Words by Mr Mansel Fletcher
Right now men's style is all about creating contrasts. This is why accessories that were near-extinct five years ago are enjoying such a revival; they are an easy way to bring contrasting colours into an otherwise sober outfit - consider the impact of a white pocket square, or a pair of red socks, on a blue suit. However, it's our belief that there is a more subtle way to achieve this than through the use of colours, and that's through the use of textures.
Contrasting textures can make a real impact. Unconvinced? Put on a grey suit and a white shirt and alternate between a navy silk tie and a navy cashmere tie. It's the kind of quiet difference that men like Mr Luca Cordero di Montezemolo employ so successfully. Alternatively, consider the impression made by the corded silk that's traditionally fixed to the lapels of an otherwise smooth dinner jacket, the classic textural contrast created by wearing grey flannel trousers with brown suede shoes, or why a madder silk tie looks so good with a tweed jacket. The effect is powerful, even if people won't easily put their finger on what it is that distinguishes your outfit.
However, this strategy isn't restricted to formal combinations. One of the reasons why mixing formal and informal clothes can create such pleasing contrasts is the mix of textures that it involves. There's a wonderful old shot of Mr Bryan Ferry wearing a chambray shirt under a white dinner jacket, in which the texture of the shirt contrasts beautifully with the smoothness of the jacket, and a similar logic accounts for why a glossy brown alligator-skin belt looks so good next to a well-worn pair of selvedge jeans.
There's almost no limit to the ways contrasting textures can be combined, from the subtlety of wearing a linen pocket square with a smooth wool suit to the classic high contrast of wearing a well-loved brown leather jacket with blue jeans. The overarching logic here is that the eye should read each piece of clothing separately, and that can be achieved as successfully using different textures as it can using different colours, or patterns. And here we show you seven combinations that do just that.