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Coordinating colors

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by jst, Aug 5, 2002.

  1. jst

    jst Active Member

    Likes Received:
    Jul 26, 2002
    Washington, DC
    I have to admit that I do not have a very discerning eye for color.  I have had some hard times coordinating colors and would appreciate some feedback on a few things.

    1) Ties - When matching up ties with suits, is it more important that the tie coordinate with the jacket or the shirt?  Or should there be equal emphasis.  Is the best way to get out of this to wear white shirts with suits?

    2) Shoes - Is it unacceptable to wear black shoes and belt with a dark navy suit?  I have avoided this in the past, but is it necessary?

    3) In general I would appreciate any advice and/or tips on mixing and matching colors in any type of occasion.


  2. PeterMetro

    PeterMetro Senior Member

    Likes Received:
    Jul 9, 2002
    New York
    Matching colors is all in the details. My suggestion in all matters, is to look at the threads in the fabric and try to find colors that match/complement each other. For instance, many fabrics appear to be a single color (this is especially true with some woolen sport coats), but are in fact a blend of several colors. A more basic example is a pin stripe suit - often the pin stripes will not be simply white, but rather blue or pink or purple or what have you. This is a great time to wear a blue, pink or purple tie or shirt.

    While white shirts are pretty safe and leave you only with the task of matching your tie with your jacket (unless you're wearing white on white, which, while very Ace Rothstein, is not my bag), why limit yourself to a single color? Colored and patterned dress shirts give ties a whole new dimension that many people, including myself, find very pleasing.

    As for your question about black with navy, it is an oft argued question. I think it is perfectly acceptable. However, my grandfather, a very well dressed man, wore grey and navy suits every day and never wore black shoes in his life - save for formal events. If you like it, then wear it.

    And as a general tip - pay less attention to matching exact colors, and look at tone and hue. If you can develop an eye for color (check out a Monet exhibit), you should be fine.

  3. Stu

    Stu Distinguished Member

    Likes Received:
    Mar 12, 2002
    I didn't realize it was even a topic for debate. I wouldn't wear anything but polished black shoes with a navy suit. I once wore a brown belt and brown shoes with a standard 2-button navy Canali and it looked fine, but I've always heard black is best.

  4. bengal-stripe

    bengal-stripe Distinguished Member Dubiously Honored

    Likes Received:
    Mar 23, 2002
    London, UK
    Oh, not that old chestnut again. Let's go through the options:

    Navy suit,, white or pale blue shirt, plain tie and black shoes: a classic look, solid, dependable, corporate lawyer look, middle aged and a bit boring. Total message = no experimentation.

    Navy suit, striped shirt, tie a bit flamboyant, dark brown (bitter chocolate) shoes in leather or suede; alternatively shoes in shell cordovan ("black cherry"). Message: I tweak things around the edges, I don't want to frighten the horses, but equally I don't want to be so awfully predictable.

    Navy suit, shirt checked or striped diagonally, no tie, bright tan, sandalwood, mustard colored shoes. Message: I want to show off. Look at my shoes (they will stick out like the proverbial thumb). The components might be conventional; the way I combine is not.

    Option one (very English) puts the emphasis on the suit; Option three (very fashionable in Italy at the moment) puts all the spotlight on the shoes. They have to be super, because everybody will notice the shoes first.

    You pays your money, takes your choice.

  5. davei

    davei Senior Member

    Likes Received:
    Apr 14, 2002
    Toronto, Canada
    Bengal makes a very good point. To deviate from it a little [​IMG], you've got a lot of choices, but you should go with your gut: are you conservative, flash, or somewhere in the middle? I think most of us are somewhere in the middle, maybe leaning towards conservative at the office, and flash when stepping out. Are you sending the right message with your clothes? A good way to kill a couple of hours is to try on your clothes in different combinations. It sounds ridiculously silly, but you'll start to get an idea of what goes with what. Try the conservative banker look (plain everything) and see what that does to you in the mirror. Swap out the plain tie for a loud one; your eye is drawn to the tie, which has alot of emphasis since the rest of your outfit is relatively low key. Try on a different colored shirt, or one with a pattern, and see how that goes. You need not change everything (or get everything right) at once.

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