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Match your leathers. Don’t match your tie and pocket square. Eat your greens. Every day we’re bombarded by rules, and sometimes it can feel like you’re living your life by what you shouldn’t do. Sometimes it pays to toe the line (we could never condone fastening every button on your blazer) but great style is also about dressing with individuality. The best way to mix things up is to not do what everyone else is doing.

Blue and green should never be seen

What the rule is: Blue and green should never be seen, except in the washing machine – or so the saying goes. “It probably comes from how similar the tones look if you get them wrong,” says Toby. “Like with pink and red, it can look a bit weird. But, get the right ones and the payoff is worth it.”

Why you can break it: “It’s just not true,” says Toby. “Blue and green look really good together.” The trick us sticking to subtler tones – neon green and sky blue probably shouldn’t be seen.

How to break it: Go dark. Khaki and navy are a really strong combination,” says Toby. Alternatively, create contrast by anchoring a bright with a deeper shade. “Lighter blue with a darker green is another classic option.”

Wearing denim on denim

The rule: Thou shalt not wear two denim garments in the same outfit. If you need to ask why, just see Justin and Britney at the 2001 American Music Awards.

Why you can break it: “Denim is just a fabric,” says Toby. “You wouldn’t have a problem wearing two wool items together.”

How to break it: To keep double denim out of cowboy territory, mix up your colours. Like ties and pocket squares, different shades stop things getting too matchy-matchy. “Black denim and blue denim works too,” says Toby. “A deep indigo jacket with black jeans looks really cool.” For a subtler way in, try a lighter fabric, like a chambray shirt. It’s still denim, but only just.

Matching your belt and shoes

The rule: Brown shoes, brown belt. Black shoes, black belt.

Why you can break it: “No one is paying that much attention,” says Thread stylist Toby Standing. “Everything in menswear is getting more relaxed and these kinds of rules were for when guys wore suits every single day.”

How to break it: Matching matters more when your belt and shoes are leather. So, don’t wear leather. A woven belt can adds texture and looks great in lighter tones. “It makes your outfit more interesting,” Toby says.


Words: Theresa Harold
Photography: Jon Cardwell
Styling: Freddie Kemp