I love how the core values of Starbucks are like my own personal values, not, like, money or efficiency, or bad stuff like that.Wow. Anyway, here we go. I forgot my camera, so I took the picture(s) myself at home. The corresponding sections are, therefore, removed.
To utilize a piece of clothing in an unexpected or unusual fashion, obviously without creating a negative overall effect.
Shoes: Black Rockport Dunstable (again). I continue to get significant mileage out of these shoes. This may be because I wear a lot of black.
Socks: Black socks, unknown brand.
Pants: Black Rocco jeans from Express. These have a wonderful fit, and are quite comfortable. Some (very slight) red stitch detailing.
Undershirt: Purple basic undershirt from Target, worn as the main shirt.
Shirt: Yellow Izod sport polo, worn as the undershirt.
Clearly we’ve used a piece (two, really) in an unexpected way. I’m wearing a polo shirt as an undershirt, and an undershirt as the outer layer. This is something I described as an option in a previous Breaking the Norm post. Of course, there are details to consider.
First, one of the main ideas behind the concept is to recreate the idea of a polo collar contrasting with a sweater in a summer-friendly way. This is achieved here because of the sharp contrast between purple and yellow (they are complementary colors).
Another facet is recasting the undershirt as a slightly more dressy piece. We’re helped by the collar and sleeve detailing, and the overall dark color of the shirt. This makes the fabric appear to have more weight (which it does), than an undershirt. A thinner or lighter shirt may show too much of the underlying piece or be so thin that it looks like pajamas.
The rest of the outfit is fairly standard, a nice fitting pair of jeans, with matching shoes. Black is a safe choice as a background color, though we could have matched the purple and yellow with olive, brown, or beige trousers as well (changing shoes as necessary). Further, black jeans are generally regarded as more formal, giving more credence to the “dressy undershirt.”
The biggest problem with this outfit is actually one you can’t see. Undershirts are made to be comfortable. Polo shirts are made to be worn over undershirts. The result here is that my polo is a bit itchy, despite being washed just last night. I could wear an additional undershirt underneath the polo (for a total of three layers), but I suspect this would make me look like a puffball. (UPDATE: Confirmation on the puffball.)
Visually, the hardest thing to manage is the different sleeve lengths. The undershirt sleeves are about two inches shorter than the polo shirt sleeves, leading to an awkward differential. Pulling the polo sleeves out completely looks oddly unbalanced, and it’s difficult to keep them reigned in (one must pull in at the shoulders, then pull down, though the sleeves eventually work their way out again). Ideally, the polo sleeves should be shorter than the undershirt sleeves, or no more than half an inch longer (the extra contrast is nice, like a twofer tee shirt).
You can see the bad version of this here: