Warmer weather means two things for your wardrobe: 1) it’s time to switch to clothes that make you feel cooler (easy), and 2) it’s time to start passing on the black and navy in favour of brighter colours (less so).
There’s a reason most men avoid vivid colours like the plague. And it’s because they don’t want to look like a rainbow just threw up on them. If bread-and-butter hues like black, grey and navy are ‘safe’, then bolder ones like yellow and red are simply asking for trouble.
So to help you navigate the pitfalls of expanding your palette, we’ve tapped the expert knowledge of the men who dress well for a living. This is your key to colour:
Once considered as masculine as Bear Grylls on steroids, pink only gained its feminine status in the early 20th century. Since then it’s been championed by the likes of Barbie, Paris Hilton and Becky in HR who loves her glittery feather pen.
Now’s the time, however, to rediscover pink’s not so feminine charms. Branded resolutely male in the 19th century due to its punchiness, pink deserves a place in the modern man’s wardrobe too. First things first, we’re not talking the bubblegum shade of pink that covered your 12-year-old sister’s bedroom walls. But pink’s subtler faces instead: colours like peach, rose and salmon.
“For casual attire, look for earthier, more washed out pinks, rather than vibrant pinks,” says menswear creative Nas Abraham. “Then combine them with olive tones, warm bronzes and browns, and [try wearing with] pale wash jeans or denim jackets to ground them.”
One of pink’s best assets is its versatility. A pink fine-gauge jumper or shirt will pair easily with black or blue jeans, sand or navy shorts and even green chinos. Though you’ll want to swerve styling it with bright white where possible – unless, that is, you’re intentionally taking your style cue from TOWIE stars.
As with any brighter hue, it’s worth taking stock of your skin tone before taking the plunge. Guys with a darker complexion can pull off most shades of pink, but those with fairer skin should opt for darker variants to sidestep the washout effect.
- Allsaints Varberg Bomber Jacket
- Sisley Slim Fit Blazer In Pink
- Asos Sweatshirt In Pink
- Our Legacy Slim-fit Linen And Cotton-blend Shirt
- He By Mango Regular-fit Linen Shirt
- Nonnative Dweller Slim-fit Cotton-blend Jersey T-shirt
- Topman Light Pink Short Length Chino Shorts
- River Island Pink Denim Skinny Shorts
- Reiss Frankey Linen Melange Tie Soft Pink
Green might just be the new black. Not only does this colour sit well with most others, from navy to yellow – making it nearly as versatile as a neutral – green also reads less obviously gendered than other bright colours. So, unlike pink, you can pile it on without fear of prompting digs from your mates.
New to green? Kick off with an olive drab military shade. A field jacket or pocketed overshirt in this colour is a no-brainer: they’re both trending this season and, truth told, won’t ever really fall out of fashion thanks to their army ties. What’s more, they’re well worth the money. Throw either over a white T-shirt and pale, distressed jeans in summer and switch for a black jumper and black denim combo once the temperatures dip.
“I’m currently obsessed with building a wardrobe around greens and neutral colours as they feel effortless worn together,” says Billy Rainford, stylist at Harvey Nichols. “[But make sure] that you have other tones in your wardrobe to break down your outfit.” Stock up on light neutrals, deep reds and blues to make green go the extra mile.
- Asos Skinny Blazer In Cotton
- Paul Smith Jeans Polo Shirt With Zebra Logo Regular Fit Long Sleeves
- Ymc Sweatshirt With In Green
- River Island Khaki Green Zip Sleeve Bomber Jacket
- Rag & Bone Cotton-canvas Field Jacket
- He By Mango Garment-dyed T-shirt
- Carhartt Wesley Shirt Leaf
- Topman Green Stretch Slim Chinos
- Topman Khaki Chino Shorts
For most men, the very idea of wearing yellow prompts a feeling that’s anything but mellow. But while there’s no denying yellow is tricky to ace, it’s far too powerful a hue to write off entirely.
As with pink, yellow works best toned-down. (Unless it covers just a couple of square inches in total, in which case you can even try canary.) Think less hi-vis vest, more muted mustard. Shout-out here to Oliver Cheshire, the model and London Collections Men ambassador who – in a honey-coloured suede jacket – single-handedly put yellow back on the agenda at the SS16 shows last June. (Granted he’s a model, but it’s the styling – anchoring the attention-grabbing yellow with subtler pieces – that’s the secret to Cheshire’s success here.)
But if you’re not planning on sitting FROW at fashion week anytime soon, there are less bank-busting ways to make your wardrobe shine. ASOS stylist Dennis Glanz recommends putting a relaxed, streetwear-inspired spin on the hue this season: “Adding some yellow to your wardrobe is a fantastic idea for SS16; streetwear brands like HUF and Champion have some great hoodies and T-shirts for an unfussy way to wear [yellow].” Not to mention Vetements’ infamous DHL tee – a snip at just £185 pounds. (We jest.)
Word of warning though: “You definitely need a tan before you start wearing yellow,” says Glanz. Time to break out the St Tropez, fellas.
- Rains Yellow Jacket
- Abercrombie & Fitch Polo Shirt Core In Slim Muscle Fit In Yellow
- Farah Oxford Shirt In Slim Fit
- F&f Zip-through Hoodie
- Folk Slub Cotton-jersey T-shirt
- Folk Loopback Cotton-jersey Sweatshirt
- He By Mango Slim-fit Cotton Chinos
- Polo Ralph Lauren Cotton Oxford Shorts
- Falke Tiago Stretch-cotton Socks
According to colour theory, red is associated with energy, power and strength. Which is reason enough to put it front and centre in your wardrobe. But it’s also a smart choice for punching up your bold colours quotient if yellow is too far out of your comfort zone.
Crimson and ruby are the key shades we’re seeing for SS16, with labels E. Tautz and Versace fuelling the fire. Thankfully, deeper tones like these are near-universally flattering; they’ll sit well against both dark and fair complexions, so you needn’t worry about blending in with your sweatshirt when you make a serious social blunder.
“Red is a sophisticated choice and has been serving men well for generations, think James Dean’s red Harrington jacket in Rebel Without a Cause for styling cues this season,” says Alex Field, Head of Menswear Design at Reiss.
Steer classic when wearing red. Make like Hollywood’s original teenager and try a lightweight red jacket worn with slim light wash jeans and a simple white crew neck T-shirt. Or switch things up by pairing a T-shirt in dark shade of red with a pair of classic beige chinos or tailored shorts.
We’d suggest you call it quits, however, at red trousers. While red denim, sweats and tailored shorts can look fire, there’s a whole Twitter account dedicated to the Made in Chelsea-tinged ugliness of red trousers. (Not so) jolly.
- Farah Poplin Shirt In Slim Fit
- New Look Harrington Jacket In Burgundy
- Club Monaco Williams Cotton-jersey T-shirt
- A.p.c. Charles Crew Knit Red
- Uniqlo Men Extra Fine Merino V Neck Cardigan
- M&s Collection Pure Cotton Tailored Fit 2 Button Jacket
- He By Mango Cotton-twill Trousers
- He By Mango Linen-cotton Blend Bermuda Short
- Asos Knitted Tie In Burgundy
That purple is one of the most overlooked colours in menswear isn’t entirely surprising, especially given its connotations of Disney villains, fortune tellers and 1990s Goths. But then, there’s also Prince.
Follow in the late trendsetter’s footsteps, not by donning full glam rock military regalia, but by trying your hand at purple this summer. If nothing else, you’ll score big on originality points.
“Purple’s versatility depends on its vibrancy,” says Abraham. “My preference is towards a more burgundy or maroon shade, which will go with a wider variety of things than lighter shades of purple.” It stands to reason that with a colour as loud as purple, you might need to dial the volume down, so heed Abraham’s advice and opt for subtler tones.
The key factor in pulling purple off is stripping everything else right back. The hue is notoriously resistant to playing nice with other colours, so make it your showpiece – a pair of swim shorts, a shirt, a blazer or a bomber jacket, for example – and keep the supporting items pared-back in shades of black, grey, beige or blue.
- Topman Blackberry Slim Fit T-shirt
- River Island Light Purple Short Sleeve Oxford Shirt
- Globe Dana 16.5 Inch Swim Shorts
- Uniqlo Men Extra Fine Merino Crew Neck Sweater
- J. Crew Italian Cashmere V-neck Sweater
- J. Crew Slim Broken-in T-shirt
- He By Mango Slim-fit Textured Cotton Shirt
- River Island Purple Slim Chino Shorts
- Ted Baker Coloured Elasticated Belt
Are you ready to take your wardrobe technicolour or will you be sticking to safer shades?
Have your say – without getting too colourful – below.