As the nights close in and the man flu grows terminal, your wardrobe is more predictable than the weather: torrents of navy, overcast knitwear and big boots come rain or shine. The December doom is a harbinger of gloom, as men who spent the summer in pastels stow them for the tricolour of black, grey and blue. The status quo works and for that reason remains unchallenged.
It’s tempting to avoid vibrancy in winter, as if colour is your manager, sixth sherry in, at the office Christmas do. But the future can be bright. It’s just about picking shades subtler than safety orange. Let there be lights.
A Hawaiian shirt in December doesn’t please the palette. Yours needs to shift from shades that pop to their black-tinged siblings, in the outer reaches of the colour wheel. When fuschia raises eyebrows, violet is the less obnoxious way to rep florals. In fact, leaf tones should be your first pick; if trees can rock burnt orange, burgundy and forest green during the colder months, why not you?
In winter, you’ll anchor these colour pops with neutrals. So before diving into the last of the summer sales, question whether your find will work with a camel coat and black jeans. If not, don’t be swayed by that 70 per cent off tag.
Dress To Sweat
You can thank Acne Studios and Commes Des Garçons for the sweatshirt’s elevation from your gym bag to, well, everywhere. And its ubiquity buys you room to experiment with shade. If you lack the complexion (or cojones) for Acne’s bright pink option, a burgundy or military green design will pair with everything else in your wardrobe.
For those scared that blocks of colour won’t sit well with all-black everything else, a white shirt bridges the divide with a neutral breakwater at the collar and hem. Alternatively, designs and logos let you dip a toe in the colour pool. Lanvin’s cerulean flicks, or Stussy’s contrast panel logo crews, pop against dark backgrounds, without overpowering your look.
Bags Of Colour
Well selected accessories can lift your monochrome looks. Burnt orange beanies and scarves nod to trawlermen style without looking fresh off the boat and canvas rucksacks, from brands like Sandqvist, Mi-Pac or Herschel Supply Co, carry brightness as well as your laptop.
Because they’re less obtrusive, accessories can afford to be punchier. A single piece incorporating a brighter shade breaks up an outfit without going too far. Just avoid matching shades; a yellow rucksack is a ray of sunshine. Coordinate with gloves, socks, a scarf and a hat and it’s advisable people don’t stare directly at you.
Look on the bright side of global warming by embracing the sun as a sartorial ally. Ditch your wayfarers for round shades from the likes of Ray-Ban and Dries Van Noten (at least, if you’ve got the face shape for them) with coloured, reflective lenses. It’s a subtler splash than those dayglow frames you’ve had since fresher’s week.
Ch-Check It Out
If you hadn’t heard, checks are in. But before breaking out the sporran, know that we’re not talking coruscating tartan. Think red, green and even gold checks, deployed to punch up neutral backgrounds.
The checked scarf is your safest (and most obvious) route, but there are more statement moves. A checked overshirt nudges you into I-can-kill-a-bear-with-my-bare-hands territory – just pair with wool trousers to avoid the clichéd selvedge jeans and Red Wings uniform of Hackney’s creative bods. And no overgrown beards.
Feeling ballsy? Dress-down check trousers with neutral separates and a minimal leather trainer. If you’re the tailored type, a Prince of Wales check with a bold accent colour – we’d raise a hand for teal or rust – beats tweed in the not looking like a character from Downton Abbey stakes.
Best Foot Forward
Since there’s not much around it, footwear bears bright colours well. Hence all those colourful reinventions of classics from adidas Originals, Reebok and Nike, which can be worn all year round (so long as you protect them first).
White socks offer a colour divide (black makes those flouro Air Maxes seem even more blinding) and although boxfresh kicks may appeal, let the hues fade a little before coupling with a darker outfit. If you’d rather leave neon trainers on the playground, coloured panels on white shoes are a shade more adult.