How to wear colours confidently

Image source: shutterstock Dressing with colour isn’t just a young man’s game.

Dressing with colour isn’t just a young man’s game
Image source: shutterstock

Just because you’re a ‘grown-up’, you don’t have to stick with bland and boring shades. If your wardrobe is bulging with beige, take an adventurous leap! Add a pop of colour to your outfits and put a spring in your step.

The majority of mens suits are in standard blues, greys or black, and English reserve means that many men are reluctant to stand out from the crowd with a more colourful statement.

If you’re keen to revitalise your wardrobe but don’t know where to start, fear not. Here’s our guide to effortless colour coordination.

Get creative with the colour wheel

colour wheel

Colour wheel co-ordination
Image source: Ola-Ola

Some men just seem to know instinctively which colours look good together. But if that’s not you, don’t despair! Even experienced fashion blogger Cillian O’Connor admits that colour can be a tricky subject:

“It scares us. Confuses us. Gives us that dizzy feeling not unlike vertigo. This often results in the modern day man we see who prefers to stick to neutral tones like black, white and grey which, let’s be honest… is pretty boring.”

If you fit this description, get to know the colour wheel. Sir Isaac Newton’s canny invention shows the relationships between different colours, taking the guesswork out of coordinating your wardrobe!

Analogous colours

blue green analogous colours

Analogous colours done right.
Image Source: Ysbrand Cosijn

Analogous colours are the ones next to each other on the colour wheel. Wear them together and they’re easy on the eye, as they don’t clash. They’re ideal colours to look for for when you’re coordinating larger items of clothing like shirts, jackets and trousers.

But life would be boring without a little contrast, so to avoid bland outfits, try this trick:  instead of matching navy trousers with a lighter blue shirt, move to the next colour on the wheel and opt for purple. It’s less obvious, and a great pairing!

Even If your occasion demands a traditional men’s suit, the colour wheel can help you to perk up your appearance Wearing a blue suit to a wedding? Grey Fox blog’s David Evans has the solution:

“Relieve the effect with contrasting textures or with colourful accessories; bright socks, ties, pocket squares and sweaters. Alternatively, play with different shades and tones of blue, the overall effect can be striking.”

Complementary Colours

darren kennedy

Add an accent to avoid colour chaos!
Image source: Darren Kennedy

Complementary colours are opposites on the colour wheel. Because they create such a bold contrast, they can be hard to pair up. But wear them with care, and you can bring an ordinary-looking outfit to life.

The best way to wear these colours is to focus on one hue and use the other as an accent. Fashion expert Darren Kennedy explains how to introduce orange to a blue suit:

“As a guy who wants to be stylish rather than slavish, give your tailoring a little gusto with a tasteful orange tie and pocket square, which will give life to an otherwise muted suit.”

Check out Darren’s Instagram account to see more style ideas.

If you need a gentler introduction to wearing complementary colours, try adding a bold tie or pocket square, or a vivid pair of socks.

purple yellow outfit

The complementary boldness of this yellow tie sets off a strong purple jacket beautifully
Image source:

Contrasting colours

Ever worn a classic blue suit and red tie? This combination works well because blue and red are three hues apart on the colour wheel, which means they create a more subtle contrast than complementary colour pairings.

Body of man wearing a blue shirt and red tie

Contrasting reds and blues are highly popular style fellows
Image source: kurhan

But blue and red can still compete for attention. To avoid this, wear one colour in a bolder shade, and lighten the other. Pair a burgundy tie with a light blue shirt, for example, or bright red braces with a lighter blue shirt. Or, if you’re going for a casual look, team a burgundy cardigan with denim.

So if your wardrobe is bereft of bold hues, be brave!  Get creative with the colour wheel and find your favourite clothing colour combinations. We’d love to see them over on our Facebook page!

Posted in How To - Style.