Bright colours are much-maligned and under-represented in men’s fashion. All too often, class and style equals sobriety and seriousness; a calm, muted palette with little risk. These sorts of shades carry an implication that I am a serious gent and I am to be taken seriously.
There is of course always a danger that this can err into boring, and the fun of colour can often fall off the map entirely. But it needn’t be so. Bold, bright colours, when used in the right way, can be immensely powerful, and you can project your personal style successfully whilst still feeling like you are dressed for the occasion.
Accessories can be your key to this, used to provide a splash of interest and a bit of imagination. Remember the whole idea is for the accessories to be noticed - they are not a background element, the colour should really “pop” in the outfit. Pocket squares for example are woefully underused. This is a place on your outfit that can be used with abandon, a place for a bright splash of colour, or for a robust print. You want to be looking at two or three shades per outfit - colourful, but a couple of steps short of a children’s entertainer.
A word about the colour wheel. You are not of course painting a Renaissance masterpiece here, but taking note of what colours complement each other can help even the boldest combinations feel natural. Think about contrasts, avoid clashes, and make your brave choices cleverly.
Think about skin tone - if you have pale skin, unfortunately bright and vibrant colours can be guilty of washing you out, draining you of colour. Best to use a light hand here. If you have darker skin, you can afford to be bolder and more courageous with your colour choices. And it’s true what your grandmother said about eyes, choosing a matching shade really can bring them out, make you look at home in your outfit.
Using these principles, you could try matching sky blue against orange, or a pale green with a deep red. Try two shades of the same basic colour - one more bold and bright, the other more towards a muted pastel shade. Even if you find it irresistible, our advice would be to avoid matching sets. They run the risk of feeling too forced and too neat, as if you’re dressed for the first day of school. Rather we think you should be looking for them to work off each other, and for them to do equal work in rounding off your outfit.
Classics are of course classics for a reason, but don’t let the brighter shades go unexplored. Use our cravats and our pocket squares to enhance your more sober outfits, and don’t be afraid to stand out a little.