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The colour palette of classic menswear

Ddubs

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May 7, 2024
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I'm trying to develop my wardrobe, and I'd like to hear how people use colour relating to this aesthetic. What do people view as the 'essential' colour palette of classic menswear and the incorporation of bolder colours? I think it's important to understand the 'rules' of a particular way of dressing so to speak if you at all intend to break them and introduce your own stylistic spin.


As far as my admittedly basic understanding is concerned, broadly speaking the 'base' colours are navy, grey, black, white, brown and earth tones. I get the sense that bolder colours are mainly reserved for accessories like scarves, handkerchiefs, ties, watches, socks and maybe knitwear. That is not to say they are not used in suiting, outerwear or pants.


As someone in their twenties taking inspiration from traditional menswear however, I do enjoy these traditional colours, but I think I have a tendency to associate the 'standard' palette of greys, browns, beiges etc with 'dated' dressing. Of course, cut, silhouette, fabric etc makes a world of difference and they form the foundations of a wardrobe, certainly. Now though I'm looking for ways to add colour, but without coming off as too strong or doing so purely for attention, rather a deeper meaning pointing toward an aesthetic. I'm particularly attracted to deep blues, teal, turquoise shades of green, oranges, pinks, creams and some reds. I want to add these colours, but the previous is quite the mishmash and I would like to develop a coherent aesthetic that fits together with colour usage if that makes sense?
 

KOz

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Jul 4, 2022
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I'm trying to develop my wardrobe, and I'd like to hear how people use colour relating to this aesthetic. What do people view as the 'essential' colour palette of classic menswear and the incorporation of bolder colours? I think it's important to understand the 'rules' of a particular way of dressing so to speak if you at all intend to break them and introduce your own stylistic spin.


As far as my admittedly basic understanding is concerned, broadly speaking the 'base' colours are navy, grey, black, white, brown and earth tones. I get the sense that bolder colours are mainly reserved for accessories like scarves, handkerchiefs, ties, watches, socks and maybe knitwear. That is not to say they are not used in suiting, outerwear or pants.


As someone in their twenties taking inspiration from traditional menswear however, I do enjoy these traditional colours, but I think I have a tendency to associate the 'standard' palette of greys, browns, beiges etc with 'dated' dressing. Of course, cut, silhouette, fabric etc makes a world of difference and they form the foundations of a wardrobe, certainly. Now though I'm looking for ways to add colour, but without coming off as too strong or doing so purely for attention, rather a deeper meaning pointing toward an aesthetic. I'm particularly attracted to deep blues, teal, turquoise shades of green, oranges, pinks, creams and some reds. I want to add these colours, but the previous is quite the mishmash and I would like to develop a coherent aesthetic that fits together with colour usage if that makes sense?
Check out Armando Madrid's (@Betelgeuse) fantastic YT channel for inspiration:

 

TheIronDandy

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Oct 20, 2020
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I'm trying to develop my wardrobe, and I'd like to hear how people use colour relating to this aesthetic. What do people view as the 'essential' colour palette of classic menswear and the incorporation of bolder colours? I think it's important to understand the 'rules' of a particular way of dressing so to speak if you at all intend to break them and introduce your own stylistic spin.


As far as my admittedly basic understanding is concerned, broadly speaking the 'base' colours are navy, grey, black, white, brown and earth tones. I get the sense that bolder colours are mainly reserved for accessories like scarves, handkerchiefs, ties, watches, socks and maybe knitwear. That is not to say they are not used in suiting, outerwear or pants.


As someone in their twenties taking inspiration from traditional menswear however, I do enjoy these traditional colours, but I think I have a tendency to associate the 'standard' palette of greys, browns, beiges etc with 'dated' dressing. Of course, cut, silhouette, fabric etc makes a world of difference and they form the foundations of a wardrobe, certainly. Now though I'm looking for ways to add colour, but without coming off as too strong or doing so purely for attention, rather a deeper meaning pointing toward an aesthetic. I'm particularly attracted to deep blues, teal, turquoise shades of green, oranges, pinks, creams and some reds. I want to add these colours, but the previous is quite the mishmash and I would like to develop a coherent aesthetic that fits together with colour usage if that makes sense?

Ivy and preppy style have included both elements of classic menswear, as well as more colorful pieces (often sportswear). Polos, rugby shirts and cotton trousers can all come in more colorful variants. Keep in mind that because of this, some colors (like the nantucket red trousers) carry strong cultural associations in parts of the world.

Some possible ways to incorporate colors in a classic wardrobe would be:

Striped shirts. If a solid block of a stronger color is too much, look at stripes. A purple shirt might be attention grabbing, a white shirt with thin purple stripes is much easier. For more impact, go with broader stripes. For colder seasons, a flannel shirt can also be quite colorful (but might carry some lumberjack associations).

Knitwear. A knitted sweater can add some color to most outfits.

Chore coats and shirt jackets. For casual chick style, wearing tailored trousers with a more casual jacket option gives you a way to include some color without investing in brightly colored tailoring. French chore coats have been popular the last few years, and they seem to go well in royal navy blue.

If you really want tailored clothes in bright colors, look at tweeds and some flannels. These fabrics are usually a bit more rustic, and can be worn in brighter colors. They do carry a certain association to the English landed gentry though - quite old school.

Also, remember that black is not traditionally a color for menswear outside formalwear, mourning (black suits for funerals) and formal shoes. Cream, on the other hand, is quite common, especially in warmer months. But these rules are becoming far less important as tailoring itself is becoming a rarity.

Some brands known to combine classic style with some brighter colors:

https://www.drakes.com/
https://www.johnsmedley.com/ (knitwear)
https://foxflannel.com/collections/cloth-shop (fabrics - their flannels can be quite bright at times, though fox is expensive, and then you have to pay someone to make the fabric into a garment, which is even more so - still good for inspiration, though)
And of course Polo Ralph Lauren does a lot of color.
 

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