Colour Law – Yellow Orange & Brown

Designer and style god Tom Ford said several seasons ago: “Men don’t need a lot of options, they just need the right options.” And for the most time, we’re inclined to agree. Contrary to what most fashion-forward people would have you believe, it’s actually the simple. Timeless and stylish pieces (which are worn correctly) will make you stand out. The true reality is that many men could have a wardrobe packed with as few as 19 items and still be recognised to be better dressed than 90% of the population.

However, there is always an exception to the rule and this theory doesn’t really come into play when it is applied to colour, as a natural instinct most men tend to be overly conservative and reserved. By now, we all know how easy it is to pull off neutral looks and layers that are composed of black, navy, grey and white. However, if you really want to stand out from the crowd , then it’s time to start embracing bolder tones and hues. If your still wandering around with a colour clampdown, here is the second and final part of our guide on how to ´successfully´ wear colour all year round.

Yellow The Colour Law

  1. Similar Colours (Easiest To Pair): Yellow greens and oranges.
  2. Contrasting Colours (Harder To Pair): Blues and mauve pinks.
  3. Complementary Colours (Hardest To Pair): Violets.
  4. Recommended: Neutrals – particularly white, pale grey, charcoal and navy.

Yellow is notoriously difficult to wear and often avoided, even by menswear’s most daring. Like orange and purple, yellow is a statement colour that needs to be used sparingly and anchored with neutrals. With this in mind, always look to control use of the hue with surrounding pieces in white, blue, grey, beige and charcoal. Perhaps more importantly, though, is finding a shade that doesn’t wash you out – especially if you’re of a fairer skin tone. While darker skin types will be able to pull off everything from corn flour to canary yellow, pale men need to be slightly more cautious. If this applies to you, try darker hues like mustard and gold, which should help lift your complexion.

As with green, those with olive skin should avoid anything too close to their skin colour or risk blending in with their clothing. Casual separates like cotton polo shirts, T-shirts, jumpers and shorts look great in yellow, particularly when combined with blues. If you feel like upping the ante, embrace your inner Nick Wooster and opt for a pair of statement shoes or trainers. You’ll be surprised how versatile they can be when teamed with dark denim or grey flannel trousers.

Orange The Colour Law

  1. Similar Colours (Easiest To Pair): Reds and yellows.
  2. Contrasting Colours (Harder To Pair): Mauve and blue greens.
  3. Complementary Colours (Hardest To Pair): Blue violets.
  4. Recommended: Earth tones, as well as grey, navy and black.

Orange may remind you of Halloween, but it needn’t be a horror story when it comes to pulling it off. The traditionally bright, citrusy shade has taken on a more burnt appearance in recent seasons, making it cooler than costume. While many wrongly wait for summer to reclaim orange from Dutch football fans, the autumn/winter months are in fact the perfect time to start putting the hue to work. Ease in by adding a jolt of colour to a standard grey or navy suit with a tie or pocket square, before graduating to knitwear and even coats.

Of course, the hi-vis look is not for everyone. Fortunately, there’s a complete spectrum of shades on offer: from almost-brown rust tones for pale skin, to bright coral and blood orange for darker complexions. However you wear it, be sure to add balance to any look by off-playing orange against neutral colours such as grey, navy and black.

Brown The Colour Law

  • Recommended: Blues and earth tones.

Although brown tends to remind us of History teachers and the less than savoury fashions of the 1970´s, attitudes have been changing in recent seasons thanks to designers making full use of it in their collections and the resurgence of fabrics like shearling. Despite not appearing on the colour wheel, the perfect partner to this classic neutral will always be blue. The pairing gives blue depth, while the brown appears richer. Additional colours that combine well include earthy hues such as burnt orange, green, khaki, mustard and beige.

Although there’s a shade of brown that will work well with pretty much every skin tone, those with olive or dark complexions will want to avoid hues too close to the colour of the skin as it can make it appear dull and faded. Brown is likely already present in your wardrobe in some, albeit small way, so why not try upping your quotient with some tan corduroys or chinos, a chocolate brown leather jacket, dark camel merino crew neck jumper or even a simple pair of russet brogues or desert boots?

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