Accessories maketh the man

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Photographs by: LUCAS NOONAN

Giorgio Armani was once credited with saying that any man needs only one good suit. And one hundred pairs of shoes.

A little extreme, perhaps, but an indication of his view that what you put with the suit is as important as, if not more important than, the suit itself.

And its certainly true that if your budget is limited you are probably better buying one perfectly cut quality suit than several glued together disasters.

Accessories can change the perception of any suit.  But as with all things visual the basic canvas you start with affects not only your options in terms of accessorizing, but also how much of a chameleon you can be.

Ladies have rings, necklaces, earrings, and all kinds of other accoutrements to help each of them have a unique style of their own.

We men have a limited cast of options – ties, cufflinks, watches, tie pins and clips, and at a push socks, scarves, gloves and hats.

I try to adhere to a simple formula when accessorizing any outfit.  First, remember that everything needs to work together.  But second, remember that you don’t want to be the guy where everything matches….red cufflinks, red tie, red square, red socks, etc etc…you get the idea.

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The best idea is to keep things in the same color family, and to pick up an accent from your suit or jacket if it has a color in it.  If you are wearing a tie and a pocket square make sure that either the color family, or the pattern match.  But not both.  Again, you don’t want to be the guy who looks like a robot dressed you.Most of all, take this chance to express your own thoughts on these matters.  After all, style is personal.  So create your own and make it yours.  It doesn’t really matter if it wouldn’t work for anyone else.  If you like it and feel confident wearing it, then by all means do so.  Lastly try to remember that normally if you are going to mix colors up to three is good, and if you want more than that you really need to hit 8 or more.  Its just a weird things I’ve found over the years.  Three is clean and simple.  Eight is so many that anything works.  In between tends to be Coco the Clown’s cousin. If you want to take things to an extreme grab yourself some colored laces for your shoes to accent the rest of the outfit.But at heart, all you really need is a nice watch (again, better to save and have one good one than a bunch of mediocre ones), a “go to” set of cufflinks (DQ smoking skulls for me), a couple of ties and pocket squares and some complimentary socks, and you are in business.And then just enjoy the looks and compliments you get as you swagger about town.

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Words by DUNCAN QUINN Photos by Lucas Noonan