Hard & Soft Textures: A Balancing Act


Over the past couple of years my wardrobe has remained quite small and centered around simple classic items (for reasons that are both fiscal and spatial). As I’ve mentioned in the past, the expansions in my closet usually come in the form of new materials and textures rather than new colors or styles. I find that this is the easiest way for me to expand my dressing options without losing the versatility I already have. Adding clothing of various weights and fabrics also aids in dressing for the season (although that kind of comes out as a wash given the mild San Francisco weather). However, I have found that delving too far into rich textures and materials can result in an odd look at times, as noted by both Derek and Stephen.

The example that often comes to my mind is suede shoes (and what to pair them with). The merits of suede have been written on heavily, and over the past Fall/Winter season there have been dozens of bloggers (myself included) hailing the textural orgy of flannel trousers and suede shoes. The more I experiment with this look, though, the more I am inclined to mix fuzzy flannels with gleaming calf and hard worsteds with velvety suede. I find that if I leave the house wearing flannel trousers, suede shoes, an oxford shirt and a wool tie I start to feel as if I came out of a dryer’s lint catcher. It seems to me that the beauty of texture is set off by contrast and not by uniformity. To my eye, the pictures above give a much more visually interesting pairing than if the shoes were swapped.