Let’s try a little test. Which of the following accessories would you prefer if you had to pick one of each?
a) Rose-gold Cartier with roman numerals, round face, metal strap
b) Steel Audemars Piguet with no numbers, octagonal face, metal strap
c) Black Bell & Ross with four numbers, square face, plastic strap
d) Silver Patek Philippe with roman numerals, round face, brown leather strap
a) Dark brown, silk graphic on one side, wool on the other
b) Grey cashmere with white pinstripe
c) Black lambswool with white dot
d) Pale grey cashmere with brown reverse
a) Dark brown leather with black crocodile detail
b) Black leather driving gloves
c) Yellow leather with cashmere lining
d) Brown suede with leather edging
a) Aviator sunglasses with brown leather bridge
b) Silver and black jade signet ring
c) Gold cigarette lighter
d) Red calf-leather passport holder
Now think carefully. Pick one from each category. I find the choices are rather revealing of the person you want to be as you get dressed.
According to one magazine (with a few added touches from me) all the a) should go together, all the b) together and so on. Which is pretty much spot on for my aspirations – I pick d) every time, except for the random others, where I hesitate between a) and d). I’ve always preferred brown leather to black, silver to gold and liked pale grey wool.
The fact that the magazine got it right demonstrates the art of combining these aspirational shots and combinations. It’s the same with window dressing – Church’s shoes recently began a new campaign in its windows where it combines a pair of shoes with its new lines in socks, ties and scarves.
I was taken by the tan brogues, dark brown scarf and wool tie in a mid-blue with club stripe. But you may be more of a black derby/grey scarf/black knitted silk kind-of-guy. Have a look next time you walk past the store – there’s one in New York and if the branding manager is worth his salt it will have the same window dressing as London (and Hong Kong, Tokyo etc.).
Another way to pick out the accessories that define you is to consider it next time you pack for a trip. Glance at the watch, scarf, gloves, shoes and ties lying on your bed, waiting to be packed. See what message they send out.
As a final word on the subject, I need to mention Bergdorf Goodman window dressing, which never fails to capture my attention every time I walk past. Again, the combinations of the particular window that stops you in your tracks will probably be quite revealing. My favourite is shown opposite. I’ll leave you to decide what it says about me.