There is so much in music that words cannot express. Yet, at the same time, there are concrete scientific principles that contribute to its ability to connect with us, to make us feel emotion, to make us dance. Take harmony, for example. In order for chords to sound in tune, small adjustments have to be made to each note. Some notes need to be sharper, some flatter. And depending on the kind of chord, these adjustments can be rather drastic. It’s the laws of nature. Is knowing this information critical to being a great musician? Not necessarily—though it can certainly be helpful.

This and other theoretical underpinnings of music—the truths that make music music—lead me back to thinking about how we talk about “rules” in style. There’s definitely merit in knowing some of the rules of style. They help you form the foundation of your personal style and provide a launching pad for exploration. I’m a firm believer in the value of understanding the basics. Do you need to know them? No. But, again, they can be helpful.

However, unlike some musical principles, the rules of style are not absolute truths. They’re not controlled by physics. Everything does not need to be perfectly aligned and perfectly adjusted for there to be harmony in style. Striving for perfection is a virtue, but particularly and especially in matters of style, there can be perfection in imperfection, don’t you think?

Thanks for reading.

Stylishly Yours,

He Spoke Style

Photography by Rob McIver Photo.


Chime In

  • http://thepocketstyle.blogspot.com/ Andres Poiche
  • http://stylingfabulous.com/ elena daciuk

    yes! being a wardrobe consultant & musician…i LOVE that you paired the two together…”there can be perfection in imperfection”…absolutely! it is the beauty of one finding their own personal style!

    • http://hespokestyle.com Brian Sacawa

      Thanks, Elena. So glad this post resonated with you!

  • http://anorexicescapades.com BougieHippie

    Interesting post and well written, but I do think style have a few rules and the rest is left up to creativity. Like music, practice makes perfect. To achieve the best personal style one must know the rules of fashion and play with it according to their naturally talents and those that are learned and work in harmony with both for a beatiful product. Music is the same way.


    • http://hespokestyle.com Brian Sacawa

      Having been in music my entire life, I can say with certainty that practice does not make perfect! However, the longer you spend with something and the more you immerse yourself in it, the more fluent in that language you become.

  • http://Brandergy.com Vincent Wright

    Both are about what I call #togetherese … (the language of what things work together … whether chords or clothes or construction or communication or civility…) #TheMusicDiet

    • http://hespokestyle.com Brian Sacawa

      Thanks for the comment, Vincent. Have a great weekend.

  • http://www.geoffmatheson.com Geoff

    I love that you’re writing about connections between music theory and style. I often make these connections, and just like in music, I use them as guides to build from and often feel inclined to bend or break those theories, but it’s important to have a starting point. Great stuff. Cheers!

    • http://hespokestyle.com Brian Sacawa

      Well said, Geoff.

  • Jason S.

    Fantastic post, Brian! I’m always looking for the flat 9 pieces to jazz up my wardrobe. In fact, your plaid tie post was a great inspiration so I bought one to make a little change to my khaki suit look that broadens its interest level – thanks!

    • http://hespokestyle.com Brian Sacawa

      Cheers, Jason. So glad to hear!

  • Seth Nelson

    Great post. As a musician I believe in the importance of learning the rules first, before learning how to break them. I practice and teach this, for example, when it comes to learning new music. First learn it the way the composer intended it. After that, then feel free to make it your own. “Improve” upon it by adding your own expression and personal interpretation. (Even jazz musicians who can’t read music, I would say, intuitively “know” some “rules” of what is pleasing to them or their audience, and how to break them.) This changing or adapting the rules is one of the great things about music, art, and the human element. I think the same must be true of fashion style.