So you've been following a menswear blog for the last three months. You've subscribed to a fashion magazine, bought some higher-end clothing, and visited a tailor more times in the last month than the last 10 years prior! You're seeing sartorial progress, and becoming a simpler man.
So you're styling now. However, if you want to take your outfits to the next level, you'll have to start thinking about the details. Color is certainly one of those details, and coordinating them correctly can take a good outfit, and up-level it to a great one.
Here are my 7 tips on coordinating and using color to your advantage:
1. Complements are awesome : When you have the chance, take a look at the color wheel. In it, you can identify complementary colors, which generally look great together in an outfit. In case you don't know what complementary colors are, they are simply colors that are on the opposite side of each other in the color wheel. So red's complementing color is green, and purple's complementing color is yellow.
2. Keep it in the family : There's a beauty to outfits that have different hues of the same color in them. Personally, I love to wear light blue with navy, or brown with khaki in my outfits. Keeping colors in the same family is an easy way to make this happen.
3. If you're going to wear a bold piece, make it one at a time : If you're feeling a little spunky, and decide to wear bright purple, deep red, or neon green, make sure you limit it to just one piece. Bright yellow chinos might look decent when paired with a couple neutrals like gray or black, but the moment you add hot pink shoes to that same outfit, you'll be secretly laughed at by everyone who sees you.
4. Don't overdo one color : Green shoes, green pants, green shirts, green jackets, and green glasses... in one outfit. Perhaps cool in theory, but likely a train wreck in reality. It's definitely okay to wear a couple pieces of the same color, but don't overdo it. You'll be in danger of looking like you're wearing a single-colored jump suit.
5. Match colors to your complexion (and hair) : Your complexion actually matters when you're color coordinating. There's a reason black men look great in purple, Asian men look good in black, and white men look fine in light blue. Just as a quick tip, dark skin works with brighter colors, light skin with more subdued colors and pastels, and medium skin with just about anything.
6. When in doubt, wear gray, tan, or light (or navy) blue : If you have any doubts about the colors you're wearing, just add a gray, tan, or light (or navy) blue into the mix. Those are colors that will work with just about anything.
7. Layer your colors : Layering is a perfect way to incorporate color into your outfit without being too flashy. Do you have an overtly bold checkered shirt that you've had a hard time wearing? No problem, just layer a charcoal cardigan over it and voila, you're good to go.
You'll start to find that color can make a huge difference in the way your outfits turn out. Keep these tips in mind the next time you dress up, and soon enough, it'll all start to become second nature for you. I think we are all hardwired to recognize aesthetic beauty. Part of that is knowing what colors work with each other, and I genuinely believe we all have that ability. It just takes a little effort to unlock it.