Sometime around 300 BC, the Greek mathematician Euclid published a mathematic and geometric treatise entitled Elements, a collection of definitions, proofs, and theorems. Among its contents was the idea that two parallel lines will never intersect. Doesn’t matter how far you extend them, they’re never going to touch. Ever. Though he couldn’t prove it, for centuries this idea was taken as truth, as a rule. However, in the early 19th century, two other pioneering mathematicians—János Bolyai from Hungary and Nikolai Lobachevsky from Russia—said, “Hey, what if this isn’t true?” Their questioning, which showed that two parallel lines can in fact intersect, led to the birth of a new branch of mathematics called spherical geometry.
Though not necessarily “rule breakers” per se, Bolyai and Lobachevsky were trailblazers, and created something completely new by challenging a commonly held belief. I bring this example up because over the past few weeks we’ve had some great discussions about some of the rules, both written and unwritten, that govern menswear and style. And this has led fairly organically to opening up a broader discussion about the rules of style. So let’s talk about it. Here are a few questions to get the ball rolling:
There are many stylish gentleman who are more or less “by the book.” And there just as many who threw that book out the window. Agree?
Who are some of your favorite rule followers and breakers?
And finally, what’s your take? Are the rules of style made to be followed? Are they made to be broken? Or, are they simply guidelines that are open to personal interpretation?