Mens Style Tips – Popular Colors in Mens Business Fashion

Mens Style Tips – Popular Colors in Mens Business Fashion

Barring white, black is seen as the most universal color in the palette of men’s fashion. It’s used in everything from neckties to socks, and is a pillar in every man’s wardrobe. But going the safe black route is quickly becoming outdated, something only undertakers and the fashion-unconscious should be doing. In these changing times of color, what’s a guy to do? Look for other colors, of course.

Long regarded as black’s happier cousin, this extra-dark variety of blue has its merits. It’s dark enough to be paired with innumerable other pieces in the average male wardrobe, and it closely mimicks black in that respect. At the same time, its lighter-than-black shade makes it seem, well, lighter, a perfect choice for more casual affairs and any event other than a wake.

The color is best worn like classic black: paired with white and matching navy pants. But the casual factor is one of the things that navy has going for it. You could just as easily pair a navy blazer with a suit ensemble and oxfords or a pair of distressed jeans and loafers. And because it’s so easy to dress up or down, navy clothes can go from beer with the guys to an upscale dinner with your lady, all without breaking a sweat.

Other pastels can go just as well with navy. Light pink and yellow, in particular, are favorites when it comes to pairing up with a navy jacket. Once finished off with an appropriately patterned necktie, a navy-topped outfit can be as stylish as anything.

Another cousin of black, gray is an equally viable alternative to black, albeit more mature and less exuberant than navy. A favorite in the banking and finance sector (at least in non-recession times), a gray suit suggests a man who is wiser and savvier, but isn’t necessarily older.

Less carefree than navy, gray is best worn as a full-on (preferably three-piece) suit with a white shirt. Colored shirts and lively neckties tend to really pop out with gray, especially the darker shades of it. Alternatively, you could try a gray jacket over black slacks in the suit separates look of a few seasons ago. Jeans, however, can get to be a very difficult combination with this color.

One of the cooler things about gray, though, is that it loses little of its impact when done in different fabrics. Light linen suits in solid gray are seen as one of the under-the-radar trends of 2009, perfect for warmer climes such as those in Cali or Florida.

If you’re wary of dark colors, you could also try black’s polar opposite – white. The color takes some practice to pull off because it’s not very common in men’s wear (save as undershirts). It’s that rarity, however, that makes wearing white so rewarding.

Pure blanc is best done one piece at a time, usually with the rest of the outfit in a contrasting color. A single whte suit can thus work for several ensembles: pair the pants with a pale pink polo for a preppy look one day, and then wear the jacket with jeans or black pants for creative black tie the next. Just keep in mind to steer clear of all crayon- and ketchup-wielding toddlers in the area.

For too long, black has been the safety net of men’s fashion, the color guys can use when thinking of a whole new outfit was too tiring. It’s time to leave black behind, step out of your comfort zone and prove yourself worthy of the epithet ‘fashionable.’

Hendrik has over a hundred articles published in 2009 – all on mens fashion, dress codes, and style advice. He is also the co-founder of an online shop selling mens fashion accessories such as Neckties, Cufflinks, and Pocket Squares.