Color Coordination Tip: Keep Your Distance

Summertime is all about color. Looking light and bright not only matches the sunny days of the season, but you’re missing out on the opportunity to have a lot of fun getting dressed if you don’t have an understanding of how to handle colors.

This is a common issue for men. If you’ve ever looked through a magazine or seen a well-dressed guy on the street and thought to yourself, “Man, that dude looks great, but I could never pull that off,” then you fall into this category. Thankfully, there are some baby steps that you can take to dip your toe into mastery of color.  The easiest one is distance, by which we mean how far apart these colors are from each other when separated by some basics:

Man in custom sport coat, with bright pocket square

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, we took a couple of them of Mike on a Saturday. The first thing to note is that the two main pieces of the outfit are not loud and colorful; the jacket is a solid light grey and the jeans are dark and worn in. The point here is that anchoring your outfit with simplicity is the best way to start experimenting with color.

With jacket and jeans looking simple, the other elements of the outfit –shirt, socks, pocket square- have a stage on which they can shine. The shirt provides the dominant color of the outfit; it covers the most physical ground and is a bold pink stripe, which sets the tone for everything else.

That’s just fine and dandy, but note that neither the pocket square nor the socks contain any pink. So how does this work? The bold colors and patterns are separated by the basics of the outfit. The distance between each element allows them to stand on their own while remaining part of a whole.

Had Mike decided to put all these colors literally on top of each other (which, for the record, are pink, white, yellow, blue, red, and green), he would have ended up looking more like a badly decorated Easter egg than anything else. Putting distance between the bold colors allowed him to stretch their limits and wear them to greater effect. Using this method, you too will be able to pull off what you’ve seen so many other guys do.

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