Although global fashion weeks group autumn and winter collections together, significant differences set their respective seasonal pieces apart. For one, autumn has a strong transitional feel: thicker materials help beef-up lighter pastel colours, themselves remnants of summer, while muted blazers/jackets help block out the cold and tone down the overall palette.

Winter, by contrast, ditches the bright yellow, salmon and aqua hues that are appropriate for summer and autumn. Ensembles take a turn down a richer, darker path – bringing the colour scheme with it – and materials, by necessity, become more substantial to counteract the lower temperatures and harsh winds we are subject to here in the UK.

Yet even though we are now officially in the depths of winter, it’s not all doom and gloom and boring monochrome looks. In fact, quite the contrary: both designers and the high street are pushing bold jewel tones for the start of 2014.

The Winter 2013/14 Jewel Tones Trend

First things first, what counts as a ‘jewel tone’? Specifically, it indicates colours based on precious or semi-precious stones: emerald, amethyst, ruby, sapphire, tourmaline or turquoise being some of the more well-known shades:

An Example Jewel Tone Colour Palette

Colour saturation tends to be greater, often making the impact stronger. Pairing these hues with a material like velvet or silk, therefore, creates an instant statement piece.

On The Runways

A trend that was extremely prevalent across the high fashion runways, powerhouses such as Etro, Prada, Emporio Armani and Paul Smith featured everything from trousers to outerwear in striking jewel tones for AW13:

Styling Guidelines

Coloured trousers, as well as bold-hued shirts and blazers, really took off in 2013, and for 2014 the style rules are set to remain similar.

So, if you’re looking to incorporate jewel-toned pieces into your outfits this season, make sure you keep the following in mind…

1. Stick To Solid Shades

The hyper-saturated, bold nature of jewel tones creates a visual draw – but so does a pattern. As only one piece should truly pop within any ensemble, determine if you want that to be a pattern or a pair of ruby red trousers, a sapphire button-down or an amethyst waistcoat.

On the same note, this quality essentially puts jewel tones in the same stylistic category as prints. Two solid jewel tones may clash, but ask yourself if they tastefully contrast and complement each other – for instance, emerald with amethyst – or if they create an eyesore, like amethyst with ruby.

2. Anchor With Neutral Or Cool Tones

The easiest way to approach and integrate jewel tones into your look is similar to any statement piece: anchor with neutral wardrobe basics in black, grey, white or other cool tones.

For example, try pairing an amethyst blazer with a pair of grey wool trousers and a white shirt – the blazer will instantly become the focal point of your look without overpowering it.

Alternatively, as seen on several of the AW13 runways, let a striking shade such as ruby red or sapphire really shine by allowing it to pop against a solid black backdrop.

3. Be Selective With Patterns

Opting for jewel tones doesn’t mean you have to eschew patterns completely. If you look closely, on trend options such as plaid and floral often incorporate these shades.

Ideally, you want a print/pattern that doesn’t clash and blends in with any neutral or darker-coloured pieces you already own.

Take, for example, Dolce & Gabbana’s Crepe De Chine floral print blazer from their current AW13 collection, which features a turquoise background with a cabbage rose print of white, light pink and green. The light and bold hues complement each other beautifully while offering enough versatility to incorporate your wardrobe staples.

Even though this particular piece may be more aspirational, the same principle can be applied to an on trend check/floral print shirt, sport coat or bomber.

Lookbook Inspiration

tesco f&f aw13 pull & bear december 2013 etro aw13 j lindeberg aw13 el burgues aw13 etro aw13 ovadia & sons aw13 joop aw11 burberry black label ss13 matalan aw13 massimo september 2013 H&M x GQ Menswear AW13 Campaign

Material Considerations

The material selected can help intensify any jewel tone piece, adding a bit of sheen or shimmer in certain instances. It’s recommended, then, that as you select such a shade you also consider the fabric it comes in.

1. Cotton Or Denim

The most casual option, cotton adds a matte appearance to the jewel tone, subduing it slightly.

If you’re trying to avoid standing out too much, or simply want to build up your confidence with colour, opt for a simple cotton blazer, shirt or trousers. You can even take it down a notch further with denim.

Within your wardrobe, especially if you’re avoiding making a grand statement, these materials tend to be the most versatile for situations ranging from the workplace to a night out.

  • Asos Denim Shirt In Long Sleeve With Acid Overdye
  • Jigsaw Raglan Crew Neck Cotton Jumper Marigold
  • Oliver Spencer Cotton-jersey Henley T-shirt
  • John Smedley Lyndhurst Sea Island Cotton Sweater
  • Band Of Outsiders Cotton Oxford Shirt
  • Armani Jeans Tapered Leg Bright Jeans
  • Ted Baker Sampan Coloured Denim
  • Canali Washed Cotton-poplin Shirt
  • Ted Baker Dobbee Classic Cotton Chino

As the current velvet trend shows, jewel tones go hand-in-hand with its soft, luxurious sheen.

Yet, especially with ruby and sapphire being the most common colours available on the market, you need to understand that the material highlights the saturated hue, essentially creating something that’s bolder, more brilliant and attention-grabbing in the process.

With this in mind, a velvet piece may be too out-there for the office or even just going about your day on the weekend and should ideally be confined to parties, special occasions or nights out.

  • Red Eleven Velvet Jacket
  • River Island Blazer In Blue Velvet
  • Golden Goose Formal Trousercollection
  • Topman Turquoise Velvet Bow Tie
  • Topman Berry Velvet Skinny Blazer
  • Alexander Mcqueen Velvet Tuxedo Jacket
  • Alexander Mcqueen Skull Embroidered Velvet Slippers
  • Burberry London Slim-fit Velvet Blazer
  • Topman Sparks Velvet Panel Cardigan
3. Silk

Going out in jewel tone-coloured silk is like having red gloss furniture in your home: its eye-popping nature makes just about everyone do a double-take. And, in both instances, the item creates a strong visual impression.

Shiny, flowing fabric combined with a bright, bold hue results in the quintessential ‘look at me’ garment, so consider how much attention you want to get, where you’ll be wearing it and how you will anchor it.

On the flip side, a jewel tone accessory – such as a silk scarf, pocket square or tie – can be just what you need to help inject a touch of individuality and life into your formal wear.

  • Faconnable Cotton Silk And Cashmere-blend Sweater
  • John Smedley Orton Cashmere And Silk-blend Sweater
  • He By Mango Silk Cotton-blend Sweater
  • Topman Saffron Silk 6cm Tie
  • Turnbull & Asser Contrast-edge Silk Pocket Square
  • Canali Double-sided Silk Tie
  • Alexander Mcqueen Skull Print Scarf
  • Etro Paisley Silk And Modal-blend Scarf
  • Gucci Horsebit Print Classic Silk Tie 183058
Final Word

Over the past three years, menswear has broken out of the blue-black-white trio that safely dominated most of the 1990s and 2000s.

Colours, patterns and even material experimentation have expanded our styling possibilities and, for the moment, a bold hue doesn’t look to be a novelty choice, but one that will last at least a few years.

As the colour options widen and change with each season, adapting what you have to suit winter’s colder climate and dour character is a natural style evolution.

But now we want to hear your view:

  • Are you a fan of jewel tones?
  • Which is your favourite shade?
  • Do you like to incorporate vivid colour into your winter ensembles?
  • Or should all bold colours/prints be confined to the spring/summer months?

Let us know in the comments section…