A sea of Grey
Just because it’s grey outside doesn’t mean you should wear the color. As fall approaches the clouds roll in and the rain comes down. As more and more people adopt the laissefaire attitude toward dressing and more specifically taking care of their clothing, the amount of black and grey on the streets and in office towers is depressing. The dark suits matched with the dark skies just makes you want to jump off a bridge while gouging out your eyes… or it is just me?
Either way an interesting fact states that most people wear black as a staple color. Guess what the second most worn color is… GREY! Aw boo. So to correct this I want to tell you really quickly how to outfit your clothing so you can wear color and make the sun come out (if only through the clouds above everyone’s heads).
For the Women
An office place can be intimidating and depending on your profession there can be a lot of dull and dark colors around because it is what everyone wears and people want to conform. But because you are here reading this I can only assume that you are not like most people so lets get right down to it.
Wearing a colored scarf or blouse under a jacket is a good way to start. Sure, wear the black suit jacket and skirt but throw on a powerful yellow silk blouse and make sure you have something on your outfit that blends with the yellow. This can either be a yellow lapel pin or a scarf tied around the handle of your briefcase.
Of course it doesn’t have to be yellow and yellow it can be yellow and burnt orange, yellow and red, yellow, and mustard yellow, or you can be bold and wear yellow and green. The options are limitless but the way it must be styled is within the same section of the color wheel. You are looking for complimenting colors that work well together. Greens and Yellows or Blues, Blues and Purples or Blues, Reds and oranges or purple, Oranges and Yellows or Reds, which brings us back to yellows.
If you want to break out and really express yourself then wear a full color or bold printed dress, match your accessories according to the color chart above and you can’t go wrong. Make sure to take into account the style of the overall look so as not to clash styles and end up looking unprofessional.
Lastly, while in the workplace respect the dress code or push it just a bit but you are in the office and no one wants to see too much cleavage or a mile of thigh. Unless they do but you still don’t want to be “that lady.” To express your inner scarlet wear bold red and flashy pinks to work. That’ll get their attention just as well.
Now for the gents
Though women have more silhouette options (skirts dresses) a man’s suit has 4 blatant options where color can pop from. To utilize these simply wear an unusually colored dress shirt. The contrast to a grey, black, or navy suit will definitely draw the eye and allow you to rise above the rest in the competitive world of business. A strong red shirt with a patterned gingham tie will prove your confidence and your fashion sense. This brings up the next element of color. The tie.
There are an infinite amount of ties to splash up an outfit with color and yet some men still choose to wear simple colored ties in basic dull colors. I was recently in a courtroom celebrating my friends Bar Call and in the packed room one man stood out (besides me obvi) this gentleman was wearing a blue and white check tie that worked perfectly with his linen navy sport coat. The ensemble worked perfectly and I am positive I am not the only one that noticed his style and use of color.
Aside from the tie men can also play with pocket squares, lapel pins, and their leather accessories like bags, gloves, and wallets. Can a man wear bright red gloves with a matching briefcase? Sure. Should he? Absolutely… if he is a fashion blogger. Otherwise it is probably best to stick with more neutral colors such as mustard yellow leather gloves, paprika colored leather city bags, and patterned leather billfolds and card cases.
One last element of a man’s wardrobe where an infusion of color can take place is the socks. I wrote an article on wearing colorful socks and I recommend you read it through to understand the finer aspects of wearing colored socks. Just to quickly summarize I suggest wearing socks in fine merino wool or another natural breathable fabric but of course bursting with color. You want the color or one of the colors in the sock to match or compliment a color in your shirt, tie, cuff-links, lapel pin, or pocket square. Try to avoid matching your socks to your outerwear or leather accessories as you may not have them with you while you go about your day.
I hope this article has brightened your knowledge of wearing color and how to match certain elements of your wardrobe with the color spectrum. Remember complimenting colors and styles are the key. Play it clean, play it colorful and you’ll be riding the rainbow while your co-workers are drearily going about their day.
The men’s suits displayed here are from Indochino.