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A guide to help the average man... look less average

Filtering by Tag: colors

Coordinating certain colors

Mark Kwak

I think that coordinating colors can be a great way to indicate to the world that you understand how style works. A simple matching of the belt to the shoe, or socks to the sweater can be a refreshing aesthetic for all to see. Today, I want to talk about coordinating colors a bit more subtly, and little techniques you can use to showcase your fashion knowledge.

For example, I just shot this picture right now (sorry for the shoddy quality), but this particular shirt has an interesting detail to it. It's charcoal all around, but the front pocket is actually navy.

pocketNow, why am I showing you this shirt? I'm showing it to you because it's a great example of a type of shirt that I can use to start matching colors around with. For me, that little hint of navy gives me a great excuse to add another navy piece to this outfit. Perhaps it's a pair of blue jeans, or my navy Vans.

In this case, I'm using the secondary color (navy), not the primary one (charcoal), to build my outfit around. And trust me, this isn't limited to a shirt with a mismatching pocket, I mean who really wears this type of shirt anyway?

Take a look at accessories, or pieces that have multiple colors in it (like a striped or plaid shirt). I think that matching up other parts of your outfit to the colors that are on that accessory, stripe or plaid just makes sense. If there's some light blue in your shirt, why not wear a light blue shoelace? It's those types of details that help ME know that YOU are in the know.

Below is an awesome example of why matching certain colors can make a huge difference in the aesthetic appeal of your outfit. In this picture, there is one guy who stands out to me. The guy with the pink flower on his lapel. Why? Because it works with the socks he's wearing. Sure, his socks won't be visible for most of the day, but the moment he sits down, that subtle detail of the pinks matching will make a huge difference.


So really, all I'm trying to say is that you should look at colors with a bit more intentionality. The subtle details can make a huge difference, and it's worth thinking about. Is your watch band olive in color? Try putting on some olive colored shoes. Got some red in your plaid shirt? Time to take your red wristband out. Purple jacket? Oh hi purple socks.

We all know it's good to coordinate colors overall, but take it to the next level and start complementing / matching some of the subtle parts of your outfit. Trust me, I've been complimented on some of those details even when I felt like there's no way anyone would ever have been able to notice.


Black & Brown

Mark Kwak

In the past, I've heard on numerous occasions that it's not smart to wear black and brown together. Brown shoes with black pants? Never! Well, I don't know what people were thinking when they created this "rule" of style in the past, but I have chosen not to follow it. Perhaps it's my rebellious nature, but more likely, it is my love for well-pulled-off black & brown outfits. I mean who can argue with this look:

 Source: Styleforum

Now, I will insert a caveat here: I don't think wearing brown with black is necessarily the best option all the time. And not all brown/black combos work seamlessly either; there are certain tips you need to follow in order to pull the look off with success. So let me give you those tips:

The first one is that you should make it look like you put the two colors together on purpose. Since so many people have this deeply ingrained rule of never pairing black with brown, it takes a little more effort to convince others that the pairing can actually look great. If you're wearing a pair of brown shoes with black jeans, add a brown belt to the mix. Or if you're wearing a black sweater with brown pants, add a pair of black shoes and socks to complete the look. Here's an example below:

gq coverSource: GQ

The second tip is that you should try and use a lighter brown when pairing with black. Think more desert camel, less Northwest grizzly bear. I personally think that lighter browns showcase a very aesthetically pleasing contrast from black when worn together. Look specifically for the color description "walnut."

And finally, remember to listen to your gut. If you like the look of brown + black, by all means, go for it. I personally love the look. If you don't feel that comfortable wearing the two colors together, then work with something else. All I'm saying is that you shouldn't avoid wearing the two colors together just because of an age old rule that told you that you couldn't.

Have fun with it. I know I will.

The essential color to wear with bold pieces

Mark Kwak

Source: GQ

Last weekend, I went out to a couple nearby parks to hang out in the sun with my friends. During my time at these parks, I noticed that my eyes were being pulled from place to place by the bright colored pants and shorts everybody was wearing around- men included.

Though I'm personally not much a fan of bright colored pants myself , I think they can look pretty attractive on a lot of people, and if you've been thinking about getting yourself a pair, I say why not? There's no better time than now (it's spring/summertime + bright colored pants are on trend at the moment, just check this article by StyleGirlfriend).

So now, if you've wholly decided that you'll be wearing this somewhat daring piece in the near future, I've got a tip for you: wear white too.

Source: Denimtherapy

Let me explain why. The more outlandish the color of your pants, the more difficult it will be to coordinate other pieces around that color. Ever tried to coordinate your shoes, shirt, and jacket around a pair of neon green pants before? It's doable, but it ain't easy.

Ah, but here's where the color (or shade?) white comes in handy. Luckily, white really does work with everything. It's basically a blank canvas on which you can layer different colors around- no matter how outrageous- and still look fine overall. Also, white is a great color to wear in the summertime anyway, as it's bright and refreshing to look at amidst blue skies and yellow sun rays.

So you have a pair of salmon shorts? Add a white V neck T-shirt.

Got bright red chinos? No problem, a white oxford will do just fine.

Violet pants? White polo to the rescue. 

If you're having a hard time deciding what to match your colorful pants and shorts with, just wear some white and be done with it. I'm not saying other colors don't work- they absolutely do. And, if you have the time and patience, definitely wear other colors as well!

However, sometimes it's kind of nice not to worry about what works and doesn't work with your pastel or colored pants. Knowing that a white shirt will do the job no matter what, is a pretty liberating thing. Besides, a blankness of a white shirt will bring the focus to your pants anyway, and if you're buying bright colored pants, isn't that kind of the point?


Suit & shoes color coordination

Mark Kwak

A couple days ago, I ran across an infographic regarding suit/shoe color combinations that I was quite impressed with. It was made by a guy named rootb33r on reddit, who wanted to inform others on the versatility of certain suit/shoe combinations, and also what occasions they were most appropriate in. I don't think the suggestions on here are necessarily hard-fast rules, but it's a good starting point, and I agree with most of it. I'm a little skeptical about his thoughts on the charcoal suit (I personally think charcoal suits are extremely versatile), but otherwise, it's pretty solid. Check it out below:


Tasteful use of loud colors

Mark Kwak

Photo from

Navys, greys, whites, beiges. These are just some of the colors that can help build a fundamentally solid wardrobe that you can count on for the rest of your life.

However, let's say you're feeling especially perky one day. You're tired of wearing such "vanilla" clothing, and decide to add some spice to the mix. Well, one way to accomplish such a task is by incorporating some bold colors and patterns to your outfit. Purples, greens, pinks, yellows, you name it. But let's say you don't want to overdo it and cause a big distraction with your outfit.

The trick is to incorporate louder colors subtly onto a more conservative palette. For example, having a multi-colored plaid shirt by itself can be a bit busy and hard on the eyes. However, layering a solid colored v neck sweater over that shirt can do wonders for you. Having the collar and cuffs show slightly will still allow others to see the fun pattern and colors, but it won't be distracting or flashy.

See the red incorporated into this outfit, making the color pop? Or the guy on the right using a bold red color pocket square and bracelet? 

Also, try to keep bold patterns/colors to around one piece. Wearing green pants, bright red sunglasses, and a hot pink shirt might seem like a good idea (it's not), but will probably blind those that you walk past. Instead, if you opt for just one of those pieces, and layer some more conservative colors around it, your look will be a lot more tasteful and appropriate.

So my recommendation is DO IT! It'll set you apart, and you'll be able to have some fun with your outfit. However, make sure you do it within reason, and wear your loud colors somewhat conservatively. This way, you'll look daring and spicy, but won't give off an air of obnoxiousness.

Happy Friday everybody!

Dos and don'ts: black

Mark Kwak

I've been asked many times whether it's okay to wear a black shirt with a black suit. The short answer is no. The long answer is, unless you're George Clooney, and you can maybe, JUST maybe pull it off, I would recommend another colored shirt. Truth is, there are too many other options out there to wear just black on black. It becomes hard to tell the separation of clothing, and it makes two potentially great looking pieces look like one mediocre piece.

I know some of you may want to look sleek wearing dark colors at a club or lounge. If you must go with a dark color on your black suit, I'd say use a grey shirt instead of black.