My last article on essential colours is going to be on one of my personal favourites; red. I’m not referring to your standard blood red colouring here, I’m talking about all the wonderful shades and tones in between. In fact, most days I choose to use lighter or darker shades of red in my outfits over bold, full on red tones. Pink is a very underrated colour in the world of men’s style, whilst burgundy is proving to be this season’s colour of choice. But let’s break the colour itself down first, shall we?

The Colour Red

Red is one of the primaries on the colour wheel and can be created by any number of individual colours of light. Red often consists predominately of the longest wave-lengths of light discernible by the human eye. Once these wavelength get longer, you are moving into infared territory (beyond red) – which cannot be seen by the naked eye. Based on it’s position in the colour wheel, the colours that compliment it well are blue and green tones, whilst a great contrasting colour would be yellow. It also works very well as an accent when placed against monochromes such as grey and black.

However, as I mentioned above, there are many different shades of red you can utilise; and when it comes to using different types of red, there are a few rules that need to be remembered. If you are using a lighter shade such as pink, then it would best to pair it with darker colour combinations, like navy or olive. The same applies for a darker burgundy – try pale yellows and mint greens. This is because too many light or dark shades mixed together can have a negative effect on the eye (making them hard to distinguish), whereas a contrast often appeals from a viewers perspective.

Bearing this mind, there’s no limit to the items you can own in shades of red. You can have a variety of hues in your wardrobe from pink to burgundy, choosing to anchor or accent the colour depending on your mood, and what you pair them with.

How To Wear Red

If you are unsure of how introduce red into your wardrobe, start off small and work your way up. With the autumn approaching quickly, why not invest in some thick wool socks in a deep red? They will go great with the heavy duty boots that you have been waiting to break out (especially hiking boots) and look even better when paired with complimenting blue jeans.

Or why not introduce some pink into your work attire in the form of a dress shirt? It will go great with your grey, black and navy suits, and works well with nearly every tie colour out there.

Alternatively, you could go for a subtle hint of red in the form of a red plaid pocket square and pair it with a dark burgundy tartan wool tie. It will look perfect with a heavy duty black or navy suit in flannel.


Here’s your chance to step up your colour game by including some patterns as well. I know everyone is beginning to hate plaid shirts due to their popularity with the entire male population but why not mix it up by purchasing a plaid dress shirt instead? Stick to a darker shade of red with a bold check and strong collar and you will be able to wear it with a suit or even casually with some chinos and a cardigan. Just make sure everything else you pair it with is solid to avoid any awkward pattern clashes.

Alternatively, flip the script and put some colour on your bottom half. A pair of burgundy chinos will look fantastic with just about anything – a denim shirt, grey jumper, brown cardigan, green striped shirt, you name it. Or when the summer finally comes back around why not invest in some pink chinos? They look perfect with a navy polo shirt or a yellow striped shirt and some brown boat shoes. Maybe even buy them as shorts instead.


Don’t worry I’m not going to tell you to go all out Jagger and don a pink suit! However, a rich burgundy suit would not look out of place this coming autumn/winter. Pair it with a white shirt, black tie and let the suit do all the talking.

If that is a bit too much for you then why not go for a piece of colourful knitwear – like a red cardigan or pink jumper. Just remember to keep everything else you are wearing in a complimenting shade and you can’t go wrong.

Finally – for those who are really confident in their style – you could take a nod to one of this season’s biggest trends and invest in some red outwear. A rich red duffel coat makes a real statement. Or just stick to a cherry red Harrington for the days in between summer and autumn.