High Low

21 January, 2012

Most men will dress casually unless they have a reason to do otherwise. And since casual has devolved into sloppy, most men dress sloppily unless they have a reason to do otherwise.

Transitioning from the jeans and t-shirt uniform to something more appealing is difficult and one of the main reasons why is you can feel overdressed and awkward by outdressing everyone else.

A good way to make the transition easier is by adopting the high-low mentality.

Essentially you mix elements of a dressier wardrobe with those of a more casual one. The go-to staple for this is jeans with a button-up shirt and blazer. It’s the perfect outfit for going out on the weekend, visiting family on Sunday or going to class. Casual enough that you never look out of place but dressy enough you don’t look like a slob.


But there are other iterations of this ideal as well. One that I’ve been toying with lately is wearing dress slacks and shoes with a t-shirt and a leather jacket. By going dressy on bottom and casual on top, you still accomplish the high-low effect but are able to do so in a way that separates you from other men. In a sea of dark jeans and navy blazers, a pair of tweed or flannel pants and some leather is going to stand out – in a good way.

Be careful in how you interpret casual though. Wearing a blazer and tie with holey, boot-cut jeans will still make you look goofy. Choosing more casual fabrics in dressier or more classic cuts is the key to pulling off the high-low. Here’s a good example from Primer.

Dress Better Instantly! Dark, Straight Leg Jeans

Same goes for the dressy element. A real sartorialist can pull off a tuxedo jacket with his jeans, but most of us are better off with a blue blazer instead.

By upping your casual and decreasing your dressy, your total overall appearance will look more uniform.

Here are some good examples of high-low


And some bad ones


How you wear it

17 January, 2012

One of, if not the most important aspect of dressing well is having the confidence to do so. If you’re not sure about your clothing it’s pretty apparent and it makes you look like a clown. But when you see someone with supreme confidence in their style, it makes even the silliest thing look great. Case in point from the Sartorialist.

Look at what stands out about the clothes themselves. The most obvious is the beret. There’s very little that is as effeminate and pretentious as a beret. Same goes for how high is pants are hemmed. Calling them floods is an understatement. And don’t forget the bag that’s essentially a purse. 98 out of 100 men who tried to pull that off would look like they were obediently carrying their girl’s bag for her. Individually those pieces are brazen to the point of buffoonery. Collectively they look like something out of the costume closet at the community theater.

But look at the man wearing them. His posture is firm without being stiff. He’s not afraid to take up space and doesn’t comfort himself by keeping his hands in his pockets or folded at his chest. He’s staring you down and the look on his face is daring you to tell him he looks ridiculous. And because of the man and the way he wears these clothes, he looks genuine, masculine and confident instead of foppish.

I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying that clothes make the man, but really it’s the man who makes the clothes.