Colour: A goth’s nightmare and the best friend of a children’s TV presenter. Like it or not, colour is all around us everywhere we go, yet all too often I see guys moping around the streets in an all-black ensemble, demonstrating their unnatural fears of integrating any sense of colour into their wardrobes. However, their fear is understandable; wearing bright and bold colours in our outfits is a tricky one. If done incorrectly we could end up looking like a walking rainbow, or even worse, a TellyTubbies reject. So how then can we wear our favourite colours without overdoing it? Well hopefully this article will show you; today I have teamed up with colour expert Paul McGregor, to give you a selection of all our best tips! Paul runs his own site and blog based around colour over at Brighterman.com.
One of the first things to remember when introducing colour into your outfit, is to be subtle. Colourful outfits for men aren’t about wearing bright colours from head to toe, but rather about integrating subtle colour elements into the already existing monochromes and neutrals. Rather than pairing bold yellows with reds and risking looking like a McDonald’s advert, keep it simple with just one main colour integrated into your neutrals, and create maximum impact with different tones and shades. So with that understood, let’s look at each item of your outfit in more detail, and how you can use them to brighten up your wardrobe!
First off, colourful tees!
Paul from Brighterman.com says:
“Adding colour to a look can easily be achieved by simply buying a colourful T Shirt. Make sure you add a neutraliser for the rest of your look (such as a navy pair of chinos, a pair of black skinny jeans etc. A neutraliser is clothing which is a neutral colour, something which will stop you from looking like a rainbow!) You can let loose on a colourful T Shirt if you put this principle into action. If your only adding colour to your look by a colourful T Shirt/Top, then go for a T Shirt with about 3 to 4 colours.”
As Paul says, and as I mentioned earlier, mixing with neutrals is essential to pull off the colourful look. Graphic Tees are a great way of expressing both colour and personality, and are a great way to make a statement on those hangover days where you are too tired or don’t have time to put together another outfit. Mix a bold, graphic tee with skinny jeans or chinos as Paul says to stay bang on trend. Sands, stones, mustards and beiges are great colours to be paired with a white graphic tee with a bold, colourful print, and are an essential for this upcoming Autumn. These add another dimension to the colour palette of your wardrobe, although they are light enough to brighten up your image, they are subtle and toned down enough to be considered as neutrals that can be paired with bolder colours.
Personally, a graphic tee is the only way I would integrate multiple colours into a tee or top. Alternatively, I would pair chinos with a solid-coloured tee (perhaps a polo or scoop consisting of one solid colour), taking inspiration from the colour palette of Spring’s pastel trend of muted, washed down tones. Pair with a neutral knit this autumn to tie the outfit together and make a subtle impact without the tee appearing too loud or out of place.
As always, here are some examples of the LookBook guys showing how this look is done at it’s best:
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“Again the same principle applies, but this time do the opposite. Make your T Shirt, jumper, coat etc the Neutraliser and add colour with your shorts or trousers. A handy tip is to seperate your wardrobe into a colourful section and a neutral section. Then you can easily implement colour into your day to day looks.”
With your bottom half, trousers in particular, it can be particularly hard to pull off a colourful item. Bright, boldly coloured skinnies have been in and out of trends over springs and summers gone by, but have raised a lot of debate and discussion as they can often look too over the top and children’s TV-esque. Create an impact (but a right one) with subtle, toned down colours in your trousers. You will find that darker colours such as plum, navy and mustard are easier to integrate into your wardrobe than any of the brighter colours, but beware, they will make you stand out in the crowd! Pair with chunky knits with intricate detail to add more dimensions to your outfit and bring attention away from the coloured trousers. Just to add, Paul’s tip on separating your wardrobe into neutrals and colours is genius and I think I might try it out myself!
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Colourful Shoes or Socks
“We need to pay attention to the little details to separate ourselves from the masses, and coloured socks can do this. Colourful socks are noticeable, and especially with the popularity of turn up jeans, socks can be that addition you’ve been crying out for. Plain black and white socks are a thing of the past and really shouldn’t be touched. My personal favourites are from the Gene Meyer range. They may seem pricey but the designs and quality are outstanding, and you wont regret it. If not there are many cheaper options out there, but I would be Happy Socks. With colourful trainers/shoes i’d personally stick with one base colour. A multicoloured pair of shoes is really not a good look. Vans do a great range of Colourful shoes and stick with this principle of one base colour. Although I love shoes/trainers, I’d much rather people be attracted to me and my clothing rather than just my shoes. People wouldn’t recognise me if all they did was stare at my feet! By going for just the one base colour as well, it also makes it easier to accessorise with and implement into your look.”
As Paul says, colourful socks are a great way to stand out in the crowd, but it is important to pull them off right! I find coloured socks make the best impact with an otherwise monochromatic outfit, and they work perfectly with casual tailoring or rolled up jeans and chinos as Paul mentioned. Make sure you pair with a neutral shoe – perhaps a brown or black loafer or deck shoe to complete the look. If the English gentleman isn’t quite your look, you can pull off the coloured footwear with a pair of vibrant high-tops. High-tops are not to everyone’s taste but if they suit your personality then pull them off with confidence to add a bold impact to your outfit, but again be careful not to overdo the colour palette in the overall look. Whatever you do though, don’t go for both the coloured sock and shoe or you may end up looking a little foolish!
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Finally, coloured accessories!
“I cant stress enough how important accessories are for men. Adding accessories is the easiest way to add your own personal touches to your outfit. Now with High Street retailers such as Topman ruling the roost, its very easy to fall into the trap and look like everybody else. I have nothing against that, but adding accessories can easily stop you from walking into someone wearing the same outfit as you… Colourful Accessories make it even easier. Colourful Men’s Accessories allow you to stand out from the masses, and not break the bank. Don’t try to add too much at the beginning, maybe start with buying a colourful watch? You don’t want to over accessorise with every look, but accessories really give you that freedom to add a personal touch to your outfit.”
Accessories are a great way to implement colour and personality into your outfit as Paul says. Slowly build up your accessories to fit different colour schemes; different shades of one colour are a great way to brighten up a monochrome outfit, or alternatively neutral accessories are a great way to tie in a colourful tee/top etc into the rest of the look. Different accessories suit different people so I can’t tell you what to buy, just experiment and see what suits your personality best! If coloured watches are your thing, check out this FashionBeans article on covering the topic: Summer Fashion Colour Watches.
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So that is the main areas of colour covered. I hope I have helped you feel more confident with implementing colour into your wardrobe, and given you the right tips to make sure you don’t over do it! I would love to hear your own personal tips and tricks, or favourite colourful looks, so let me know in the comments! Thanks again to Paul McGregor for the advice on colour that he brought to you guys. Further articles can be found by Paul over on his blog at www.Brighterman.com/blog, or a range of men’s colourful accessories can be bought on the main site www.Brighterman.com.
You can also find out more about me and my posts by following me on twitter over at www.Twitter.com/TomBloomfield!