Clothing colors can set you apart, in a good way – The Free Weekly


Q I recently noticed how handsome my boss looks in some shirts and I think that’s exactly what you mean when you write about choosing clothes based on coloring. He wears green checkered, graph paper patterned shirts and they seem to work well with his light brown hair and pale complexion. This made me wonder what colors/patterns I should choose, given my Mediterranean coloring (brown eyes and hair, dark skin tone). My workplace is casual, so I’m thinking shirts, polo shirts, pants, and maybe sweaters.

A. I’m glad you realize people notice when someone uses color to their advantage. Of all the elements at your disposal, nothing has as much impact, with so little expense, as choosing colors that flatter your own coloring.

The world is pretty much split between light colored people who can choose to wear almost any color and will look great, and darker colored people (of us) who have to be more careful and choose carefully the right colors to wear. Before you go to a clothing store or online shopping site, make sure you know what colors will look good on you.

In the past, when it came to business suits, the three colors considered acceptable by the business world were gray, blue, and occasionally tan. Well-dressed men chose blue and gray in the medium to dark range, and brown suits were limited to light tan. But in today’s business world, as your question confirms, fewer men wear suits. Instead, their work environment wardrobes are largely based on shirts and sweaters that go well with khaki pants.

Beyond the costumes to buy, your color range expands dramatically. Here are some basic rules about skin tone and how to narrow down your choices to colors that bring out the best in you. Then you will know what shirts and accessories to wear to boost a man’s appearance.

If you have dark hair, dark eyes and yellowish, olive, black or brown coloring. Most grays aren’t flattering near your face. Most brunettes don’t either. Grays and browns are likely to have a “draining” effect, actually detracting from your natural beauty. You can wear dress pants or casual pants in any color as they don’t sit close to your face and can be “sparkled” with tops in so many light, bright, flattering colors.

The most widely accepted male color is blue. Of course, while you can’t build your entire wardrobe on blue, you can emphasize it. Your clothes should be varied in light and dark, in pattern and in fabric. Patterns can range from solids to subtle and less subtle patterns in light to dark tones. Brighter, bolder patterns work well for social events; more subtle colors are usually highlighted for serious business.

And you could use a nice collection of sweaters in place of the blazers and sport coats that were once wardrobe staples. Different styles of sweaters include crew necks, v-necks, turtlenecks, half zips, sleeveless vests, long sleeve pullovers, and cardigans. Their wide range of designs – from solid colors to very colorful patterns – can create wonderful variety.

Warning: some shirts and sweaters will flatter dark or dark skin tones more than others. Warm colors and bright colors look great: bright white, light ivory (do not the beige cast of “ecru”), light blue, soft pink, pale purple and bright yellows and oranges will all work well with pants of any neutral shade from khaki to navy, gray or black . All of this can overcome the dark “washed out look” a man with your coloring may take on when wearing a top in muddy colors such as olive, mustard, beige or gray. . . colors that don’t compliment dark skin tones. Wear warm colors; contrast benefits dark-skinned man. Avoid black and dark brown. It’s about complementing, not matching.

Essentially, contrast your coloring with light, flattering colors in your shirts, ties, sweaters, and scarves. And don’t overlook the many beautiful patterns in shirts, from checks and plaids to stripes of all widths.

If you have fair hair and complexion and light eyes. With sandy-colored hair and blue eyes, you look your best with a tan that repeats your hair color and a blue that accentuates your eyes. Still, you don’t want to wear tan and blue all the time. And you definitely don’t need it. You are lucky to have a can’t lose choice: you can go either way. Either you can wear muted colors that pick up on your own coloring, or you can contrast your complexion with dark or bright tops. . . both are beautiful and flattering.

With just a little planning you are sure to look great.

Please send questions about men’s dress and grooming to MAN CALL: [email protected]


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