Today’s analysis is short and sweet, a lead in to a general idea for a post in a few days.
To utilize a piece of clothing I’ve never worn before.
Shoes: Black Rockport XCS (seen these before?)
Socks: Standard ankle-cut black socks.
Pants: Black Rocco jeans from Express (also familiar)
Belt: Black belt with rectangular silver buckle from Express.
Undershirt: Heather gray 2004 Premier Driving School T-Shirt (I’ve never ever worn this, it’s too small and, it’s a driving school T-shirt, from four years ago).
Shirt: Dark pink and black striped polo from Old Navy (this is a new piece, so I also haven’t worn it before, but that doesn’t count).
First of all, just getting this wonderful polo from Old Navy is a victory. I went before getting my hair cut on Monday, just to browse. I saw they had new polos in, but wasn’t particularly interested in any of the designs. Then I saw this pink and black one on a poster on the wall. Naturally, I couldn’t find it anywhere in the store. Nearly defeated, I asked a cashier if they still had it. She didn’t know, but asked the manager. Out of nowhere, the manager just pulls one from beneath another register! I couldn’t believe my eyes. What size? Large! Perfect. Oh yeah, it’s on clearance as well! What a score, 60% off on my favorite shirt in the store.
Alrighty, now that I’ve got that out, let’s get back to the goal at hand. Much of the outfit is pretty standard for me (from the waist down in fact). The black jeans from Express are particularly useful to me, since I wear a fair amount of black and black compatible colors. The pink/black striped polo brings a nice amount of color and contrast to the party, with fairly bold, thick striping.
However, how was I supposed to extract value from that random gray tee shirt? There are a few points to consider:
Because I’m wearing a polo, I’m going to be wearing an undershirt regardless, and this one fits the bill (utility wise) as good as any. Especially with the higher buttons on this particular polo, any fancy designs or luxurious fabrics aren’t going to be showcased. All anyone is going to see is a small triangle right below the neckline.
Fortunately, this shirt makes good use of that space. The design is fully below this area, so we don’t end up with partially visible text (this can detract from intentionality due to the in-between-ness of the result). Further, the heather gray provides the outfit’s only region of low value, low saturation color, making a fairly prominent contrast, allowing the bright pinks and strong blacks to have a source of comparison. This makes them all the more brighter and stronger, respectively. Finally, the heather texture gives a nice consistency of fabric texture. A subtle detail, but it certainly can’t hurt.
The punchline to this goal, and my above justification, is that certain garments and uses do not require high-cost, high-fashion purchases. I’m going to detail where not to waste spend your money in an upcoming post.
While you can’t see that my undershirt is too small, I can certainly feel it. I’ve noticed, especially when shirts are too small in the shoulder and chest, that the fabric loses breathability and induces sweating, even when I don’t feel hot. Sweating, of course, is uncomfortable, and if you feel uncomfortable, you’re more likely to look uncomfortable. That’s no fun.
Visually, however, I’m very happy with the outfit. To improve it even further, we could increase the level of contrast. A bright, white undershirt may be a more distinct change, and we could add more small regions of this accent color to create a coherent contrast throughout. Options include prominent white detailing on a belt, white shoelaces or shoe detailing, even modifying the buttons to be white (this can be accomplished easily with paint or even a Sharpie). These modifications would be especially nice because of the individuality they bring to the pieces (you can’t buy this polo shirt with white buttons, for example).
Comments: The photographer said that the outfit "was nice." Thanks.
Credit: The photographer remains anonymous.