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Just how much green can I add to my wardrobe? Add to ...

The question

I like green. It matches my eyes. But I can’t dress head to toe in green like some mythical knight. Which clothes are greenable and which aren’t?

The answer

Every item of clothing comes in green. There’s nothing particularly radical or daring about the colour. I can imagine every one of them looking good, except perhaps leather lace-up shoes. (Even that, you could carry off, if you ran an art gallery in Berlin or Miami.)

Germans and Austrians look deeply old-fashioned in their dark green loden coats. (Loden is a heavy wool felt; the classic Tyrolian coat style is long and loose, with a deep centre vent starting at the shoulder-blades.) Finance Minister Jim Flaherty favours green ties with almost every suit, and he looks conservative in every sense.

Olivey tweed suits used to be quite common for country-house wear. I wear a tweed sportjacket with lots of green wool in it. I wouldn’t wear a regular wool green suit, but that’s only because I have never seen a great example; that doesn’t mean one couldn’t be imagined.

I regularly pair a green check shirt with a navy suit. (Remember all the old admonitory phrases, like “blue and green should never be seen”? Well, now forget them.) A bright green belt or watch strap might be a bit garish for my taste, with dress-up clothes, but I can imagine those with white pants on a summer day.

My best advice is to really go for it: prefer bright green to drab olive. And, as with all colours, avoid uniformity. An emerald tie or pocket square is fine, but not both. A green tweed jacket is fine, but then stay clear of green pants. A green tie is not going to go well against a green shirt.

Novelist Russell Smith’s memoir, Blindsided, is available as a Kobo e-book. Have a style question? E-mail style@globeandmail.com.

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