Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Mixing Brown & Blue - The Altered State of Mind

Mixing Brown and Blue is always something I have been a great advocate of, for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, I think it promotes a more modern smart-casual look rather than the occasionally stiff, blue business suit look. I think it can even change the way you approach things that day as well, in terms of altering your mindset in a positive way.

For example if you had a job interview or a big meeting and you turned up wearing the traditional blue business suit, with standard black brogues, your going to blend in more with other interviewees or other people that are included in the meeting, which isn't exactly what you want.

You want to stand out in the crowd but not in a brash sort of way but I honestly do think that the way you dress can alter, to a small extent your mind set for that day and the way you approach things.

Maybe this is just me being slightly weird and perhaps this doesn't go for anyone else but I feel that if you were to compare the difference in a strict blue business suit with a standard black pair of brogues, you would find your self acting in a more robotic manner and approaching the daily tasks in a more structured way.

Now don't get me wrong, this isn't necessarily a bad thing and probably better for most days of the week but if you where heading into a big meeting or interview, like previously mentioned I would want to change things up a little from the average day and come in with a more positive and free flowing attitude towards to the tasks ahead that day. This is where doing something as simple as mixing brown and blue together can help, in my opinion anyway.

I honestly think that the way you dress influences both the way others perceive you and their attitude towards you and more importantly your own perception of yourself as well as altering your confidence.

For example, whenever I wear one of my Steed suits, I automatically and subconsciously stand a little taller, walk more confidently and approach the day in a more positive and exuberant manner. Compared to days when I am just in a pair of jeans, a t-shirt and some trainers where you look no different to 90% of the others around you. When dressed like this I tend to be more reserved, even for a pretty confident and outgoing person. I guess because I am blending in more with the crowd. It's a strange one...

Though as I was saying, the way you dress definitely changes the way others perceive you as well, for example there was an upmarket store here in Carlisle that I never actually shopped in but I often use to cut through, to get to another street. For one it was nice and warm inside plus it was much shorter than walking around the large building to get to where I was going.

Now, whenever I would walk through there wearing just my plain clothes I would never once be approached by any of the staff asking me if I would like any help etc. Now this is a good thing for me usually as I hate being pestered when shopping anyway.

However, every single time I would walk through the store in my suit, I would always be greeted by a number of the staff with, "Hello Sir, may I help you Sir? How is your day Sir?" Even though it was quite obvious that I was just being cheeky by using the store as a cut through, they clearly saw me in a smart suit and thought I would be interested in purchasing the expensive offerings in their fancy store.

I would always be polite and decline as I made my way through to get to my destination but it would always make me laugh but also a little miffed that I wasn't approached or greeted in the same way when wearing my normal clothes, sometimes even as soon as the day before, as they obviously would look at me and assume that I couldn't afford anything they had to offer so wouldn't waste their time with me. (Cue Pretty woman scene) I could of been a Millionaire for all they knew..if only I was! Though it just goes to show the change in perception by others based on the way you dress and act. The old adage "Never judge a book by it's cover" comes to mind...

Anyway....back to my main point...

It is going slightly against the grain in terms of traditional rules of business dress by combining blue and brown, for example the old saying of "Never Wear Brown in Town". Therefore you may be inclined to do the same in your head. It may convince you to be more adventurous in your ideas, more exuberant in your general approach and more confident in your judgements and decisions throughout the day by doing the same in your dress.

Another reason I like to mix brown and blue is the flexibility that it can bring. There are a few examples in the gallery above.

For instance, one of my own Steed Bespoke suits is a Blue Birdseye from Dugdale's (F1814). Now I chose to go with nice brown horn buttons on both the jacket and waistcoat for a couple of reasons.

One, I just much prefer wearing brown shoes, whether it be brown brogues or brown suede or leather boots. It's quite rare that I wear black shoes at all really so the brown buttons complement the shoes.
Then secondly it makes my 3-Piece suit much more flexible as I often, like today, wear the jacket as a blazer with grey flannels or sometimes with jeans for a more relaxed look & feel, yet still looking smart and ready for business.

I also like to wear the waistcoat as an odd waistcoat, sometimes on nights out with friends where I can partner it with a crisp white shirt and roll up the sleeves for a smart casual look which has become more popular due to hit CBS TV show The Mentalist, in which Simon Baker, who plays the lead role of Patrick Jane often dons this look.  So by having the brown horn buttons on waistcoat as well it again promotes a more smart casual feeling.

However even with the brown buttons on the blue suit when worn as a 2 or 3-piece suit, I think you will agree it is still very smart and functional for serious business as well as more casual affairs.

So basically by doing this it turns my 3-Piece suit in to an extra blazer and extra waistcoat which is great for me  due to the distinct lack of bespoke garments in my wardrobe...the story of The Cobblers Son With No Shoes, comes to mind..