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The art of dressing well is a learned skill, particularly for men. With some expert guidance and key principles to follow, mixing and matching daily outfits can become very turnkey. Here, style connoisseur Ryan Poague, general manager of Bonobos in Buckhead Village District, offers his rules of thumb to successfully pulling off any guy outfit.

Contrast is Key

When selecting a casual or work outfit that is not a suit, try to avoid being too matchy-matchy on the top and bottom. “If you go lighter on the bottom, then go darker on top and vice versa,” says Poague. “If you wear navy pants, don’t wear a navy button down.”

Pattern Rules

A similar rule applies to mixing and matching with patterns. “You can pair patterns as long as they aren’t going to fight each other for attention,” says Poague, who recommends no more than two. If you love patterns, he suggests making sure one is small and subtle, and the other is larger. Or pair any kind of pattern on top or bottom with a monochrome item on the opposite side. Don’t go for two large designs. As for patterned suits, simply wear them with a plain shirt.

Pant Color Additions

Poague notes that many guys in Buckhead tend to go for the typical navy, gray or khaki pants, which are great staples and match with almost everything. However, there are more color-matching opportunities available to branch out a bit. “Guys can be hesitant about adding colors, but medium-brown and olive-green slacks really go well with a lot of things, including most of your standard white or white-withsome- plaid shirts,” Poague says.

A Versatile Shirt

For the office, plaid shirts are often a guy’s best friend, but don’t be afraid to try a non-plaid option. “A pin-dot [tiny polka dot] shirt, such as a white with navy dot, is an easy one that literally goes with everything,” says Poague. “It also goes with most ties as long as the tie is not very busy.”

Blazer Buddy

A blazer is a great item to have in a men’s wardrobe and can easily transition from daytime, smart-casual office wear to a night out. Poague recommends selecting an unconstructed blazer (without shoulder padding) in a solid navy, cobalt blue or any gray tone for the most versatility. Then combine it with a plaid shirt and chinos or jeans, with or without a tie. “If you’re going from work to dinner out, wear a good quality T-shirt under your button down. When leaving the office, take off the dress shirt, and keep the T-shirt on under the blazer,” he says.

Does the Shoe Fit?

According to Poague, a safe bet to stay coordinated is to purchase a matching belt whenever buying a pair of leather dress shoes. “I personally say brown shoes are always the right choice unless it’s a formal, black-tie event. A medium to light brown with a matching belt will look great with any pants and shirt.” Also stay away from mixing black and brown leather, which just doesn’t look good. For a more casual look, a nice option is pairing a braided belt in navy or gray with a black or brown leather shoe.

Poague does offer one caveat to the general mixing and matching rules of thumb. “Fashion is very personal,” he says. “And if you are really into an outfit that breaks these rules, just go for it!”

Buckhead Village District
3021 Bolling Way N.E.
Atlanta 30305

Photos courtesy of Bonobos


The team at Suitsupply in Buckhead offers this advice on what to do about socks and ties.

  • A plain sock always looks the best with a suit. Avoid novelty socks.
  • Match the color of your socks to either your suit or your shoes.
  • When wearing loafers or sneakers in the summertime, go for an invisible liner sock and bare some ankle.
  • If you feel like wearing a bold patterned shirt, skip the tie or go for a plain tie.
  • Do not match your tie with your pocket square—they should complement each other but should not be the same fabric or print.
  • Keep in mind the seasonality of the fabric of your tie and pocket square. Wear linen only in the summer and heavier wool only in winter. Silk works for every season.

Shops Around Lenox
3400 Around Lenox Road
Atlanta 30326

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