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Frequently asked questions

20 July 2009

“I’ve got a question for you – how do you gauge which patterns work well together across the tie, shirt and jacket?”

“I’ve written about that before, it’s all about the density of the pattern.”

“Well I didn’t see it, you should write about it again.”

One of the inherent disadvantages of a blog is its lack of an easy way to view the archive. Most questions I am asked my friends and readers have already been answered somewhere, previously (and I’ve only been doing this two years). There are exceptions, of course – a friend asked recently which side the buckle should go when you wear your belt, and I honestly don’t know.

But most of the time it’s been dealt with already. So to deal with this, and avoid the dull repetition that would result from following my friend’s advice above, I’ve created a list of useful answers by topic.

How do patterns go together?

Well, it’s all about how dense they are – how large and how close together. Just keep them in balance.

And it always helps if the tie has the largest, boldest pattern. If you want to play safe, to be honest, just separate tie and suit with a plain shirt.

How do you wear a pocket handkerchief?

Well, the default should be white linen, cotton if you find linen hard to wear or arrange (or indeed a mix, as Hermes ones often are).

Then and only then should you experiment with harmonising colours.

A good way to illustrate this is by looking at the way autumnal colours can go together.

The handkerchief is also a way to anchor an entire outfit, allowing more adventurous colours or patterns elsewhere.

As to how to wear it, this is often hard to do without looking pretentious. Go for a straight line or fold with the white linen default. For silk, I prefer the Lazy Fold.

This is an refinement of an earlier post regarding some general tips on stuffing.

How do you tend to wear waistcoats?

Well, I’m a big fan of wearing waistcoats with trousers on their own, as a way to avoid the difficulties of working all day at a computer in a jacket. This has been christened the Logical Waistcoat Theory.

This can mean changing the way you have your waistcoats made, if you have that luxury.

And I do like the odd waistcoat, though this is fiendishly difficult to do well, outside of formal events.

I hope this was useful. If it was, suggestions for similar references please.