Over the years I’ve gotten a lot of questions from readers about how to add elements of the Rugged and Rakish archetypes into their Refined, white-collar business wardrobes.
It’s a great question and shows just how intentionally you are dressing. As I’ve answered it for different readers, I’ve noticed three different ways to make a business uniform look a little more Rugged or Rakish
Most business attire operates under a moderate contrast. Dark trousers or suits, light shirts, and maybe a bit of a color pop in a tie. It’s not too muted, nor is it too vibrant and attention seeking.
A man who leans more towards the Rugged Archetype is better off toning down the contrast and working with colors that are analogous (close to each other on the color wheel).
Rather than a navy suit with a white shirt and green tie, he’s better off with a navy suit, darker blue shirt, and a tie that’s a deeper shade of blue or even a purple.
The opposite is true for Rakish men. They will want to up the contrast by choosing colors that are contrasting (opposite each other) or triadic (form a Y on the color wheel). Brighter shades, bolder patterns and more variations will all draw more attention and evoke more of the Rake.
As a basic rule of thumb, the finer the texture of a given cloth, the more Refined its appearance.
From both the Rugged and Refined perspectives, increasing the amount of texture in a cloth helps make the style more personal.
A suit made from worsted wool is the industry standard for a reason. There is no visual or tactile variation and it appears professional and Refined. By changing the weave and the way in which the cloth is dyed – say with a birdseye or a nailhead – more visual texture can be introduced without affecting the way the cloth drapes or lies.
By taking the cloth to a further extreme – into realms of summer and winter fabrics and weights (think of linen, hopsack, flannel, and tweed) – even more texture is introduced and the garment strays further away from the Refined archetype.
The Rugged man will always want to lean a bit more textured. However, the Rakish man can use cloths that are finer or more textured. For him, it’s more about not being in the safe center than it is about the traditional association with a given texture.
A man can stray too far from a work-appropriate wardrobe by diving headfirst into tweed suits or linen trousers. However, he can still inject some of his personality and his preferred Archetype by doing so with his accessories.
Selecting ties, pocket squares, and shoes that have more texture, play with the color variation, and have roots in other activities can all contribute a more Rugged or Rakish appearance.
There are myriad combinations that can come from understanding these three principles and the only way to truly learn how to apply them is through experimentation. Be willing to make mistakes and come up against the line – maybe even cross it a time or two.
Only from making these changes can a man truly understand the perfect, personal balance between the Three Archetypes in his own appearance.
Don’t know what I mean by Rugged, Refined, and Rakish? Well go check these out.
Want to know where you fall into the Three Masculine Style Archetypes?
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Even when complying with a dress code, you’re still telling a story with your style.
Learn the how men throughout time and across all cultures have use their clothing to communicate specific, masculine virtues and tell stories that lead to more success, happiness, and fulfillment.