Hey gents,

A few days ago I found this image on Tumblr, which I re-tumbl’d and also linked to on EG’s Facebook page, and it got an interesting response.

Some were into it, but most weren’t. Seems the comments skewed very traditional, as in, “the jacket and shoes are formal, the pants should be too,” and “everything should match,” etc.

So my question to you today is:

How experimental are YOU when it comes to your outfits?

Read that again.

I’m not asking you if you like this photo, or if you’re pro- or anti-cargos with your tailored sport coats.

I’m asking… how experimental are you when it comes to putting an outfit together each morning?

If you’ve been an EG reader for any amount of time, you’ll know that we encourage you to learn the basics of putting together a classic wardrobe with modern touches and little bits of trendy influences here and there.

We also encourage students of style to experiment with items and combinations outside of their current comfort zone.

Knowing what you like, don’t like, and aren’t sure you like until you try it out is KEY to finding and evolving your personal style.

If I never “pushed the limits” of experimentation in my own life, I’d probably still be stuck in 1996, wearing my JNCOs and Hip Hop Tasmanian Devil tees.

How do I feel about the outfit?

Personally, I love it. That’s probably obvious, otherwise I wouldn’t have posted it.

Here’s why: The fit of everything is spot on. The shoes and jacket are killer, and I like the high/low mix of the cargos with a tailored jacket and double monks. It’s like a high/low sandwich.

I wear variations of high/low all the time; it’s a fun way to experiment and learn what works as an outfit, and what works for your own personal style.

Editor’s note: I talk a little bit more about this in a new (semi-regular) video series, but it’s exclusive to EG readers on the list. Make sure you sign up here so you don’t miss out. First one’s coming this Sunday!

So let’s hear it

How experimental are you? On a scale of 1-5, 1 being very traditional and not swaying from the rules at all, and 5 being extremely open and willing to try pretty much anything.

Can’t wait to hear your responses. Till next time!

PUBLISHED September 28, 2012


Barron is the Founding Editor of Effortless Gent and the Cladright Association. He's from San Francisco but currently living in New York. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Tumblr.



  • Nick

    Not really diggin’ the ensemble. Everything is fine, but the cargo pants? Kinda throws you’re vision a bit. What that gentleman needs is a nice pair of skinny fit jeans. Then he’d have a pretty rockin’ outfit!

    • Dan J.

      I agree with Nick. I’m OK with mixing in a pair of chino’s or other informal pants, including jeans of various hues, but the cargos kind of strike me as like wearing Nike sneakers with a suit.

      • http://effortlessgent.com Barron

        You two didn’t read the question in the post, did you? Tsk tsk.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chris.myhalsky Chris Myhalsky

    If I could pull it off (read: had properly fitting pants) I’d definitely wear it. I’m not very experimental with how I dress personally, but it’s due to a lack of items in my closet rather than fear of working outside the box.

  • Nic

    I would say that I am a 3 on that scale. The outfit in the picture is good, just not for me.

  • tuba

    I think this outfit works, combos of “highs” and “lows” BUT I think the body structure of the person is throwing me off. The model’s body is somewhat “top heavy” and the cargo pants fit (or any pants fitted for that matter) is actually emphasizing the unbalanced proportion. I think what bothers me the most is the silhouette where the jacket ends and the pants start. the jacket seem to be hanging. I wonder if the suit is a bit fitted around the waist would help. Then you have the fitted bottom of the pants around the calves area which gives the illusion of being top heavy again. I have the same problem so I wear fitted pants but straight fit instead of tapered.

    • http://effortlessgent.com Barron

      Interesting. I can see where you’re coming from. The pants ARE very tapered, and it looks like he’s buttoning the jacket, so maybe that’s why it still looks a bit wide. Maybe it’s how he’s standing. In any case, I can see why the proportions may throw off the appearance of the outfit, especially compared to Sabir’s (in the comment above). Thanks for the input!

  • Derek

    3/5 on the experimental scale. I normally stick to wearing the regular staples most days, but sometimes things catch my eye that I really have to try. As a fit 20 year old, I think I pull it off well and what better time to do it than your young college years?

  • Richard Wilkins

    Personally I would say that I am around a 3 most of the time, but I have seen this type of outfit many times and I think it can be pulled off well (see here: http://mensstylepro.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/dsc_0267.jpg). I think this guy in Barron’s post just has slim cargo’s that are way more fitted than the jacket and the color combination isn’t that great

    • Dan J.

      This looks much sharper. They’re cargos but the pockets are smaller and much less prominent and the color combination works better.

    • http://effortlessgent.com Barron

      Sabir does it well in that photo. The cargos I refer to in this post (and any time I talk about wearing cargos nowadays) are different from the cargos of the mid-90s. They’re much more trim and sleek, and the pockets don’t fan out as much as they did in the 90s versions.

      Thanks for sharing this photo.

  • David X L

    On a scale of 1-5, I’m probably a 2.7183. I like to keep it natural.

    Re: the ensemble, I think that guy’s intentionally veering into “haters gonna hate” land, so he’s spot-on when it comes to eliciting the desired response from bystanders. It’s like Thom Browne suits–it looks absurd to the average person, which is apparently part its cutting fashion appeal.

    • daniel

      as a guy who majored in math, i appreciate the rating you gave yourself! props to you my friend

      • Dan J.

        David must be a real natural.

    • http://effortlessgent.com Barron

      Good comparison w/ the Thom Browne suits, and veering into “haters gon’ hate” land. I guess it all comes down to personal taste.

  • Captain Carlos

    I love wearing formal shoes with casual wear, style isn’t what matches your wardrobe, its what matches you.

    • http://effortlessgent.com Barron

      Well said!

  • JohnnyL53

    Maybe high/low can work but definitely not skinny cargo pants. Put anything in them and you look like you are wearing jodhpurs that are too long. Nope. Put cargo pockets on a pair of pants implies that they should be useful or else its a silly styling exercise with the pockets becoming so much frou frou. Cargo pockets on skinny pants…sorta like pockets on tights,

  • Marshall Lilly

    Being adventurous is a good thing. But there’s a difference between being adventurous and being sloppy. Wear pink argyle socks, incorporate hats (not baseball caps) into your wardrobe, etc. That’s commendable. Pairing a jacket and a pair of double monks with cargo pants isn’t being adventurous, it’s sending the signal that you got dressed in the dark. There are TONS of things that look good on some guys and not others. I think I look like an idiot in a seersucker suit, some guys look like a million bucks. I love pink ties for myself, but some guys just can’t pull it off. This kind of comfort zone shouldn’t be extended to stuff like this. It looks lazy and like you don’t care. I would never tell a guy who was wearing a black suit, black tie, and white shirt that he looks silly wearing brown shoes with that outfit, but I’d certainly think it.

    • http://effortlessgent.com Barron

      I disagree here. I can tell you’re more of a traditionalist when it comes to getting dressed, and there’s definitely nothing wrong with that. But everyone has different opinions of what’s considered stylish / adventurous with dress. I think practically any look can be pulled off by SOMEONE out there.

      You said it yourself, you don’t think you look right in a seersucker suit, while the guy standing next to you could look like the cover of a GQ mag. I think it all really depends. I’ve worn cargos with a sport coat before, and I think I look damn good. We might just have to agree to disagree on this one :)

  • larry ramirez

    I’d say I’m about a 3, most of my outfits are simple but sometimes I like to wear my button-downs with acid wash jeans, like I did for my 30th. I woke a button down, vest and tie, all proper, tucked into my grey acid wash jeans and brown leather Desert boots, oh, and suspenders to hold the jeans up (even though they’re skinny jeans, so there’s nothing to hold up.) I wear stuff like that from time to time, though, so most days it’s pretty simple stuff, for the most part.

    • http://effortlessgent.com Barron

      I have to admit, that outfit sounds pretty pimp and you’re making me want to grab a pair of acid wash denim. Definitely not an everyday thing, but like the Go To Hell pants, they have their place if you’re one who is a bit more experimental. Nice work.

  • crockeronline

    I’m a 2, and while I wish I was more experimental, I can’t say I don’t get compliments when I’m dressing classic, yet sharp. Personally, I think it comes with experience- as I’ve gotten better at dressing nicely on a regular basis, as I’ve figured out what works for me casually and formally, I am able to play around and start bending the rules that I follow.

    • http://effortlessgent.com Barron

      Exactly. You have to learn “the rules” first and then you can bend and break where appropriate (or really, wherever the hell you want to, as long as you know you’re doing it).

  • TJ

    I’d say I’m a three. When I first started changing up my style I was afraid of patterns and colors outside neutrals. Now I am a lot more experimental with styles and colors (i.e. salmon colored pants). I haven’t quite gotten to a 5 but I may one day.

    On a different note, can someone explain to me this sudden obsession with cargo pants? I know they are slimmed down and not like the kind that I used to wear when I was a skater kid but I just don’t get it. I haven’t liked them since I first saw them in GQ last year and I still don’t like them. They look silly in my opinion. Why not just go for a pair of flat front chinos? I don’t think the pockets add any style or interest.

  • David

    I like the color combinations, especially for early fall. It also passes on the FF (Fit and Fabric). I like the mixture of textures. However, I just can’t get past the cargoes! Also, I’m not a double monk strap shoe type of guy as I feel that shoe style is a just bit trendy and doesn’t pass the test of time, but that’s just me.

    However, I am 47 and thanks to your blog and a few others I have totally updated my wardrobe (and spent a few grand in the process) to reflect my age and appropriate style in my attempt to grow old gracefully. Jackets, dark proper fitting denim, pocket squares, everything tailored and fits properly, the whole nine yards. Even went as far as getting a great pair of Allen Edmonds! That’s why I want to take this opportunity to thank you! As the old band of the early *80′s ZZ Top said in one of their hits “women go crazy for a sharp dressed man!”

    Keep up the great blog!

    • http://effortlessgent.com Barron

      Good points here. I’m glad you decide to dress your age. I think a younger guy can pull the above look off (or maybe some influential figure in the men’s fashion world, regardless of age). It definitely isn’t for everyone, but it can work. Ultimately I’m happy you took the advice to heart and applied it to your specific situation! Kudos my friend.

  • Scott from Oz

    I’m personally not a fan of it, but if you feel great wearing it, rock on!

  • http://pleaselikeme.tumblr.com statelypenguin

    I know cargo pants are kind of in, but I’m not a fan. Hopefully, the last time a pair of cargo pants are on my body remains to be back in 2003. That being said, when I was a kid I used to have that Taz and Bugs shirt. It was awesome. I would wear it again.

    • http://effortlessgent.com Barron

      Right? I loved those t-shirts. I had so many. haha

  • Scott Hendrickson

    I’m generally a 3 (rarely a 4) when it comes to experimenting. I’m open to try new stuff, but can always fall back on the traditional. Why not try new stuff out every once in a while? How else are trends, fashion and general styles made if not through someone experimenting at some point?

    (For the record, even though not the question, cargo pants are for camping and not much else. They’re generally awkward and bulky, although the one’s in the photo are sleeker looking, that big pocket throws me off)

  • Chris

    I would call myself a 2 at work and 6 elsewhere. I am just starting the upgrading journey so I don’t have much confidence to venture away from simple and mundane. I must say, reading your articles has cleared a lot of the fog and for that I thank you, good sir! Now I just gotta acquire the funds.