles. In much the same way, I will try to match in my watch strap, adding another layer to the coordination.
There are obvious color matches that can happen, but I will bend it as well. For instance, as I write this, I’ve got a grey strap in the mix, on top of a brown belt and shoes. Do they match precisely? Not even in the smallest bit. However, within the overall scheme of things (a crisp white shirt and a white-dialed watch) it’s a simple addition of another color (and, much like the adage that black goes with everything, I posit that grey does as well).
Speaking of color, this is another area where the details matter. For this, I’ll jump into the world of suits, as it’s the best examples I can come up with. Starting with a suit (of any color) and shirt (we’ll stick with white to keep it simple), you have a choice with your tie. Do you want to be subtle, or is it making a statement for you? Whatever it is, it has to have a base hue that somehow works wit the suit. Then, are you a pocket square sort of chap? If so, then you have another pop of color that should be tying in to your tie (but not matched, exactly; if ever in doubt, a classic white pocket square is a safe option).
Then, how about socks? For many, this is a spot where they want to get adventurous, and put some bold colors and patterns into play. I’ve been guilty of the same, but you have to consider it within the context of what you’re wearing. If you’re in a dark suit and tie combo, you’ve toned things down – those bright socks really don’t have a place. On the other hand, if you’re mixing in colors in the tie and pocket square, feel free to liven your feet up a bit as well. If it’s just for the office, well, then the rules are a bit more relaxed, as is the dress code.
While I have only drilled into a few (very specific) areas, I hope you have a sense of why the details matter in your personal style, just as they matter when you’re evaluating a watch. Whatever you end up wearing for the day, something that does not mesh in those details (say, your gym shoes along with a suit), can really end up putting the kibosh on any compliments that might have otherwise been headed your way.
Not to say that we’re dressing for others, but there is some small measure there. No, we dress for ourselves, and we pick the details to focus on that matter to ourselves. While it may sound trite, more well-sorted your details are, the better you’re going to look. And, whether that look is super casual or black tie dressy, it impacts you. Sorting those details can certainly help your confidence, demeanor, and just general outlook. Do the clothes make the man – or woman? No, what the person stands for makes them. The clothes (and the details therein), those announce to the world what sort of person this is. Take a look into your own details, and be aware of what you’re choosing – and why. If you’re just starting out? Well, learn those rules (like matching a belt and shoes), and then feel free to experiment them, and make them your own. In the end, your style is just that – yours.
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