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Here I’m talking about colors.
Color is one of the most perplexing aspects of fashion.
What color clothes should I wear, what colors are best for me, how do I combine colors, what are the best color combinations for men’s clothing, how to color coordinate men’s clothing are some of the most common inquiries I get.
After a lot of research and testing over the years, I’ve come to the opinion that constructing a wardrobe consisting of neutral hues, especially for your essentials (what you wear all the time), is a fantastic idea for pretty much every man, regardless of age, body shape, skin tone, or stylistic preferences.
In this article, I’ll explain why I prefer neutral colors and then discuss the advantages of having a mostly neutral wardrobe.
What Are Neutral Colors?
Black, white, any shade of gray, beige, cream, and possibly blue are all neutral colors.
You could be well dressed and stylish every day and ready for every event if you only kept to this simple color pallet.
But if you add a few more neutral, flexible hues like olive and lighter blue, you’re pretty much set; you could make a whole outfit out of this simple color scheme.
To tell you the truth, this is the palette I use 90% of the time.
But here’s the best part about this neutral palette: it’s easy to work with. If you prefer different colors, most of them will work nicely with this base.
If you favor burgundy or look beautiful in yellow, for example, such colors will look wonderful on top of this neutral palette and foundation.
You are not required to use other colors, but if you do, it is quite simple.
Benefits of Neutral Colors
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of wearing neutrals.
The most significant advantage is that all of your clothes complement one another.
When we go shopping, we often buy individual pieces without considering how they will fit into our wardrobe or how they will be combined with other items.
Most of us guys, I believe, would agree that having a fairly interchangeable wardrobe is ideal.
It makes putting on clothes in the morning a breeze. It simplifies the process of packing for a holiday or a business trip.
A neutral color scheme allows us a lot of flexibility.
You can nearly get dressed in the dark and look very beautiful if you keep to a certain color palette.
Take, for instance, a light gray shirt. It looks great with a variety of different colored pants or shorts.
I’m a fan of olive, navy, black, and khaki. It goes well with almost any other neutral color.
You might also use other colors, such as burnt orange, burgundy, or yellow, to complement it. It’s going to look great.
When all of your wardrobe’s crucial pieces are in the same neutral tone, it’s easier to put together a cohesive look.
You can pretty much combine everything in any combination with this palette.
The second reason I prefer a neutral color palette for your core pieces is that you can always add color, but once it’s there, you can’t take it away.
If you have a neutral clothing and want to stand out by adding a pop of color, you can do it by adding an accessory, which might be anything from a watch strap to socks to a tie. You can also add color by changing out one piece, such as your t-shirt or jacket.
If, on the other hand, your closet is brimming with bright, vivid things. You don’t have a choice but to put them on.
You’ll always appear to be very vibrant, very bold, and you’ll be noticed.
When working with a neutral palette, you have the option of blending in and being more muted, or standing out and being a little more dazzling.
You’re dressed in a navy suit with a white dress shirt, for example. You can wear a black knit tie or a gray silk tie if you want to keep things safe and conservative, such as during a job interview.
If you’re going to a wedding in the same suit and shirt and want to spice things up, add a green tie and a quirky pocket square or a funky pair of socks.
To really spice up your look, all you have to do is add a splash of color.
You may even go one step farther and wear a pale pink or light yellow shirt instead of a white shirt.
If you don’t have a neutral foundation, blue suit, or white dress shirt, you’ll have no choice but to go bright and colorful.
If all you have is a pink dress shirt, you won’t be able to wear it to conservative events like job interviews or funerals.
Personally, I enjoy having the option of blending in by keeping my outfits more basic or standing out by adding more color or bolder accessories.
You always have that option if you have a reasonably neutral outfit and stick to that neutral color palette.
That’s why, whenever a guy asks me what color suit they should choose for their first suit, I always recommend gray or navy. Don’t go for something outlandish; instead, keep it simple.
Another reason I like neutral colors is because they make controlling contrast much easier.
Here’s what I’m talking about.
I favor a low-contrast attire as a shorter man. In other words, I strive to keep the tone difference between my top and bottom halves to a minimum.
For example, if I wear a white shirt with black pants, there is a lot of contrast, which visually divides me in half.
A low contrast outfit, on the other hand, would consist of a dark blue shirt and dark grey pants. It’s very streamlined.
That isn’t to say I constantly dress in dark colors. A lot of fashion advice, particularly for shorter men, suggests that we should always wear dark hues. That isn’t the case at all. I enjoy wearing whiter colors and frequently dress in lighter hues.
Even with my whiter clothing, I make sure the contrast is modest. This is simple to do with a neutral wardrobe.
I could, for example, dress in all chinos and a light grey shirt. Light-washed pants and a white shirt will suffice. I could also dress in khaki chinos or Chino shorts with a white or light grey shirt.
I normally keep my outerwear light with these lighter color combinations, such as a tan raincoat, a light green windbreaker, or an olive filled jacket.
The reason is that neutral hues make it simple to regulate contrast, whether you’re wearing a dark or light-colored garment. If you have a good neutral foundation, you can keep the contrast minimal.
I’m not saying you have to use this color scheme in every situation.
I simply believe that those are essential pieces, and that a beginner wardrobe should have a color palette that is quite neutral.
For example, if I were starting from scratch and had no clothes, I would buy the following items first:
- navy suit
- gray wool trousers
- khaki chinos
- olive chinos
- khaki chinos shorts
- olive chino shorts
- dark blue jeans
- light blue jeans
- white dress shirt (two or three of those)
- gray casual button-up shirt
- light blue Oxford cotton button-down
- a few t-shirts in black, gray and white
- navy filled jacket or bomber
- leather jacket in either black or brown
- raincoat or Herrington
- couple pairs of sneakers, solid white and solid black, either canvas or leather
- black Oxford’s
- suede Chelsea boots
- chukka boots in gray or tan
You’d be prepared for almost any situation with these items.
However, if you want to stand out, be more unique, or enjoy a different hue, you may definitely add to this outfit. This is a fantastic base on which to develop.
For example, any of the following would look well in this wardrobe:
- pink dress shirt
- yellow Oxford cotton button-down
- burgundy bomber
- red striped t-shirt
- forest green sweater
- burnt orange knit tie
- blue suede chukka boots
In this neutral fundamental outfit, any of these would look terrific.
It’s simple to inject personality, uniqueness, and flair into this neutral clothing.
You don’t have to compromise versatility, and you don’t have to make getting dressed or packing for a trip any more difficult.
To sum up, I feel that for 80% of their wardrobe, almost any man would benefit from sticking to this neutral color palette.
This makes it simple to put together a long-lasting, diverse wardrobe that won’t go out of style anytime soon. It’ll come in handy for just about any situation.