Introduction

With spring upon us and more warm weather (hopefully) on its way, it really is time for all of us to be considering our spring/summer wardrobes – although my Mum says that nothing is certain until the end of April, so maybe keep out a jumper or two.

As we should all know by now, colour is big. Its rise to menswear prominence last year was rapid and after countless decades of reserved and basic colours considered the norm, males the world over have fully embraced the entire clothing rainbow. Even if you aren’t all that eager to take part or weren’t entirely bothered by the odd colourful sock, you can hardly avoid it.

So now, after a couple of seasons development, colour is a well and truly established feature of menswear and the everyday man’s wardrobe – but it still isn’t something everyone is entirely comfortable with. For quite a few men, colour was and still is a step too far. However, colour has many shades and there is in fact, something for everyone.

The Pastel Colours Trend

Pastel colours are on the way up and I don’t think anyone can argue that they won’t be big; creeping down the catwalk and sauntering into spring/summer 2012 collections, they are everywhere this season. You will find it especially hard to argue when you see that even AllSaints – a brand that has built its image on a very limited and reserved colour palette – is getting involved. They’re even producing things in pink!

But Why Wear Pastels?
  • If colour is still something of a no go area, the softer shades of pastels will be the perfect way to ease yourself in. It’s a very simple process to take a bolder pastel shade and anchor it with other items so that they are more of an accent, rather than a statement.
  • The softer tones arguably make them more versatile. They are much easier to work into outfits where colour is the priority, reducing the risk of embarrassing colour clashes whilst also complimenting more reserved timeless staples. I’m sure we’ve all tried to pair something that is supposedly versatile but doesn’t work with a particular colour – pastels are the answer.
  • Pastels are more classic and timeless. Whilst a bold orange might be in for a season or two, its more subtle pastel counterpart will remain on trend for a great deal longer. The softer colours will also mean they suit more people and individual skin types; bold colours can swamp but pastels are more forgiving.
  • Despite their more relaxed nature, pastels can still be used to make a statement. They can stand out from a neutral base or become the primary the focal point with a bright blazer or colourful trouser. You might also consider items that have a pattern constructed in pastel hues; with a more subtle infusion of colour the process becomes even easier.
Subtle Pastels

As previously mentioned, pastels make for a great introduction to colour; the softer tones make them easier to play down and they suit a much wider scope of people. Adding subtle pastels can range from a bright pair of socks that is flashed with the roll of a trouser hem to a tie complementing a crisp white shirt. Even the shirt itself would work in this colour palette but it could just as well be a loose tee with a pair of stone tailored shorts for those long, hot summer days or a lightweight knit, perfect for the cooler evenings.

Even though we are adding colour in a subtle way, confidence is still going to be the key to success. You must be comfortable in what you wear, if you aren’t it will show in the way your carry yourself and in the way you stand – more than you might think. If you want to start introducing colour to your wardrobe, you should only go as far as you feel you want to go.

Subtle Pastels Lookbook

Men's Subtle Pastel Colours Lookbook

Look 1

With a pastel colour shirt, such as this lilac short sleeved example, you want to anchor the bolder tones with the reserved shades we are all familiar with.

A short sleeve shirt is definitely one to make a statement all on its own, but in a more restrained pastel lilac and surrounded by greys and oatmeal, the effect is reduced – hinting at colour rather than forcing it.

  • Topman Lilac Short Sleeve OxfordTopman Lilac Short Sleeve Oxford
  • Gucci V-neck Wool SweaterGucci V-neck Wool Sweater
  • River Island Slim Suit TrousersRiver Island Slim Suit Trousers
  • B Store New Mario Leather Derby ShoesB Store New Mario Leather Derby Shoes
Look 2

We often tell you just how important accessories are to your outfit here at FashionBeans and they are a great way of introducing pastel colours into you wardrobe.

With accessories your aim is to add a flash of colour; exposing a brighter sock when your suit trouser hem rises naturally as you sit or utilising a pastel tie with your typically dull, monochromatic work attire.

In terms of casual wear, roll up your jeans/chinos so that you show a just a touch of colour, pair a patterned tie with a crisp white shirt or simply stuff a pastel pink pocket square into your go to navy blazer.

  • Allsaints Bruges ShirtAllsaints Bruges Shirt
  • Allsaints Ballast JacketAllsaints Ballast Jacket
  • Alexander Olch Slim Checked Cotton TieAlexander Olch Slim Checked Cotton Tie
  • Nudie Jeans Thin Finn Dry Ecru Embo Skinny JeansNudie Jeans Thin Finn Dry Ecru Embo Skinny Jeans
  • Polo Ralph Lauren Rib SocksPolo Ralph Lauren Rib Socks
  • Grenson Burgandy Grain Leather Longwing Sid BroguesGrenson Burgandy Grain Leather Longwing Sid Brogues
Bold Pastels

For those wishing to make more of a statement or who feel a bit braver when it comes to colour, going bold won’t do any harm. Wearing a pastel blazer with some chinos and a club tie is a great way to channel your inner Preppy, whilst some daringly coloured trousers might just offer the colour notoriety you were looking for. I believe pastel colours will always be more timeless and transitional than their more vivid and in your face counter parts, so they are definitely worth investing in.

Once again, confidence is the key, you might be well versed at working subtle shots of colour into your outfits but working an item into your look that represents a large proportion of an outfit is a whole new ball game. You have to want to wear the clothes, not hide behind them.

Bold Pastels Lookbook

Men's Statement Pastel Colours Lookbook

Look 1

Pairing a subtle pastel coloured blazer with your staple white shirt and stone/khaki chinos is a great way to hit this trend. The blazer is certainly a statement piece in its own right, but it is not in your face or garish in the slightest. This is an item that would work just as well with your suit separates as it would with casual chinos or denim.

  • Topman Apple Green Oxford Skinny Suit JacketTopman Apple Green Oxford Skinny Suit Jacket
  • Topman White Smart Long Sleeve ShirtTopman White Smart Long Sleeve Shirt
  • Allsaints Mitre ChinoAllsaints Mitre Chino
  • Ymc Brick Sole Penny LoafersYmc Brick Sole Penny Loafers
Look 2

Trousers are a great way to mix some new colours into your wardrobe and there are plenty available. If you are struggling to think of footwear, stick to clean white trainers, the Jack Purcell’s shown below are the perfect mix of smart/casual and will work with any colour trouser you care to think of.

In this instance, as shown in the lookbook above, your neutral staples are the perfect partner. Keep your top half simple with a black or white shirt/polo, and really allow the trousers to shine.

If you’re struggling with what other colours to pair with them, stick to basic complimentary or tonal hues – I’m all for colour clashing but if it goes wrong, it really goes wrong.

  • Alexander Mcqueen Short-sleeved Chambray ShirtAlexander Mcqueen Short-sleeved Chambray Shirt
  • Polo Ralph Lauren Preppy Slim Fit ChinosPolo Ralph Lauren Preppy Slim Fit Chinos
  • Converse Jack Purcel LeatherConverse Jack Purcel Leather
  • Black Smoke Lens Clubmaster SunglassesBlack Smoke Lens Clubmaster Sunglasses
Pastel Picks
  • Farah Vintage Short-sleeve Chambray ShirtFarah Vintage Short-sleeve Chambray Shirt
  • Reiss Deck Short Sleeved ShirtReiss Deck Short Sleeved Shirt
  • Allsaints Brittany Short Sleeved ShirtAllsaints Brittany Short Sleeved Shirt
  • Allsaints Tonic S/s Scoop T-shirtAllsaints Tonic S/s Scoop T-shirt
  • Reiss Paloma Long Sleeved Polo ShirtReiss Paloma Long Sleeved Polo Shirt
  • American Apparel Fine Jersey Short Sleeve T-shirtAmerican Apparel Fine Jersey Short Sleeve T-shirt
  • Monkee Genes Slim ChinosMonkee Genes Slim Chinos
  • Asos Skinny Canvas ChinoAsos Skinny Canvas Chino
  • Maison Martin Margiela Striped Cotton-chambray TrousersMaison Martin Margiela Striped Cotton-chambray Trousers
  • Richard James Slim-fit Linen BlazerRichard James Slim-fit Linen Blazer
  • Topman Peach Oxford Skinny BlazerTopman Peach Oxford Skinny Blazer
  • Topman Lilac Oxford Skinny BlazerTopman Lilac Oxford Skinny Blazer
  • Topman Orange Washed Raglan SweaterTopman Orange Washed Raglan Sweater
  • American Apparel Dovs HoodyAmerican Apparel Dovs Hoody
  • Polo Ralph Lauren Slim Fit Pima Cotton V Neck JumperPolo Ralph Lauren Slim Fit Pima Cotton V Neck Jumper
  • Falke Absinth Green Tiago Fine Cotton SocksFalke Absinth Green Tiago Fine Cotton Socks
  • Reiss Yacht Pocket SqaureReiss Yacht Pocket Sqaure
  • Richard James Classic Striped Cotton And Linen-blend TieRichard James Classic Striped Cotton And Linen-blend Tie
Final Word

Pastels are a great way to introduce some colour into your wardrobe this season. Their softer tones will make them much easier to pair with the other items you already own and they will be a much safer choice when trying to put together looks. Whether you go for bold statements or subtle suggestions, this increasingly popular palette definitely deserves a place in your wardrobe.

Now it’s time for your say:

  • Are you already a fan of pastels? If so, how do you wear them?
  • Do you have a particular favourite? Which do you think are the most versatile?
  • Are you a man that avoids colour?
  • Do you think pastels might encourage you to try some?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and I’ll be back next week.

Will