Q:Man I gotta disagree on all three counts to avoiding the #menswearmullet. In fact everything you mentioned probably will just further exacerbate tasteless dressing. For the record though, you pull what you say off quite plumb, so kudos to you. Rather I think the jeans/tie look works best focusing on great fit, a very classic color palette (white/navy/brown) and neat denim. You are right that the error in that outfit stems from casualness. The solution is to not seek casualness at all.
Well, obviously I completely disagree and actually think your preferred “jeans & tie” look would exacerbate tastelessness.
Firstly, I never say “focus on fit” because I’m assuming you already do. If your clothes don’t fit, there’s really no point in figuring out more esoteric outfits. So, if you’re reading this blog there’s an assumed “focus on great fit” from the jump.
Secondly, I think focusing on neutral colors and neat denim and trying to avoid all casualness flies in the face of the “jeans” element. People usually have jeans that are a bit more beat up and worn in right? So unless you keep a set of “dress denim” (which I think is unnecessary) you’re always going to be fighting the tide. You can do a Ralph Lauren thing and wear something very dressy up top and something super, super beat up (but oh-so-carefully repaired) down low, but that’s a more “fashiony” look (though one I kind of like).
Thirdly, you’re trying to dress up the jeans to jacket/tie level, I’m trying to dress the tie down to jeans level. A subtle distinction, but important as jeans are inherently more casual. Trying to erase the casualness of jeans is almost always going to leave you looking like this guy. Whereas a nice knit and a casual shirt can take you places other than a Brooks Bros store.