For so long, menswear has been defined by limits, boundaries, and golden rules. When it comes to men, we collectively have always believed in specific sets of clothing traditions passed down to us by our fathers and grandfathers. Never mix brown and black. Never wear casual clothes to work. As long as you didn't break the rules, you would be viewed as a respectable man. But as we've seen in the past year, there are no more rules.
I've decided to break two of them in this look. A black tee and gray chinos would most certainly mean a black shoe choice. It could be an oxford, a loafer, a sneaker, or whatever footwear selection, but regardless of the type of shoe, most men would definitely choose black. The great thing about gray is that it matches just about everything. And by throwing a brown (cognac) loafer into the mix, I still keep the continuity of the look. It's a splash of subtle color in an otherwise neutral look, and it works. It's the balance of rich black in the tee and faded gray in the pant that allows the brown shoe to both pop and blend.
I'm also forcing my work and casual selves to butt heads here. The tee is a bit elongated and clearly meant for streetwear. Though chinos can often lend themselves to casual activity, this pair is perfectly pressed and creased, and they are clearly designated for work purposes. Who says a guy can't wear a pressed pair of pants in public for casual activity? Who says he can't wear a casual tee to his job? Both worlds coexist here to create a complete look that works in either scenario.
Menswear is changing rapidly. The menswear customer is changing just as rapidly. The rules of yesterday are there if you want to follow them, but where's the fun in that?
Photos by Arlette Landestoy (www.arlettelandestoy.com)