One plus one plus one plus one is zero.
Every artist knows that there is a sweet spot, somewhere between too little and too much.
Too little doesn’t get noticed. Too much, like every single game on the Price is Right, is a bust. You get nothing.
When you start getting in to style, you discover how much there is to learn:
Ties. Blazers. Watches. Pocket squares. Shoes. Socks.
Maybe you’re ready for shoes that pop. A blazer that pops. A watch that pops.
Q: Can you do all of the above? How much is too much?
A: To assist you in navigating the straights of TOO LITTLE and TOO MUCH, I’ve put together the infographic above.
Q: What is flair?
Answer: Flair is anything that gets noticed. A loud print or color. Something shiny or bling-ey. Something oversized (a watch) or undersized (an incredibly skinny tie). Almost any kind of accessory.
Q: Why do I want to wear flair? Shouldn’t I stick with a classic look?
A: Sometimes, sure. Go classic! But the reason you’re reading this blog is you’re curious about style. And curiosity often leads to expression. Flair is a way of expressing yourself through your style — taking a little risk, getting noticed.
Q: What does not qualify as flair, even if it’s noticeable?
Answer: Something so classic, so clean, that it “blends in” with the look. A white pocket square, folded over doesn’t count. Brown or black Oxfords, loafers, and wingtips don’t count. A simple knit, wool, or cotton tie doesn’t count. A neutral (cream, beige, grey, blue) sweater doesn’t count. Dark denim jeans never count. All these things look fantastic, but they aren’t flair.
Get the idea?
Q: What’s the first place to add flair?
Answer: Shoes/socks or ties. Definitely. In the picture to the right, you can see a StyleUp with Chris, wherein (ankle up) he level-ups his style with a great shirt, tie, and blazer combo, but it’s nothing that would catch anyone’s eye, per se. It’s a great outfit. It is not a “wow” outfit.
But Chris was ready for flair, and it’s all there – from the ankle down. Blue leather shoes, bold socks, and a super-wide cuff? That’s level three: daring / edgy!
Q: Does anything earn more than one flair-point, immediately?
Answer: Absolutely. Here is a non-exhaustive list of flair items which bump you up two notches, immediately. Use with caution.
- Anything gold or shiny (excluding simple jewelry). Read: gold / silver sneakers.
- Leather pants, or a blazer / sweater with leather elements besides elbow-patches.
- Colored leather other than brown / black.
- Cropping pants / sleeves very high (unless you’re Thom Browne).
- Anything that registers as “costumey” or “affected.” This includes: flared pants (see? They’re called that for a reason) and other hippie-gear.
- Derbies, top hats, walking sticks, cravats, and other “steam punk” styles.
Cowboy boots, hats, bolos, anywhere outside of a place where they’re the norm.
Any of these items: if you rock a really stellar style with it, YES. You might be able to pull it off. If you do it, do it with confidence, knowing that you are going out of your way to stand out.
And hey. That’s a good thing.
Question: I’ve been doing this style thing for a while, and I’ve rocked levels 1, 2, and 3. Is there nowhere left to go?
Answer: The Advanced Style Swerve is the fashion equivalent of Nirvana, where all the rules of mortal men no longer apply. Once in a while, if you know what you’re doing, you can break some essential rule and come out looking like a baller.
Still…I always show my Advanced Style Swerves to someone I trust before I rock it in public!