JOSHUA GRAY, 25, Washington

His style: Gray sports simple pieces in subtly surprising shades such as lavender and burgundy. "I think outside of the box, and that's why I try to dress outside of the box," he says. "It attracts the females. They think, 'Why does this guy look different?' Which is good for me!"

His sweater: Ralph Lauren's chocolate-colored cardigan. "Blazers have been coming back really hard now for the last two or three years," he says. "I wanted to do something else, to be different. I don't see a lot of people wearing cardigans, especially people my age."

His shirt: H&M's lavender button-up. "I don't do the whole, like, 'I need to match' thing."

His pants: Burgundy Club Monaco cords. "I work in politics, where you'd never catch anyone wearing them," he says. "I'll wear them to events where everyone's in a suit."

Why it works: A sweater, shirt and cords might sound basic, but Gray livens up his ensemble with unexpected color combinations. (Keeping everything in the same purple-brown family ensures that the mix doesn't appear too unexpected.)

-- Suzanne D'Amato


Boden striped cotton cardigan, $68

at http://www.bodenusa.comand 866-206-9508.

Banana Republic cotton cardigan, $98

at Banana Republic stores and