“Pushing the boat out”, “where’s your imagination?”, “where’s your sense of adventure?” – all phrases we would expect from someone that doesn’t understand the meaning of comfort. I’m afraid I’m not very good on boats. My imagination spends most of its time circulating around a deep, dark well of absolute nothingness, and my sense of adventure has been banished from this life by my love of safety and a dislike of death.
This does rather paint me as a bit of a bore though doesn’t it? Life would be very dull indeed if we never did anything exciting. After all, I’m yet to meet anyone that doesn’t find a sudden rush of adrenaline really quite addictive.
When you think of it in that way, it becomes very important to remember that all humans aren’t alike. Whilst one man might find the only thing that gives him a rush is throwing himself out of a perfectly good aeroplane or punching a venomous snake in the face, another might get off on dipping his biscuit in his tea just a fraction longer than he really ought.
So whether it’s the feeling of wind blasting by your face as you plummet towards earth, running away from the snake you just punched in the face, or even pushing the very limits of how long you can dip your biscuit before catastrophic collapse and utter tea ruination, we are all very different – but we all like a bit of excitement.
Very true you say, but what has all this got to do with my clothes?
Well my friend, as much as I am an advocate for dressing down and dressing well or keeping it simple, wearing what you know and what you are confident in, there is always a risk that your style could stagnate. It can become too safe, too uninspiring.
Wearing the same clothes is all very well and good, but just as with misplacing that pesky sense of adventure; it doesn’t hurt to do something a bit different sometimes.
I’m aware that we are now well into winter, and I’m sure we’re all wishing it was summer (especially with this damned inconvenient snow), but I don’t think there is ever a good or bad time to start introducing colour into your wardrobe.
The traditional winter colour palette is especially useful if you are just beginning your quest to incorporate more colours into your already wonderfully stocked wardrobe of basics. With subdued shades of mossy green, rich burgundy, warming gold and mellow terracotta (among others) winter colours are a brilliant addition all year round. It doesn’t take much work to integrate them into your current wardrobe and they work with pretty much everything you should already own.
My one big tip would be to remember that colours will make up a tiny portion of your wardrobe in comparison to your classic staples in grey, navy, black, white and beige etc. You want colour as an accent, not a mainstay. Don’t go out thinking you need to stuff your drawers full of bright coloured clothes in order to make an impression, because you don’t.
Before we start, I have put together a simplified colour chart in order to help you visualise the type of colours and shades we are discussing today. As you can see, these are particularly dark and rich in order to mimic the current season. However, feel free to adjust in line with your confidence level and ability:
Note: Dependant on your screen resolution/settings the colours above may appear more vivid or dull than intended, but it should give you a good idea.
When I say colour doesn’t have to be bold or brash, I really mean it. Adding more colour can be as simple as wearing a slightly lighter shade of blue. Green doesn’t have to be lime, yellow doesn’t have to look like you’ve had an accident with a highlighter and red doesn’t have to make you look like Father Christmas.
Trousers are a really simple and easy way to make your outfit pop. Utilise them as a statement piece and anchor them with your other wardrobe staples, such as a navy peacoat, white/blue Oxford shirt or some nice knitwear. Let your trousers do all the talking.
During the warmer months, use the same trousers with a simple, white formal shirt, roll up the trouser hem (or get it taken up and tapered) and throw on some brogues, Derbies or loafers for some classic Mediterranean-inspired style.
Knitwear requires much the same treatment as trousers – use it as a statement piece and anchor it with the rest of the outfit.
Chunky knit cardigans look great over basic tees in white or grey, and when paired with some tailored trousers and trainers becomes a great, casual weekend look that is perfect for nipping down to the coffee shop.
If you want to try something a little different, why not tuck a brighter jumper into a pair of smart trousers and create a dividing line with a statement belt? Being different with our accessories (see section below) is a great way of subtly mixing another colour into an outfit without creating a clash or going over the top.
Once again, don’t go wild with colours – I usually find darker colours easier to mix with my existing wardrobe and the muted shades create a much softer contrast, blending everything seamlessly together.
Outerwear in autumnal shades is something you can afford to be a bit bolder with; style permitting, of course. If your looks err more towards the smarter end of the spectrum, you might find a bright coloured peacoat or a loud technical jacket a step too far, so look for something in a darker burgundy or olive. If you take your inspiration from, say, the street wear end of the market, you can go all out.
I am particularly fond of orange or yellow parkas, raincoats and jackets. If you’re going to go bold, you might as well go for it. The thing with a coat is that it is clearly a piece of outerwear, so normal clothing rules don’t apply quite so rigidly; you’ll be taking it off when you go inside and it covers up the majority of your outfit.
Just don’t wear them with other statement colours; no one wants to look like a rainbow.
As I previously mentioned, bold accessories are a fantastic way of adding an extra shot of colour and individuality with hardly any effort at all.
A chunky scarf in burnt orange, olive or purple set against a muted outfit of blue and grey looks great on anyone and shows a knowledge of fashion and confidence that others lack.
Whether you go for the obligatory coloured sock, flashy pocket square, brighter bag or statement watch, coloured accessories are essential in a man’s wardrobe. They catch the eye but don’t shout about it, they show off your knowledge without coming over too sure – they’re just an all round good investment.
We enjoy a bit of a love/hate relationship with colour. When it works, it REALLY works. It looks sharp, shows knowledge and suggests confidence. But when it goes wrong, it can REALLY go wrong.
Introducing colour to your wardrobe should be a natural progression; it shouldn’t be forced, is by no means essential and you should want to do it. You don’t need to go in all guns blazing, buying a pair of trousers that you only wear once or a coat that sits at the back of your wardrobe forever because you’re terrified of it. Take your time and be sure about everything you buy.
This is where the winter colour palette comes in – it’s not garish and it isn’t difficult to integrate. It works with what you’ve already got, it flatters everyone and it transcends the seasons. So why wouldn’t you take the plunge?
But now it’s time for you to have your say:
Let us know in the comments section…