How to wear colors (part 1/2): Coordination Rules
It’s time to regain some order when it comes to colors. The situation has gotten ridiculous, and I’m going to tell you why. And also how to bring your color skills up to this standard:
You know that more and more men are worrying about dressing in the right colors. And people often ask me during a makeover, “Ben, which colors should I wear?”.
The problem is that you hear anything and everything on the subject of colors. The majority of makeover agencies have made it the focus of their presentations, citing a whole range of related tools: seasonal analysis, drape testing, even “chromopsychology” (no, seriously)…
I’m going to make myself very clear: I think these tools are USELESS.
These men have been condemned to a life of dressing in red, yellow, green, and purple, respectively, by Saint Chromopsychology… (Bonus question: which one has come off the worst?)
Color theories : it feels like something’s missing
To start with, telling a guy who doesn’t know anything about colors to wear blue isn’t helpful, because there’s blue and there’s blue. Just as there are cheap-looking materials, there are equally thousands of really cheap-looking colors, often linked to the quality of the material (but that’s another story). And there are some beautiful shades that don’t appear on the color chart or the drapes used by makeover agencies. That’s the problem.
Advice of the “you’re more Fall than Winter, so you should dress in warmer colors, they’ll add warmth to your complexion and complement your personality” kind is hardly comprehensible to a guy for whom H&M on a Saturday afternoon is his only fashion reference.
Do you really think that Don hesitates over what to wear in the morning? (He should, however, pay more attention to the length of his tie…)
In all honestly, even I don’t really know how to interpret this kind of advice, and the method behind it, as well as becoming more and more vague, does absolutely nothing to help you get your bearings in a shop and construct your style from pieces that suit you.
The advice that I like to give is to look at as much high-end men’s clothing as possible so that you get used to picking out attractive colors (without necessarily buying anything at first). Then have a look around an H&M or an X afterwards. You’ll see where I’m coming from. It’s really important to develop an eye for colors. Going to art exhibitions and admiring a country view are also good habits to get into (even if they don’t fall strictly within the genre of this blog).
Having noticed that the best pieces of men’s clothing often come in subdued colors (not all the time, but often), Kinowear’s team and I offer a few very simple rules during our men’s makeovers.
- Base your outfit above all around contrast: the level of contrast between the items you’re wearing should be about the same as the level of contrast between your skin and your hair.
- Pick up on your natural colorings (the color of your eyes, cheeks, hair) by wearing accessories in those tones.
- Wear mainly neutral colors (blue, brown, grey, a bit of black and white).
- Don’t forget the importance of cut: I’m convinced that a guy who wore solely black and white but well-cut clothes would have more style than someone who dressed according to the four seasons color theory)…
- … or the importance of materials: understated colors require high-quality materials. It’s up to you to find them.
A laid-back approach to color.
Last thing: don’t get too worked up over colors. There’s very little risk of getting it really wrong. As I repeat tirelessly, focus your efforts on finding excellents cuts and materials, especially when it comes to your basics, which you can later team with pieces in bolder colors.
Enjoyed this post? The second-part of this post is here: How to wear colors (part 2/2): Man’s guide to contrasts
Your answer in the comments: What are the most difficult colors to use in an outfit ? Pink, yellow ? I’ve hear also heard that green was a probleme sometimes ? Is that right ?