Summer Colors Part 2: Rethinking Neutrals
Most of the advice that you’d get on the blogo-(note to self: come up with funny ending for word) is geared toward neutrals. I’ve read at least 3 separate articles about how blue shirts are the only shirts you need. This is good advice. Neutrals are valuable wardrobe staples because they are easily mixed and matched and (usually) “go with everything”. In this second installment of my Summer Colors series, I’m looking at different items that are surprisingly easy to mix and match, but still colorful.
Stay in the cool side of the color wheel - this means blues, greens and purples. These colors aren’t that difficult to match, and provide great contrast with bright, warm colors.
Look at the picture above. Except for maybe purple gingham over purple cords, all of those items can be mixed and matched. And they can all match equally well with an eye-popping orange jersey, or a gray cotton sweater.
I’ve actually worn that green cords/green gingham/green chucks combo and it’s really not that outlandish. The more “sagey” color of the cords stays in the slate/stone chino realm (or corduroy realm in this case) while the green of the sneakers is different enough to provide contrast (and brightness). The gingham shirt offers enough difference in color and pattern to not seem overwhelmingly monochromatic, which brings us to the second point…
Strong patterns serve to break up bold colors - It might seem like you should be getting bold colors on their own, not adding another eye catching element (like gingham). However, as you can see above in the shirts photo, with really bright colors, a strong pattern like gingham (or a bold stripe) is probably a better option since the addition of white throughout the color tones it down without turning it into a “muted” color (which is the opposite of what we’re looking for in this case)
If you’re interested in adding bright colors to your wardrobe I would say start with shoes and belts, then move onto bright gingham shirts or some deep hued (as in pure color, with no gray/black/white) chinos or corduroys (which works in colder climates too, I periodically wear cords through the summer on cooler days/nights).
Sidenote: I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Nantucket Reds (in fact I’m wearing a pair of bright red chinos as I type this). I’m not wild about them. They’re a “safer” choice for bright color in that they have a long history. But they also have a long tradition that I don’t have a stake in (I’ve never summered on Nantucket, in fact I’ve only been there once). My feeling? Wear them if you want, they’re a nice colorful item. I’ma stick with my raspberry red chinos though.