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LSA Dressiquette: Here’s the right way to match your watch and outfit

Sure, you may own a fine timepiece but does it work with your look? Here’s the right way to match your watch and outfit

Matching your timepiece with your outfit can be a simple yet nuanced affair. Often, when it comes to accessorizing, a watch is the last item worn, and one tends to focus on practicality rather than style. But there’s a way to balance both. We’ve listed the ground rules of style that’ll help you pick the right watch for the right occasion 

Navy suit against a Yellow Gold cased watch
Contrast between elements: Navy suit against a yellow gold case watch

Formal and business dressing 

The dress code you’re preparing for should be the determining factor in how you match a watch to an outfit. If you’re wearing a jacket, then it makes sense to pair that with an elegant, slim dress watch. Our favourite is the Santos de Cartier – it’s simple, bold, and effortlessly stylish. 

Though the spectrum of creativity is limited in formalwear, you still play a few strong cards – a classic black or navy leather strap, a yellow or rose gold case, or a bold monotone dial. Indulge in minimalist watches as far as formal affairs are concerned – be it a black-tie event, a business lunch, or a fine-dining soiree. 

An intricate skeleton watch worn with soft blue tones

Sporty and casual dressing 

It can be difficult to match your watch and outfit, so let’s begin at smart casuals and work our way down. Ruled by lightweight blazers and polos, since the sartorial scale isn’t tilting towards heavy dressing, you can allow your timepiece to flaunt a few complications. How about a Rolex Daytona? Or a Chopard L.U.C? Both timepieces feature complications yet aren’t too heavily detailed. Remember, you still need to maintain a subtle formal silhouette, so don’t indulge in graphic or overly bold dials.

Watches with complications like chronographsGMTs, multiple sub-dials and skeletal silhouettes work best with sporty dressing. 

Maurice Lacroix Les Classiques capsule
Maurice Lacroix Les Classiques capsule

Matching your leathers and metals 

This is a rule from the first page of a gentleman’s manual – matching your leathers and your metals. If you’re sporting a pair of leather shoes, it’s always advisable to match your belt and the strap of your watch with it. Not just in terms of colour, but tone, texture and finish as well. If the case of your timepiece is made out of yellow or rose gold, accessorize in accordance to complement that. Pocket squares, bow-ties, do play a small role here. Metal straps always work well with brighter shirts and blazers, and leathers with the contrary.  

Silver cased watch packed with complications neutralised with a white shirt

Balancing your details 

Perhaps the most important lesson on this list. When indulging in blazers or even graphic shirts for summer, pay attention to how detailed it is. Blazers or shirts with intricate textures and stitches like tartan or tattersall are extremely eye-catching, which is why the accessories should simply dose them down. If not, you’ll have two important elements of your outfit overpowering each other. Turn this to your advantage by accessorizing your blazer to complement your watch. Yellow gold, pink gold, or even stainless steel could be matched with cuff-links, tie pins, tie-bar,  and buttons too. These can even allow you to take the focus off your blazer and onto your watch. 

All images: Courtesy Shutterstock

Mikhail Gomes
Features Editor, Lifestyle Asia India & Contributor - Augustman
A watch aficionado, Mikhail also enjoys learning about fine whiskies, and one day hopes to establish his own menswear label. At Lifestyle Asia India, he writes on watches, menswear, auto and tech.