By now we should have accepted the fact that autumn/winter is officially here, and the transformation from lightweight t-shirts and shorts to a wardrobe full of knitwear and heavyweight clothing has been completed. Here at FashionBeans, we’ve kept you up to date every step of the way, by showcasing everything you should be investing in this autumn/winter season; reporting key trends, highlighting key pieces of clothing and accessories for the colder days, and even shown you how to look good on a budget.

Today we are going to take this to the next level by covering some key colour combinations for autumn/winter 2011.

Autumn/Winter 2010

Last year we highlighted the key colour combinations for AW10 – click here to read the full report. To recap: We explained the importance of combining colour tones, along with ways to implement specific colour combinations into your looks. The key points that came out of the article in terms of implementing colour combinations were:

  • Start by keeping things simple, with a colour combination of two. When you feel more confident, you can add more colours to your look – making sure each colour compliments one another.
  • Colour combinations don’t have to be limited clothing. Accessories can be used to accent the colour combination, or to integrate a whole new colour and dimension to your outfit.
  • Make sure you focus on variation. A colour combination doesn’t have to be strictly limited to top and bottom halves – such as a jumper and trouser combination. If we wanted to achieve last years key navy and camel combination, we could layer a camel coloured scarf over a navy t-shirt or a navy blazer over a camel buttoned down shirt. If you get creative with your layering and avoid sticking with just one outfit variation, it will allow you to implement additional colour tones easily.

Looking back at last years article, we focussed on three specific colour combinations. We saw a rise of the camel and navy combination, the dark green and brown combination and the black and beige combination. In hindsight, last season was pretty dull wasn’t it! Black and beige? Dark green and brown? The weather’s sometimes depressing but it doesn’t mean we have to dress in a depressing monochromatic manner.

However, throughout this year we’ve seen a splurge of colour on the runways and in the high street windows – meaning that this season the colour combinations are much more fun to play with.

Keeping Things Simple

If you haven’t got an extrovert bone in your body, keeping things simple might be the key element that defines your personal style. Wearing a bright blue and bright red combination in the winter isn’t going to be your thing, but that is nothing to be ashamed of. We have seen a rise of the modern gentleman and a minimalist approach recently, and they can both help create classic and refined looks that will never go out of style.

Today we will be focussing on the key colours that have been highlighted already this season, and with these, create colour combinations that help bring out the best of them. Luckily, every single combination utilises neutrals such as black, grey and brown, which means you might just see a combination that even die hard monochromatic fans will enjoy incorporating into their wardrobe.

As mentioned in the article last year, popular summer colours generally become toned down versions in the winter. For example: Red becomes burgundy, bright green becomes olive/khaki green, bright blue becomes navy and yellow becomes beige/camel. Using these deeper and darker hues allows us to create colour combinations that compliment and coordinate with each other well, without having to put as much thought into neutralising multiple brash statement pieces.

Below are a couple of key combinations for this season, which keep things simple and refined.

Burgundy & Black

Burgundy has been highlighted as a key colour for this autumn/winter, and when paired with black it can be seen as a “stand out” colour. Burgundy is just a deeper shade of red, but it can still be used to make a statement when the black acts as a dark base for it to play off. Here are some photos to take inspiration from, along with an example outfit using the colour combination:

Men's Red & Burgundy Look Book

Get The Look

In this outfit I wanted to use burgundy as a statement colour, so introduced the burgundy into a section of an outfit I normally wouldn’t – the trousers. Burgundy trousers are seen as quite a statement piece, and if you were to pair them with other brighter tones it would draw attention to your trousers even more. A way to counter act this is to keep everything else toned down and mostly black, which both compliments and contrasts against the burgundy cords at the same time.

If you wanted to introduce burgundy into your current look but trousers are just ‘too much’ for you, flip the combination around and try layering a burgundy tee or shirt underneath a black blazer or leather jacket and pairing with black jeans.

  • Yves Saint Laurent Wool Rollneck Sweater
  • ASOS Slim Fit Double Breasted Suit Jacket
  • Burgundy Cord Skinny Chinos
  • Trickers Sloane Tassel Loafer Shoes
Beige & Brown

Perfect for this season, the beige and brown colour combination creates an autumnal feel. This combination first caught my eye when I spotted a shearling jacket that utilised brown for the leather and beige as an accent colour for the shearling. This is a prime example of easily implementing a colour combination into a look without much thought.

As we are utilising two very common colours that most males already posses, this combination isn’t hard to implement and can be used as a base to incorporate other colours. Both beige and brown are neutral, so will anchor the addition of another colour easily.

Mens Beige and Brown Colour Combination Look Book

Get The Look

The great thing about beige and brown is that there are so many different shades and hues. It means you can literally layer multiple items from the same colour family on top of each other and they will always coordinate, whilst producing enough variation in tone to segment each section of your outfit. In the look below we utilise beige trousers and mix dark brown and medium brown tones up top. It even allows us to utilise another form of brown – tan – for the accessories and footwear in order finish off a perfectly coordinated look.

Here we could of chosen green, yellow, purple or any other colour for the knitwear or shirt, and it still would of looked great.

  • Gant Rugger Button Down Collar Oxford Shirt
  • Suit Brown Leopold Cable Knit
  • Burberry Prorsum Donegal Wool Tweed Suit Jacket
  • Biscotti Skinny Trousers
  • Thin Tan Leather Belt
  • Paul Smith Shoes & Accessories Vintage Style Leather Brogues
Autumn/Winter Statement Colours

Here at FashionBeans we’ve already detailed the recent rise bright colours for autumn/winter; with colourful knitwear, denim, outerwear and look books featured over the last month. But when we are combining bright colours this autumn/winter, are the rules the same as spring/summer? Can we just throw on colour and brighten up not only our personal appearance, but also everywhere we go too? Are we aiming to blend in with the Christmas lights? No, and Warren summed it up perfectly in his article about too much colour.

If you want to implement statement colour this autumn/winter, put a little more thought into what you’re doing and save yourself from the “skittle effect”. We talk about it a lot but incorporating a neutralising piece is the perfect way to add a statement colour to ANY outfit. For example: If you wanted to create an outfit based on the bold combination of bright red and blue, add a neutralising colour such as grey, black or navy. A bright red t-shirt layered under a heavy blue cable knit cardigan can be neutralised by a pair of grey washed denim jeans or dark grey tweed trousers.

Below are some popular combinations that utilise a bold statement colour with a darker neutralising colour.

Orange & Grey

Orange has already been highlighted as a key colour for this season, and grey seems to bring the best out of it. Dark burnt orange creates more of a rustic feel in comparison to brighter tangerine hues – which create much more of a summer feel. Opt for a dark grey where possible, as this will create more of a contrast and allow the orange tone to really come alive.

Mens Orange and Grey Colour Combination Look Book

Get The Look

The orange jumper becomes a focal point of the look and is definitely the statement piece. The darker grey chinos compliment the jumper nicely and again allows the jumper stand out. Keeping things simple, a gingham check shirt is layered underneath the jumper.

Orange socks are added to tie the top and bottom half together, whilst also adding some unexpected flair when your trouser hems rise naturally. Read Warren’s article on fashion ergonomics for a detailed look at ways you can make every part of your outfit work for you.

  • Band of Outsiders Gingham Check Cotton Shirt
  • Paul Smith Orange Knitted Crew Neck Jumper, Paul Smith Jeans
  • Grey Skinny Chinos
  • ASOS Leather Look Holdall
  • Burlington Orange Block Colour Socks*
  • River Island Waxed Suede Desert Boots
Black & Yellow

People generally don’t like the thought of black and yellow. Maybe that stemmed from Wiz Khalifa’s song being all you heard on the radio, or maybe it was the fact that most school uniforms seemed to incorporate black and yellow. That being said, the colour combination works really well together – with a statement being made by the yellow and the black being used as a contrast.

Mens Black and Yellow Colour Combination Look Book

Get The Look

Focusing on the tone of the yellow, I’ve actually utilised a darker mustard hue for the statement jumper. Layered underneath is a contrast collar shirt, something which has been highlighted as a key trend for a while now. The black jeans and trench coat neutralise the look and create contrast, along with the black brogue boots. The socks add a brighter element, and if you’re feeling really brave, show them off by rolling up the jeans a couple of inches.

  • Vivienne Westwood Navy Stripe City Shirt, Vivienne Westwood
  • MEN Double Breasted Trench Coat
  • Paul Smith Waffle Knit Merino Wool Cardigan
  • CHEAP MONDAY Tight Overdye Black Jeans
  • Gabicci Yellow and Green G Socks
  • Ted Baker James Brogue Boots
Key Colour Picks

Here are a few current picks in the key colours of the season:

  • Marl V-neck sweater
  • Burberry London Samford Moleskin Blazer
  • ASOS Slim Fit Chinos
  • Orange Classic Vee Neck T-shirt
  • MEN Pure Cashmere Crew Neck Sweater A
  • MEN Pure Cashmere Polo Neck Sweater A
  • FRED PERRY Moss Stitch scarf
  • ASOS Cable Jumper
  • Band of Outsiders Contrast Button Cotton Shirt
  • Polo Ralph Lauren Slim Fit Cordoruy Trouser
  • The Hill-Side Selvedge Chambray Cotton Tie
  • Ben Sherman Button Through Knit
  • Field V-Neck
  • MEN Corduroy Jacket
  • Paul Smith Accessories Chocolate Hand Sewn Sheepskin Gloves
  • Ecru brushed flannel shirt
  • Stone Cord Patch Cropped Mac
  • Cheap Monday Slim Chino
  • Polo Ralph Lauren Cotton Rib SockS

So they’re you have it, some key colour combinations you may want to use for this autumn/winter season. We’ve looked at how to keep things simple – focusing on toned down colours – along with ways to add statement colours by combining brighter tones with neutralisers.

So what do you think?

  • Which is your favourite colour combination?
  • What colour combinations have you been wearing a lot this season?
  • Have you any other colour combinations that you think look great?
  • Have you integrated your bright coloured clothing from summer into this season?

Let us know in the comments below!

Paul McGregor – Brighterman