Right now we’re anything but monotone.
We’re all about developing colour in your S/S looks. Whether you’re after some needed advice on combining colours, after some popular SS11 pattern trends, or ways to work with khaki, we’ve basically covered everyone corner of the colour wheel (if that is at all possible).

Why? Because colour is a necessity when it comes to S/S. Summer is a season where you can really let loose and get creative, using colour to make your appearance bolder and allowing yourself to stand out from the masses and glare of sunshine. No one likes a guy’s style when they’re dressed in all black and whose dullness is ruining the spirit of sunshine.

Now some of you may not be as confident or brave as others, and may hold back when it comes to colour. With this in mind, FashionBeans teamed up with Charlie Matthews of ‘The Pinstripe Prince’ to put together some helpful tips for implementing colour into your looks in ways anything but expectantly.

Whether you’re brave and confident about your style or a little more reserved in a settle suave, you can still implement unexpected colours into your outfits. We’ll show you how to work subtle colours into your looks that will create a style that is anything but.

We caught up with Charlie in London on a day filled with sunshine and the obligatory pigeons.

Ways To Add Unexpected Colours

Adding unexpected colour to your look is somewhere between an aesthetic art and an optical illusion. Its aim is to draw attention to the areas that people wouldn’t normally expect to look at. This is when we need to concentrate on detailing.

A colourful t-shirt or pair of shorts is the obvious culprits to develop colour techniques. Most compliments stem from, “I love your t shirt” or, “Where did you get them shorts from?” rather than, “Nice shoelaces”. Which is a shame, because we appreciate a good shoelace.

With this in mind we casually turned to Charlie to ask for his ideas that were soon to be noted down in a biblical notepad:

“When Winter’s chill melts into the distance, the trend of texture is exchanged for the unrestrained indulging in colour. Some people assume that the hot weather calls for simplicity in the sunshine, with a plain t-shirt and shorts canvas. But for me this season brings out a playful nature, where accessorising can transform an everyday look into a kaleidoscope and electric design to the eye. I’m not saying for a second to become a terrifying walking rainbow, but more an adventure to soak up the sun into stylish spirit.”

Adding simple accessories, such as a dashing trilby hat, a colourful watch, coloured footwear or even bright belts are all ways to develop unexpected colour into your summer looks on the least clichéd canvas.

Top tip: Wearing a colourful pair of socks with a pair of brogues – instead of going sockless – opens up a whole window of individualist opportunity. Match your socks to your personality (but rarely anything else in your look) for the full effect.

  • ASOS Comanche Bracelet pack
  • Polo Ralph Lauren Striped D Ring Belt
  • LTD yellow watch
  • Paul Smith Accessories Blue Straw Hibiscus Band Trilby
  • KG by Kurt Geiger Saint
  • Monti Red and Green Crinkled Scarf
  • Gene Meyer Orange Grid Socks
  • Gabicci Blue and Red G Socks
  • balmain Linen scarf
  • Jean Shop Cotton Metal Fastening Belt
  • PS by Paul Smith Harlequin Socks
  • toy watch Unisex Time Only Plasteramic Fluo Metal Teal Watch
  • KG by Kurt Geiger Bleeker
  • Polo Ralph Lauren Striped D Ring Belt
DIY Fashion

So the basics have been covered, decorating a blank canvas with colourful accessories can produce dashes of unexpected colour to your looks, but going along with the theme of individuality this week on FashionBeans, it means we need to get creative.

“Mirroring the blue sky above, having ‘Blue-Peter’ moments with your wardrobe is no bad thing; there’s nothing more satisfying than creating something accidentally inspired by mixing around and DIY’ing accessories.

So whether it’s a tie wrapped around a trilby, interesting laces weaved and knotted into jewellery shapes, or having electric coloured socks spring out of boots or brogues, there’s always something unique that can come from the guy who experiments. In a season where shorts become the norm, adding your own quirk will make you the credible chameleon of the group.”

At first thought, you’re probably not going to be receptive to the idea of DIY when it’s lacking in Ikea flat-pack. Not many guys really like DIY (there’s too much room for error), but this can really create originality and stamp uniqueness to your style. In this exclusive video, Charlie talks you through some ideas:

Just to recap:
  1. Socks can act as that much needed accessory when looking to add colour. They really show you’ve played close attention to the details. A colourful pair of socks, paired with a pair of brogues or military boots can be a great combination. If you’re not feeling as brave, keep the socks rolled down so they’re not as noticeable to the passers by.
  2. Multi-task your laces. Weaving different colour shoelaces together or using laces as additions to belts or bracelets is an ushered effort outside of the box.
  3. A plain black trilby hat can be effortlessly decorated with a colourful skinny tie. Wrap it around and consider stitching or adding a safety pin to hold the tie. The tie may need cutting, as you don’t want overlapping to occur.
  4. If you do end up cutting the tie for the above, don’t let it go to waste! Splice two ties together by stitching the two ends. Play with different patterns and colours and you can easily create a unique tie.

This is something far from the norm, but to a lucky few is natural. Sometimes things may go wrong (sorry, will go wrong), or may not be to your personal taste once finished; but be playful with it. Accessories really add a personal touch to your style. Neither garment nor trait can then be replicated. Here are a few of Charlie’s and FashionBeans collaborations showcased on

Charlie Matthews and Lookbook Photo Shoot

Unexpected Colour & Clothing

You needn’t solely rely on the use of accessories and put faith in searching for that creative side you’ve never developed; you can add unexpected colour through clothing.

This is a little harder than the methods already mentioned and requires a bit more research. You don’t want to fall back into the trap of buying a brightly coloured t-shirt and again receiving that clichéd compliment. You want people to compliment a section of your t-shirt, for example: “I love that floral print on your sleeve”.

This requires a little more research when buying. Using accessories can create unexpected colour easily, where this requires you to tap into your tourist side using binoculars and maps to find killer pieces. Keeping up to our usual standards we’ve done the product picking for you, here are a few examples, look out for the defining feature in each piece:

  • Grey Ikat Placement T-Shirt
  • Comme des Garcons SHIRT Colour Patch Pocket T-Shirt W/Contrast Back
  • Marni Painted Jersey T-Shirt
  • This Is Not A Polo Shirt Colour Block Polo Shirt
  • one true saxon Mens Croker Royal Blue & Pink Polo T-Shirt
  • ASOS Shirt And Jersey Mix Polo Shirt
  • Fred Perry Engineered Polo
  • Humor Chest Pocket Cardigan
  • Moschino Charcoal Multi Colour Piped Blazer
  • COMME DES GARCONS S19057 White, Red & Ecru Shirt
  • COMME des GARÇONS SHIRT White Hawaiian Front Shirt
  • gucci<br /> Retro high-top trainers
  • Nike Terminator High Basic Trainers
  • b Store Navy Twill Liberty Floral Waistband Shorts
Key Look: Brogues & Socks

Some dare it, some don’t. But nevertheless, a brogue and sock combination in SS11 is going to be a very big look.

Fashion frontier, Topman, heavily featuring the rolled up trouser and sock combination in their LFW preview of AW11. We can give you the obvious heads up and say that socks are going to start playing a much bigger part in our outfits.

Socks are no longer that unwanted gift every man receives for Christmas and birthdays – in fact now they are a necessary accessory to finish our looks. The digression away from average Joe is one that Charlie knows all too well:

“I’ve never been a gladiator for sandals, and the Hawaiian shirt dad in flip flops is a stereotypical cringe-factor of mine. But to stand out from the crowd with a unique beach footprint, encouraging different shoes into the sand can create real quirk. Military boots can easily trek from the Winter grit and runway pavement into spring, adding a chunk and toughness to shorts.

But my personal print and flavour is for vintage brogues. With electric coloured socks rolled out of them, the clash of colours is an unconventional but exciting aesthetic. I might look like a postman on acid to some, but I like to think it conveys a vintage boy with a modern difference. And there’s different ladders to the sock and brogue adaptation, dependant on how bold and brassy you want to be.

They could be subtly scrunched around the ankle to tease out a ‘pinch of paprika’ flavour, and you could tame the transition with standard white or black socks. But for the rebel who denies the stereotypes, having the socks on full show like you’re on your way to a fashionable football game with a difference is the kooky vintage spirit and score. Of course there’s colours that when teamed together would cause an allergic reaction to the eye, but you’ll know when two colours go together. Or not. Again, don’t be afraid to experiment, it’s the season to surprise the senses.”

  • Pantone Socks
  • Burgundy Twist Socks
  • Polo Ralph Lauren Rib Socks
  • All Saints Maintain Shoe
  • All Saints Mix Maintain Shoe
  • Hudson Angus Brogue Boots
Sign Off

Experiment and have fun! This is a great way to begin adding personal touches to your looks and receiving compliments for your efforts as a dandy-in-training. With any DIY work, it may tenuous at times and it may frustrate you at times but persevere. Even a simple red pocket square, added to a smart/casual look is still adding unexpected colour. We’re not asking you to wrap shoelaces round your forehead and wear socks on your hands (now that would be brave).

Every man begins with a vision, a plan of how he wants to carve his life and his style. It’s without following the vision that you end up at the final destination. Have a go and see what works for you – you can tweet us your successes and your woes or ask a fashion expert for more tips and tricks @FashionBeans.

Paul McGregor & Charlie Matthews