Fashion Magazine

Levels of Refinement

By Imogenl @ImogenLamport

In short, the biggest problem I’ve had concerning dressing up and down is which materials really go together. Any tips most welcome, thanks so much in advance, as always.

As soon as I read this question I realised that it has to do with the concept we call Levels of Refinement.  It relates to fabrics as well as accessories and style of clothing.


levels of refinement
levels of refinement by imogenl featuring button jewelry

There are 3 levels of refinement:

Level 1

More formal wear – from business formal clothing to evening wear.  Fabrics that need special care (dry cleaning is a clue)!   Jewellery that is very sparkly or formal.  For example: silk, satin, superfine wool suiting, fabric with sheen or shine or that are see-through.  Diamonds, pearls, fine bejewelled sandals.

Level 2

Everyday smart clothing that isn’t too bulky.  Fabrics that can be laundered easily at home.  Jewellery that is appropriate for every day wear.  For example: stretch dark denim, high quality cotton, cotton/elastane, viscose, merino wool, ballet flats, pumps, Gucci style loafers.

Level 3

Outdoor leisure – fabrics that are bulkier or chunkier or very informal.  For example: Polar fleece, corduroy, distressed denim, lower quality cottons,  gym wear, sneakers, birkenstocks, crocs.


level of refinement
level of refinement by imogenl featuring silk tops

You can wear Level 2 with either Level 1 or Level 3 items, but you can’t mix Levels 1 and 3 (unless you have a creative or rebellious personality style).  This is why your less formal cotton items don’t work with your more formal satins or fine jackets.   This is why sneakers don’t work with suits, and pearls and a full face of makeup look silly at the gym.

getting your levels of refinement right
getting your levels of refinement right by imogenl featuring tall shirts

To upgrade the level of your t-shirts – go for a cotton/elastane mix rather than just a pure cotton, and ensure they they are very fine in their texture.  Look for tops with some detail at the neckline as this will give them top a more formal appearance and so work better with your jackets.

A fabric like gray marle (bottom row of the pic above 2nd from the left) is associated with sporting clothes, so is a lower level of refinement than the gray top on the right which has a slight sheen and a smooth surface.

With your satin skirts – think about finding a viscose or cashmere cardigan rather than a lower level more casual cotton one so that you more closely match your level of refinement.

Digg Digg

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog