How to Dress like Cleav

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Our man @Cleav dresses the way that many users of Styleforum aspire to dress: impeccably, gentlemanly, and fuss-free from head to toe. This week, I want to focus on an outfit he recently shared that shows off how strong a relatively simple combination can be when it’s put together perfectly.

First of all, @Cleav’s suit exemplifies why navy is still a men’s wardrobe essential. Paired here with a striped shirt, earthy-red tie, and split-toe derby shoes, it shines purely on the merits of the perfect fit, and is complemented – rather than overshadowed – by the accessories @Cleav has chosen. While this is certainly a more conservative combination than most of what is now shown on Instagram feeds or in Pitti write-ups, many beginners nonetheless struggle to understand that you don’t necessarily need a more complex outfit to stand out. In fact, part of what distinguishes @Cleav is that his outfit choices are consistently executed to perfection, without the distractions of gaudy fabrics, experimental cuts, or overbearing accessories.

Of course, in order to look as good as @Cleav does, you need to make sure your suit fits perfectly, you need to know how to choose a shirt that’s not too busy, and you need to know when a loud accessory is unnecessary. When you’ve managed all that, you’re left with a foundation that’s not just versatile, but sharp enough to pay respect to both the wearer and whatever event he happens to be attending.

Bravo to Cleav, for showing the rest of us how it’s done.


Note: this article has been corrected as of 8/21 to reflect that @Cleav is wearing a navy suit, not charcoal as originally written.


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  1. Christine Mattsson

    August 20, 2017

    I believe the gentleman in the right hand photo has on a navy suit not a charcoal gray suit. Where I agree about the importance of a charcoal suit and a man’s wardrobe it seems incongruous to have a photo that does not depict this. Otherwise a helpful article.

    • Gerry

      August 21, 2017

      The suit on the left looks navy but the one on the right looks charcoal on my screen.

  2. Camilo

    August 20, 2017

    You can’t tell from the single picture above but if one goes through the WAYWT thread, Cleav’s shoes consistently has an especially impeccable look. He accomplishes this by excellent choices of lasts and polishes. I am very finicky about shoe styles and have hated the look of the split toe derby shoe, but after seeing Cleav’s yesterday, after all this time I changed my mind. I might get one now. So thank you to Cleav if you read this!

    • Fok-Yan Leung

      August 21, 2017

      The polish on Cleav’s shoes make nearly all of us feel inadequate! Maybe if he would be so kind as to give us a lesson on the forum.

      • Cleav

        August 24, 2017

        I’d be delighted dear friend

        I’ll get off the surf, get back home and get going

    • Cleav

      August 24, 2017

      pleased you changed your mind and thanks for the compliment, much appreciated.

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