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Conservative shirt colors suitable for business wear

Kasper

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I have been thinking about adding a few more Jos. Bank, Nordstrom and Brooks Brothers shirts to my wardrobe. While I have worn pale yellow and ecru shirts in the past I am thinking about picking up a couple colors out of the ordinary such as lavender and pale green. While I am pretty confident that these could be easily incorporated into my personal style I am a little concerned that they might not be conservative enough for certain areas of the country that I have to travel to for work. What is the forum consensus on colors such as these worn in a professional environment?
 

archibaldleach

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I think I can safely say that you will not find a consensus on what color shirts are "appropriate." Having said that, I can try to offer a few guidelines.

You probably already know this, but make sure to get shirts that look good with your complexion. If you can look good in lavender, there's nothing wrong with owning a shirt or two in the color. Personally, I'd be careful with pale green, but that's just me.

When in doubt in a business setting, black shoes, a dark suit, and either a white or a blue shirt with a conservative tie. Brown shoes can be lovely, but there are still people who think they are not appropriate for business, so if you are really in doubt in a particular environment, go with black. I'd say most don't feel this way, but for interviews and initial meetings, wearing black shoes is a small price to pay to avoid a possible faux pas. This mix of black shoes, dark suit, white shirt, and conservative tie will never fail to look presentable, and if you dress well, you shouldn't risk looking boring. If you are familiar with your environment and know that you can get away with lavender or another color that appeals to you, then definitely go for it.

In short, go with some new colors and enjoy yourself. If you are not sure how they'll go over, bring enough conservative shirts to wear just in case when you travel. This way you can get some new and exciting colors and not risk offending anyone with conservative tastes.

By the way, have you considered custom shirts vs. the names you mentioned? Just a thought.

-ArchibaldLeach
 

itsstillmatt

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I almost always wear blue, white or blue with white for shirts.
 

Kasper

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Originally Posted by archibaldleach
You probably already know this, but make sure to get shirts that look good with your complexion. If you can look good in lavender, there's nothing wrong with owning a shirt or two in the color. Personally, I'd be careful with pale green, but that's just me.

What color complexion do you think pale green is suitable for? The shirt I was looking at could almost pass for off-white under certain lighting but had a touch of green which I found to add a touch of distinction.

Originally Posted by archibaldleach
When in doubt in a business setting, black shoes, a dark suit, and either a white or a blue shirt with a conservative tie. Brown shoes can be lovely, but there are still people who think they are not appropriate for business, so if you are really in doubt in a particular environment, go with black. ... If you are familiar with your environment and know that you can get away with lavender or another color that appeals to you, then definitely go for it.

I don't know what type of business other members here are involved with or how those around them dress but personally some of my colleagues often wear rather loud ties or ensembles which are not conservative to my eye. I am dressing more for a standard that I want to create in my industry and from the stand point that I don't know when I might cross paths with someone of distinction in the professional world that has a similar eye for details regarding business dress. In that type of situation I would want to be perceived as someone with a distinct personal style based on an attention to professionalism.

Originally Posted by archibaldleach
In short, go with some new colors and enjoy yourself. If you are not sure how they'll go over, bring enough conservative shirts to wear just in case when you travel. This way you can get some new and exciting colors and not risk offending anyone with conservative tastes.

I am on the road 10 months out of the year and always travel with a minimum or 3 white shirts and 3 blue. So I am ready for almost any situation even if that means changing my shirt after lunch because of some mishap.




Originally Posted by archibaldleach
By the way, have you considered custom shirts vs. the names you mentioned? Just a thought..

I have but I don't think custom shirts are a good value for the money and actually prefer the house styles of the makers I mentioned.

Matt,

would you ever consider wearing a solid ecru shirt?
 

Tomasso

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Originally Posted by Kasper
I don't think custom shirts are a good value for the money
Only if you value a well fitted shirt.
Originally Posted by Kasper
actually prefer the house styles of the makers I mentioned.
Just curious, but what are the house stlyes of Jos. Bank, Nordstrom and Brooks Brothers? Actually, I wasn't even aware that shirtmakers had house styles, you learn something new everyday.
 

archibaldleach

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Kasper,

Re: light green, there may be some complexion that works with it, but I can't think of one. I think it's just something I personally dislike. I never wear pink or lavender, but on the right complexion, they can work. You kind of have to get a good look at yourself while wearing a shirt to really know.

With the tie colors, I definitely hear that. Still, loud does not make elegant, and I suggest finding more subtle and interesting patterns if you want to look a bit different. I'm starting to love grenadine silk ties and have a couple Sam Hober pindot ties that I love. Also, given the ties many choose today, some solid color ties may actually give you much more individuality than you might think.

There's nothing wrong with blue and white, it's pretty much all I wear myself, but you could definitely use some subtle stripes or something like that to mix it up a bit. That's one nice thing about custom shirts; given the large number of fabrics you can choose from, you are sure to find something unique for yourself yet also something that is tasteful and elegant. If you want to mix it up a bit yet stay conservative, this may be a good bet. If you're on the road a lot as you said, but go to similar places and have a feel for the culture in each place, you'll be better informed and better dressed. Maybe then you can start by swapping out one of your blue or white shirts for something more colorful if that's your thing. See how that goes and then decide if you want to experiment more. There's nothing wrong with classics like blue and white and you'll always look good in them, but if you have an itch to try something and it's not hideous, it might warrant a slot in the suitcase.

-ArchibaldLeach
 

Tampan

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Originally Posted by Kasper
What color complexion do you think pale green is suitable for?

A coworker has a pale apple green shirt that looks stunning. The shirt has a very fine white-and-green diagonal texture, more pale green than off-white. His complexion helps - a lighter shade of Indonesian, dark enough that the shirt tone is still lighter. I expect such a shirt would also work for anyone with strong green eyes. I can't see a medium green working in these cases, too dark overall in the first case, and too corny in the latter.

(my first post!)
 

itsstillmatt

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Kasper-

I am not a huge fan of ecru other than for linen. I don't think that there is anything wrong with it, it just isn't for me.
 

A Y

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Redheads (red hair, pale freckled skin, green eyes) work well with light greens, I think.

--Andre
 

The Happy Stroller

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For the conservative part, I'd suggest sticking to just white shirts (but blue should be quite OK), grey or blue suits and black shoes with socks, either black or about the same color as your pants. But read up on John T. Molloy's New Dress For Success to watch out for certain situations and localities where other kinds of dress styles may be more appropriate.

For the professional part, I suggest considering augmenting your dress accessories - wrist watch, cuff-links, ties, braces/belts, shoes, hair styling, pocket squares, handkerchiefs, pens, glasses, hats, wallets, card cases, bags, etc.


Originally Posted by Kasper
...<snip>...
I am dressing more for a standard that I want to create in my industry and from the stand point that I don't know when I might cross paths with someone of distinction in the professional world that has a similar eye for details regarding business dress. In that type of situation I would want to be perceived as someone with a distinct personal style based on an attention to professionalism.

I am on the road 10 months out of the year and always travel with a minimum or 3 white shirts and 3 blue. So I am ready for almost any situation even if that means changing my shirt after lunch because of some mishap.
...<snip>...
 

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