With both the spring/summer and autumn/winter collections featuring a more vibrant palette, 2011 was definitely the year that menswear began to really accept colour.
2012 is shaping up to be the year where we continue to move from the monotony of the monochrome and cement colour as an integral part of the male wardrobe.
Looking ahead to the upcoming spring/summer months, the key colour is one of familiarity. Blue, the colour in question is of course; the stereotypical boys’ colour. Bedrooms and clothing are splashed in the shade almost as soon as the baby’s sex is revealed.
The origins of this trend are hardly covert. Most major fashion houses gave blue – in one form or another – a starring spot in their SS12 collection; the lookbook below gives some prime examples from Burberry, Canali and E Tautz.
The lookbook really exhibits blue as a versatile colour, which appeals to everyone. Its ubiquitous nature means it slots into all the major fashion archetypes from preppy to military and even lends itself to suiting of both the structured and unstructured kind.
Tailoring has undergone a mini-renaissance over the last few years and the suit has regained its rightful foothold in men’s fashion.
While the navy suit is an absolute essential and timeless part of every man’s wardrobe, the blue suit has staked a claim to be your go to for the upcoming months.
By going a shade or two lighter than navy, you can more easily incorporate some pastel shirts and accessories into your look and in the process become the epitome of a real spring palette.
American GQ (www.GQ.com) recently gave potential style icon, Ewan McGregor, an all blue makeover for their January 2012 issue:
As you can see from the loobook below, a limited palette doesn’t have to stop you from looking your best; in fact, it means the very opposite.
Mixing varying hues of one colour creates a really sharp and put together look. The complimentary nature of the different shades also demonstrates to the world your ability to create a great outfit.
Never one to be pushed aside so easily, the navy suit is the perfect anchor when it comes to a ‘monoblue’ ensemble.
The darker suit allows you to go lighter with your shirt and tie. The accepted rule (this one isn’t there to be broken) is to go for a tie that is darker than your shirt but lighter than your suit for maximum effect. Similarly with socks and pocket squares opt for a lighter shade than the navy backdrop.
Checks and ginghams should also be given a shot here as the white in the pattern breaks up the blue and navy exceptionally well.
A word of warning, if wearing a blue gingham (or check) shirt with a tie: stay clear of a tie in any shade of blue – instead do as Mr McGregor has and opt for pale grey.
The grey is subtle and neutral enough not to throw off your all blue, a navy or pale blue tie on the other hand would clash with the gingham pattern.
As I mentioned earlier, blue has the versatility to work as a statement, an anchor, or the entirety of an outfit.
Utilising a blue piece as the statement piece in your look can be done in a myriad of ways, from aqua chinos to an electric blue suit or duffle.
As a statement, blue is easier than most colours to wear. It works well with most neutral tones as well as complimenting many other colours such as red and yellow; it all really depends on the shade you go for.
The lookbook above reiterates the point that making blue the statement piece in your outfit is down to the hue as well as where and how you wear it.
Take the first look for example, the blue duffle wouldn’t appear so bright and stand out if it wasn’t against an all black backdrop.
The second, third and fourth looks demonstrate how an accessory can become a statement piece rather than just an accent. The electric blue scarf in look four [bottom right] takes centre stage as it dwarfs the blazer in both size and colour; it also does a great job of bringing out the subtle blue lines in the blazer.
Look three is a great example of how using complimentary colours can really make a particular piece ‘pop’. The red in the belt and scarf, alongside the fact that a lot of skin is on show, helps bring out the bright blue bag more so than if the belt was black and the scarf was nowhere to be seen.
Making best use of a statement piece is not necessarily a matter of how unorthodox or brash the item is but what you pair it with. Sticking with the bag in look three; while yes, a blue holdall is an unusual piece, it wouldn’t create as much noise if it was integrated into a navy based ensemble.
Returning to familiar territory will come as a relief to those who were cautious (at best) at the influx of colour and the idea of colour blocking last year. The real beauty of blue however is that it offers something to everyone. It appeases those who were wary of colour while also satisfying those who crave a good statement piece.
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