Non-Staple Staples


Resident iGent
The recent Friday challenged explored outfits without most of the accepted staple items. The results were...interesting. It turns out there is a reason why staples are considered staples. They aren't just the easiest to use, they border on necessary.

There are a couple of lists on SF along the lines of Building a Proper Wardrobe or You're Not Well Dress Unless You Own the Following Items, but I did a hasty search and found nothing really responding to the question "OK, what next?"

So, assume that the following are already owned:
- charcoal and navy suits
- burgundy and navy ties
- brown and black captoes
- mid gray trousers
- white linen pocket square
- white and blue solid shirts

What would be the next set of items you would recommend a person to buy?

My list:

Double breasted navy jacket (if wanting to be an iGent)

A blue blazer (if wanting to be a normal person)

Brown wool trousers

A dark paisley pocket square

A solid brown tie, a solid black tie, and a muted neat

Blue OCBD and a white striped shirt

Brown chelsea boots
I only write in response right now to Chorn Chorn 's OP, but is not a blue OCBD w/in the "everyone should have it" list?

1) Get some lighter brown shoes to bridge "formal" and "casual" - Whiskey, Ravello, or Chestnut in tones w/ a complimentary belt.
1.5) Alternatively, acquire boots to the same end.^
2) Branch into muted seasonal colors in casual shirting - rust, maroon & forest green through f/w, pale turquoise, pink, and mint for s/s.
3) 1-2 pairs of good denim.
4) Rugged outerwear (Barbour is my bet)

These additions will greatly expand the scope of the failsafe wardrobe above. Grey trousers are great, but would you wear them to a ballgame?
Now, having read Ivar and Chester's impressive convo, I'd like to chime in.

Grand Potentate Grand Potentate - My loud sneakers are a personal quirk in my dressing that I feel is something overarching. I tried to reference that back to influences from soccer and the now-commonplace loud boots that populate the game. It's a "carryover" from another aspect of life.

Similarly, I remember, when I was first learning to play soccer - any time I'd focus excessively on footwork/dribbling/whatever, someone pointed out to me that my hands fell to a "natural" position that was a little odd. My left hand cupped, palm-upward, and my right hand went limp-wristed, palm down, clenching between my index and thumb. Essentially, my hands reverted to a position common to playing guitar (another love of mine that I've invested many years in). Soccer was an entirely new situation, but my guitar-playing "shone through" in an almost inconceivable way.

I feel "style" operates in the same way. Why does one gravitate towards staples (or non-staples)? Because of the environment in which they've been formed.

Perhaps "staples" are just a construct as well - is there objective reasoning that a navy suit looks better all the time on all people? I'd propose, no - it's a construct in the sense that that's the general situation for those of Anglo- descent.
It wasn't the loud sneakers themselves. It was a) the fact that you paired like green sneakers with a bright purple shirt, and b) the fact that you paired it with a business casual style outfit.
Your suggestions are all sound, but I think that when you master the basics is the time to stop looking to "safe" items and start searching inward, expanding your wardrobe in a direction that's really all about "you" -- your personal quirks and idiosynchrasies. This tack should only be taken by experienced dressers, since the beginner is almost guaranteed to do it badly, but I think it's a necessary last step in developing truly personal style.
Agreed, but this is the next step, not the last one.
Chukkas are a decent non-staple staple, especially if the person is going to be wearing chinos a lot. I think chelsea boots are a bit more versatile though. No idea why you abhor them, HB.
Yes that's what I don't like about them. Why take a nice leather boot and whack great slabs of elastic all over it?

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