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Are khakis and a tie a no-no? Add to ...

The question: Recently, a colleague of mine took issue with my outfit. I had on khakis and a black blazer over a striped shirt and solid tie. My colleague told me that a tie was too dressy for such an outfit. He said lose the tie or wear finer trousers. Are khakis and a tie a no-no?

The answer: Khaki or beige trousers, a blazer and a tie are a classic preppy combination and will be seen very shortly at convocation ceremonies across the upper-crust schools of the country, both on boys and dads.

Even khaki suits are seen among financiers in the summer months - so why would the colour itself be considered déclassé? Be aware, though, that just because something is correct doesn't mean it's sexy.

You should also be warned that the usual colour combo is khaki and navy for good reason: The contrast between black and beige is harsh. You need to soften the tones. (In deepest New England, the favourite shirt for this outfit will be pink.) If you want to be a little more in current fashion, though, wear a navy blazer with white trousers. And a tie, sure, why not?

Russell Smith's latest novel, Girl Crazy , was recently published. Have a fashion question? E-mail style@globeandmail.com.

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