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Style Guides

High / Low Dressing

05 Sep 2023

The biggest potential pitfall with tailored dressing is looking fussy. Fussy is not sexy, it is not attractive. It is closely related to appearing affected or mannered. 

Looking relaxed in clothing, on the other hand is very attractive. It lies at the core of terms such as grace and elegance.

Here we will look at mixing the casual with the formal. Often named high/low dressing.


High / Low Dressing – Outerwear

One guiding principle for high/low dressing is to play with the accessories, not the core. So outwear, not jackets; not shirts, not trousers. A second is to be aware there are grads of high and low dressings. These should not be pushed to far apart. So a Barbour jacket with a casual suit, but not with a black tie

The easiest and by far the most popular way to add casual or low elements to an outfit is with outerwear. It’s easier to look casual and unfussy if the coat is a little beaten up, which leads to a lot of men buying them vintage. 

High / Low Dressing – Shirts

The second easiest is the casual shirt. Two examples have been ever-present in recent years: the demin shirt and the polo shirt. One extreme example of the demin shirt is the thick pearl-snap cowboy first.

The other is the everyday demin shirt, which is closer to being a dress shirt that fades nicely. 

Mostly it’s safer to have something in the middle – which is still obviously demin, but also functions well under a jacket. 

One the polo shirts, of course, our favourite is our own House of Cavani shirts. It subverts the assumptions of tailoring  in exactly the same way as denim, but if cut like a regular shirt, mostly just shows the material and texture.



Accessories are one of the easiest  things to add to any outfit. They don’t tend to make a dramatic difference like outerwear does. 

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