“I have wondered how long men would retain their ranks if divested of their clothing.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Principles of Graphic Design in Dressing
When composing an image, graphic designers use a few well-known principles to ensure their art is appealing to the eye. Gentlemen can apply those same timeless principles to the art of dressing.
Rule of thirds:
Most designers avoid placing the focal point in the exact middle or right on an edge of the image. Instead, it’s placed about a third of the way in from an edge. When wearing a suit, the hem of the coat should reach well below the halfway point to avoid visually cutting your frame in half.
When a design element extends beyond the edge of the image, distracting visual fragments can be formed. Designers enlarge the fragment to avoid jarring the eye. Ensure your collar and shirt cuffs extend an appropriate length past your coat to keep from creating small visual fragments in your outfit.
Remember, you are an image to those who see you, and considering the visual design of that image is always important.
Shoes That Shine
There’s more to choosing a pair of dress shoes than making sure their color works for your outfit. Each type of shoe has its own level of dressiness, and will work best within a range of outfits.
From casual to dressy, here are a few classic choices:
Loafers: Shoes without laces are part of the broad category of loafers (such as penny loafers and moccasins). Less dressy than their laced-up counterparts, loafers can be worn easily with business-casual outfits, lightweight summer suits, and dressier casualwear.
Bluchers (open lacing): If the top of the shoe and the tongue are crafted from one piece of leather, a portion of the tongue shows from beneath the laces, giving it an open look (such as wingtips and Derbies). Bluchers are frequently more detailed than both loafers and balmorals. Wear with suits, slacks, and dressier jeans.
Balmorals (closed lacing): When the lacing pulls the shoe shut over the tongue (such as Oxfords), it gives the shoe a more formal look than open lacing. Wear with your dressiest suits and to formal occasions such as receptions, weddings, and funerals. The most elegant balmorals have minimal detailing.