British lawyers have a penchant for a particular suit/shirt combination that allows them to sport brightly coloured ‘fun’ ties. It’s an object of derision but holds lessons for all of us.
In my last post I wrote about the Italian background. The British lawyer’s background is similar, but transposes the blue/blue from shirt and tie to shirt and suit. This is practical combination to support a certain type of tie, namely that of a pale, light colour.
This tie is often from Hermès. It often has small characters printed on it (hippopotami, say, or squirrels). But most important is the fact that it is a light yet pale colour.
This is not an easy shade of any colour to wear. A white shirt makes the lightness of the tie too stark. The contrast is too great and both can end up looking cheap. A blue shirt is much better able to support such lightness, being a more muted colour itself and so creating less contrast.
However, being a pale version of this light colour, it could easily fade into nothing if worn with a pale or mid-grey suit. So a navy suit works perfectly – it provides a solid base for the tie’s colour, and also harmonises with the shirt to produce a single background block. There is little contrast, but still a solidity in support.