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Ideas for color combinations for business casual - sticking to greens, blacks and grays

MuyJingo

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Hello all,

I am looking for some input. I am a consultant, generally dressed in business casual and I travel 80% of the year.

I am putting together a new wardrobe with the sales this weekend, and would like some suggestions on color coordinating.

I have a pair of black Chelsea boots at present, and will be "upgrading" to a pair of Black RM Williams.

I don't like the color brown or tan, for shoes or jackets, and I am trying to get my wardrobe to be primarily grays, olives and black.

I've been reading that black pants are generally difficult, so I will try avoiding them.

Here are my ideas so far, please tell me if they are unworkable and I am on the wrong track...

black shoes - charcoal pants - light grey shirt - dark green coat (something like this: http://www.esquire.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Reiss-blazer.jpg )

black shoes - black pants - grey or green shirt - grey coat

I would think a grey or green tie would tie everything together.

I would love any input or suggestions, thank you.
 

Grumpton

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As a consultant myself, your work wardrobe is partly dictated by the type of clients, regions and the firm you work for. If you are an auditor for a big 4, you're not going to want Chelsea boots. If you are a technical consultant in silicon valley, it matters much less, you'll be better dressed than everyone else.

In the beginning of my career, I tried doing the "everything black" thing. It really does make packing easier when belts, shoes are taken out of the color coordination question. That ended a few years ago when I didn't want to look like the masses. If you are constantly going to sit in front of Fortune 500 C-Level, then get nicer black shoes than those Chelsea's. But only if you are in front of the CEO every day.

Here is my opinion though. Trade the black blazer for a navy blue, and trade the black shoes for a dark brown.

Don't worry about the shirts and ties, you had better have a selection of 10 plus shirts in any color, but mostly blue. You won't wear a tie that often it seems, just get a couple in whatever color you like.

FWIW, I travel with 2 suits (always a get and a blue), 3 pairs of shoes (trainers and 2 Brown's), at least 3 shirts, jeans and workout gear wherever I go. All in a carry on.
 
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MuyJingo

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As a consultant myself, your work wardrobe is partly dictated by the type of clients, regions and the firm you work for. If you are an auditor for a big 4, you're not going to want Chelsea boots. If you are a technical consultant in silicon valley, it matters much less, you'll be better dressed than everyone else.

In the beginning of my career, I tried doing the "everything black" thing. It really does make packing easier when belts, shoes are taken out of the color coordination question. That ended a few years ago when I didn't want to look like the masses. If you are constantly going to sit in front of Fortune 500 C-Level, then get nicer black shoes than those Chelsea's. But only if you are in front of the CEO every day.

Here is my opinion though. Trade the black blazer for a navy blue, and trade the black shoes for a dark brown.

Don't worry about the shirts and ties, you had better have a selection of 10 plus shirts in any color, but mostly blue. You won't wear a tie that often it seems, just get a couple in whatever color you like.

FWIW, I travel with 2 suits (always a get and a blue), 3 pairs of shoes (trainers and 2 Brown's), at least 3 shirts, jeans and workout gear wherever I go. All in a carry on.
Thank you for your reply sir.

I have been an auditor for one of the Big 4 in the past. In my experience, clients dictating wardrobe only extends to level of formality, i.e. is it a jeans and polo shirt type site, or business casual, or suit. I have never seen anything dictating colors.

I don't understand why you would say I wouldn't want chelsea boots. I *only* want chelsea boots, or something similar. There are many dress boots, and with the right style it fits right in with a suit. I find them much more comfortable, easy to put on, and they serve as a formal boot and a casual boot.

Anyway, what I am really trying to do is just come up with some combinations involving black, grey, green, olive in those shades.

I simply don't like Brown. At all. And thus I want toe exclude it. Just looking for some good ideas to combine black, grey, greens and olives, and more importantly to avoid any major no nos.
 

Grumpton

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Anyway, what I am really trying to do is just come up with some combinations involving black, grey, green, olive in those shades.

I simply don't like Brown. At all. And thus I want toe exclude it. Just looking for some good ideas to combine black, grey, greens and olives, and more importantly to avoid any major no nos.

From a personal style perspective, sounds like you have it figured out. Go with it.
 

MuyJingo

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From a personal style perspective, sounds like you have it figured out. Go with it.
I know what I like, I don't know how to combine it to look good or to make sure I'm not breaking any rules.

All the colors I listed would seem pretty safe together, so I am just trying to double check and get some more input....
 

MuyJingo

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A better question might be:

What color pants and jacket aside from brown/tan canwork well with a green (light or dark) dress shirt and black boots/belt?
 

Veremund

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I'd avoid green shirts completely. If you love green, having a bit of a darker shade of it would look fine in a jacket, tie, or pocket square. Stick with grey pants, white shirts (or blue), and sports jacket as you originally posted. :)

Also, please avoid black pants in the daytime. Navy blue if you want to wear something very dark, but no black.

I just noticed you didn't mention blue at all. Are you not a fan?
 

El Fede

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I used to be your nemesis, no black shoes and no boots. I had only mid-brown or tan derbys and maybe a pair of wingtips, now when I look back to it, even though I had enough rotation, it was like I was wearing the same shoe everyday.....I grew fed up of this and started to nibble my stubborness. Nowadays I wear black and brown, oxfords, derbys, wingtips, chelseas, desert, boots, full-mid or 1/4 brogue, cap-toes, loafers.....not a big fan of jodhpur boots or moccasines but given the right pair it can change. Limiting myself to a color and style was not the best idea.
 

MuyJingo

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I'd avoid green shirts completely. If you love green, having a bit of a darker shade of it would look fine in a jacket, tie, or pocket square. Stick with grey pants, white shirts (or blue), and sports jacket as you originally posted.


Also, please avoid black pants in the daytime. Navy blue if you want to wear something very dark, but no black.

I just noticed you didn't mention blue at all. Are you not a fan?
Why avoid green shirts completely? One of my more frequent outfits is a pair of charcoal slacks and a mint green dress shirt, which I think look fine together...

There are so many shades of green I would be surprised if I can't find a workable shade.

Why is it best to avoid black pants in the daytime?

I don't mind blue, but not for pants (I will always choose charcoal over navy), but I'm trying to come up with some workable combinations for greens, olives, grays, charcoals etc.

Does this look bad to you? http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/619jh+suMYL._UX385_.jpg

Quote:
I get that, different strokes for different folks. How I think about this is pretty simple...I don't want to wear colors I don't like if I can avoid it, and as much as I travel I would much rather have multi-purposes to eliminate redundancy. For example, one pair of boots (going with RM Williams Henley I think) goes well with a suit (some may disagree but it is a matter of taste and I think it goes well) just as well as it does with jeans and a longsleeve tee.

It's not a flat rule that I am against other colors or style...I would just like my new wardrobe to be built around colors I actually like and that are easy to coordinate.
 

turkoftheplains

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Dark, saturated shirts like that aren't going to get much love here.

Since you're absolutely married to black shoes (and don't seem to be interested in suits): mid-grey pants, light blue shirts, navy jacket, nearly any non-awful tie.

Green jackets do much better with brown leather. Grey shirts are an abomination. Black is for waiter.
 

MuyJingo

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Dark, saturated shirts like that aren't going to get much love here.

Since you're absolutely married to black shoes (and don't seem to be interested in suits): mid-grey pants, light blue shirts, navy jacket, nearly any non-awful tie.

Green jackets do much better with brown leather. Grey shirts are an abomination. Black is for waiter.
Thanks for replying.

I have a black suit I am happy with, and only need one.

I did a lot of reading before posting this, and I have a question....where do these "rules" come from? Is it each individual members subjective preferences, or is there some set of principles that are generally known/passed down?

It's just that some of the stuff I read makes me scratch my head. Grey shirts are an abomination? I think they look great with a pair of charcoal or black slacks, but I seem to be in the minority.

I am finding that it is extremely hard to work green in. Most of the shades are too just too garish, bar the occasional mint colored shirt that works. Might have to give up on green and relegate it to the occasional tie.
 

turkoftheplains

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God -> Brummell -> Astaire/Prince of Wales/Apparel Arts -> Flusser -> manton -> our other bespoke overlords -> SF groupthink -> The Rules
 
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Veremund

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Why avoid green shirts completely? One of my more frequent outfits is a pair of charcoal slacks and a mint green dress shirt, which I think look fine together...
There are so many shades of green I would be surprised if I can't find a workable shade.
Why is it best to avoid black pants in the daytime?
I don't mind blue, but not for pants (I will always choose charcoal over navy), but I'm trying to come up with some workable combinations for greens, olives, grays, charcoals etc.
Does this look bad to you? http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/619jh+suMYL._UX385_.jpg

It doesn't look bad to me on him, because his complexion can cope with the otherwise unappealing shade of green. But almost any other color would be better, and just "not looking bad" isn't really our objective here. Besides, if you want to base your wardrobe around similar shirts and colors, you won't be remembered as the guy who always looks nice, you'll be remember as the guy who always wears green shirts.

There are definitely guidelines and principles of aesthetics for colours and clothing. You can call them rules or whatever, but there is truth in them regardless what we call them.

What is your complexion? Are you pasty white, ebony black, mocca brown, pinky-hued? :)
 

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