If you've been keeping up on the B&R Journal, you'll start to notice a pattern. We continue to drive home the principles of formality in deciding how to dress yourself for the day. One of the most difficult concepts to master, in dressing appropriately, and with style, is the scale of formality -- Are you dressed appropriately for the occasion? For this week, we're going to discuss how texture, not just pattern, can inform the formality of an outfit.
Take a look at the image above. There are 3 cloths above that can be identified as the most formal. Can you tell which three? The answer is, the birdseye, houndstooth, and gingham check. The reason for this is the finishing of the cloth. All three of these cloths are worsted- the smoothest, most refined finish for a woolen.
Moving down the scale, there are six cloths that take up the middle -- the flannel, chalk stripe, windowpane, pinstripe, hopsack, and glen plaid. All but the hopsack are a refined flannel. Not too fuzzy (brushed is the technical term for that texture), but just enough to make them stand apart from the worsteds of the previous group.
Finally, we have the Donegal, herringbone, and Prince of Wales rounding out the scale. The first two land this side of the scale because they have the rough, heavily textured finish inherent in tweeds. The PoW has a slightly smoother finish, but the linen makeup of the cloth means that it will be crunchy and will carry the wrinkles that give linen it's charm.
One final note to consider, that will really help with this topic: consider the historical use of the cloth. What were the cloths used for, in the past? This is especially helpful in identifying the more casual cloths. Tweeds were historically worn in the countryside and during sport - heavy, tough cloth for traipsing through the forests or fields, on a hunt. Linens as lounge suits in the summer time or laid back life in tropical climates.
There are many more factors that determine the formality of an outfit. Here we covered the texture of the cloth the garment is made of, but there is also the pattern, weave, and the current season, that matter in determining what's appropriate to wear. Keep an eye out on the B&R Journal, and we'll cover it all. If you have an immediate question about something, give us a shout. You can reach us on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, but you can also reach out to one of our Style Consultants by contacting a store, or emailing us here at email@example.com
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