It’s a whole new level of style.
An outfit that’s coordinated and harmonious –
down to the very last detail.
It separates the men from the boys.
The boss from the new hire.
The good…from the great.
Accessories are the little “extras” that give a sharp outfit an extra layer of class, flair, and individuality. Some – like ties – are basic and ubiquitous, but in the context of a full outfit knowing the right way to wear them can make or break your look.
Others – like pocket squares – are less common in everyday settings (like a business meeting) but, when done correctly, can make you stand out from the pack before you even say a word.
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The first rule of matching your watch to your outfit is a common theme when it comes to matching men’s accessories: keep your metals, leathers, and formality level consistent.
If you only want to own one watch, pick the dress code you want to match it to (probably what you wear to work), and wear it only with that.
If you want to wear a watch every day, shop smart and build up a versatile collection:
- Dress watch with a silver case and interchangeable black and brown straps
- A second dress watch with a gold case if you’re likely to wear one with gold accessories
- Casual/sports watch – this should be water resistant, with any bells and whistles you desire (such as a stylish chronograph watch), a dial in a neutral color like white or dark blue, and a metal bracelet or dark strap.
- Choose one casual watch with a metal bracelet AND one with a canvas strap if you want to match any outfit, including summer casuals.
Again, you’ll want to match your leathers and metals as well as the dress code of the rest of your outfit (no heavy dress belts with a pair of khaki Bermuda shorts to a cookout). This includes matching the type of leather, e.g. brown suede with brown suede.
There are time-tested rules about what belt to wear with shorts, jeans, dress pants, and suits. The breakdown is:
- Shorts: CASUAL BELT. Webbing, canvas, leather-backed canvas, or colorful braided leather.
- Jeans: CASUAL BELT. Work belt, tooled leather, or rodeo belt.
- Business Casual: DRESS BELT. Or suspenders.
- Business Suit: DRESS BELT. Or suspenders, or side adjusters.
- Black Tie: NO BELT. You’re expected to wear suspenders and trousers with no belt loops, but if ones with loops are all you have, a polished black dress belt.
- White Tie: NO BELT. Always suspenders.
Don’t buy a tie without something to match it to. Buy jackets and suits first, then shirts, then ties.
If your tie and shirt are both patterned, the patterns should be different sizes (not necessarily different shapes – wide and narrow stripes, for example, play together just fine). Generally, the tie pattern should be bigger, although pin-dots are an exception.
Use the men’s style color wheel to coordinate ties with shirts and jackets. Go for either complementary, triad or analogous colors.
Cooler tones like deep blue, olive green, and royal purple are most versatile – they don’t fight with other hues for attention. Warm tones like red, orange and yellow are riskier to match but more eye-catching and go well with a navy or charcoal suit.
If you can only buy a few ties, go for darker colors. They’ll be more versatile and easier to match because they read as more neutral.
Here again, match the level of formality. Bolder patterned shirts, button-downs, and chambray shirts are more casual and go well with knit and other casual ties. Plain dress shirts deserve nothing short of silk.
Even if the suit rental place recommended it for your senior prom back in the day, your pocket square isn’t supposed to match your tie. You want matched colors but contrasting – yet complementary – patterns.
Alternatively, pick up shirt or jacket colors in the pocket square. Make sure it’s not so similar to the jacket that it disappears. For instance, with a navy jacket, white with navy polka dots is better than navy with white dots.
Matching your pocket square to your outfit isn’t just a matter of matching colors and patterns. You also need to match the formality of your outfit. The most formal variety of pocket square is plain white. This is suitable for serious business suits and tuxes and is a good choice for a job interview. At the other end of the spectrum, an eye-catching floral is probably best kept out of the office altogether.
Another aspect of matching formality is your choice of pocket square fold. A presidential fold is the most formal (and goes perfectly with that white pocket square), while the puff fold is probably the most relaxed. Check out my pocket square fold infographic to learn 9 different options.
Tie bars, cufflinks, bracelets, necklaces, and rings should match the metals in your belt and watch and complement the overall style of your outfit.
Keep in mind that shiny accents inherently draw the eye, so wear it somewhere that can carry the weight of that. Simple is generally better. You also want to be sure to balance sides – don’t load one hand with rings or one wrist with bracelets and leave the other bare.
If you buy jewelry with stones, choose those in dark, neutral colors (e.g. hematite, onyx) to increase versatility and make them easier to match. Look for understated pieces – stones in men’s jewelry always have an impressive effect, and you don’t want to end up with an expensive accessory that’s not really appropriate to wear to anything.
Add small extras to your outfits gradually as you begin to get more comfortable with the general laws of accessorizing. Don’t be afraid to experiment to find your own signature pieces. Accessories are what make a classic (like a navy suit, for instance) yours.
A MVMT watch is the perfect accessory. Their bold masculine watches can be customized with interchangeable straps to go with almost any outfit.
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