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  1. #1

    Fashionisto
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    Men's Bright Formal Shirts

    After many years of wearing white/grey/light blue formal shirts I am now getting into bright colours such as purple/red/orange. Some people say that it is good for men to experiment with different colours whilst others say that bright coloured shirts look tacky. What do you think?

  2. #2

    Fashionisto
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    I have some bright colours for the summer but I tend to stick to white and grey as it is so easy to put a tie with these shirts.

  3. #3
    Sam

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    The thing is there's very little that's "formal" about them - some men would be lucky not to get fired if they turned up to work in one. That's not to say that colour can't work - I have a pale yellow shirt that is both really cool, and the pinnacle of discretion, and a friend can swing a very bold blue in the context of a smart casual look. Discretion, though, is the better part of formality.

    To wear them as part of a casual ensemble though, would be a winner in my book. The smart casual look of my friends simply involves a solid blue shirt, a pair of chinos, some brogues and a nice jacket (more or less whatever jacket you like).

    You're also right that wearing a tie can be a challenge, but as long as you remember that you should keep your tie a darker shade than your shirt, to match the width of your tie to the size of your collar, the rules of wearing patterns, and that a black tie is rarely a good choice, then you should be alright. That's all theory though - some things, like, say, a pink shirt and red tartan tie (don't really know where I came up with that from) simply might not look great, even if you follow all the rules.

  4. #4
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    Jay

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    You're spot on there Sam on almost every regard. Bright, bold shirts are rarely formal. I'm lucky in that I can be quite creative with what I wear to work as long as there's a suit and shoes involved. I have a beautiful shirt in the Paul Smith stripe (amongst many others - at 40 or so shirts for work I think I need help) that I wear occasionally, but I would hardly call it casual (and I would never attempt to wear a tie with it).

    Mostly thought I wear white and pastels (very pale pastels and usually blue). I will go for a light, fine check/gingham or a simple stripe (as long as its not too garish). And I always to tend to stick with single colours for ties. There's nothing more classic than a navy suit, white shirt and navy tie (or red tie for the presidential look).

    Oh, and matching tie width a lapel width is absolutely a must. All my ties and suits are on the narrower side. Being shorter, it creates a longer, more elegant line and an illusion of height (Napoleon complex, moi?)

    I disagree with the black tie though. A mid-grey suit, white shirt and black tie is a stone cold classic look (white cotton pocket square with a square fold).

  5. #5
    Sam

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay View Post
    I disagree with the black tie though. A mid-grey suit, white shirt and black tie is a stone cold classic look (white cotton pocket square with a square fold).
    It is definitely a good look. When I said I'm not fond of black ties, I meant more black tie with coloured shirts - I always find it strangely jarring, know what I mean? But I think you're absolutely right, a black tie is a good thing to have!

  6. #6
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    Jay

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam View Post
    It is definitely a good look. When I said I'm not fond of black ties, I meant more black tie with coloured shirts - I always find it strangely jarring, know what I mean? But I think you're absolutely right, a black tie is a good thing to have!
    Oh I agree with you there. A Black tie only really works with a plain white shirt. I'd only wear it with a grey suit too (unless I was at a funeral).

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam View Post
    The thing is there's very little that's "formal" about them - some men would be lucky not to get fired if they turned up to work in one. That's not to say that colour can't work - I have a pale yellow shirt that is both really cool, and the pinnacle of discretion, and a friend can swing a very bold blue in the context of a smart casual look. Discretion, though, is the better part of formality.

    To wear them as part of a casual ensemble though, would be a winner in my book. The smart casual look of my friends simply involves a solid blue shirt, a pair of chinos, some brogues and a nice jacket (more or less whatever jacket you like).

    You're also right that wearing a tie can be a challenge, but as long as you remember that you should keep your tie a darker shade than your shirt, to match the width of your tie to the size of your collar, the rules of wearing patterns, and that a black tie is rarely a good choice, then you should be alright. That's all theory though - some things, like, say, a pink shirt and red tartan tie (don't really know where I came up with that from) simply might not look great, even if you follow all the rules.
    I have certainly not been fired for wearing my bright coloured shirts to the office and the majority of people say they like them. I think if you can add some colour and still look smart it can only be a good thing.
    I think there is a difference between wearing a colourful shirt of one colour and wearing one with green,yellow and orange spots!

  8. #8
    Sam

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    Sounds like a fairly relaxed office, although It's certainly conceivable of course. Then again, perhaps our definitions of bright colour differ. I do think that a colourful shirt is skirting the line a bit, but if you can get away with it then absolute fair play to you! Do you wear a suit to work? And if so what colour?
    I do agree, again, that they look pretty good if well executed, but once again wearing a tie is exceedingly tricky.
    And a brightly spotted shirt? That's just silly haha

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam View Post
    Sounds like a fairly relaxed office, although It's certainly conceivable of course. Then again, perhaps our definitions of bright colour differ. I do think that a colourful shirt is skirting the line a bit, but if you can get away with it then absolute fair play to you! Do you wear a suit to work? And if so what colour?
    I do agree, again, that they look pretty good if well executed, but once again wearing a tie is exceedingly tricky.
    And a brightly spotted shirt? That's just silly haha
    That was the point I was making - I don't think a spotty shirt looks formal but a shirt of just one colour, even if bright can still look formal enough.

    I have grey and black suits.

    I wear silver or black ties.

  10. #10
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    Jay

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    Bright shirts aren't formal though. Try working in a formal environment like banking, accountancy and law and wearing one. I'm not criticising. because I occasionally wear brighter shirts for work too as well. Although I work in a professional environment it's not an overly formal one. If I'm dressing to impress clients then I tone down the shirts, but if I want to be more casual I wear a little colour and no tie.

    I think the difference is in what we are calling formal.
    Last edited by Jay; 20-10-2011 at 08:16 PM.

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