The days of The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit are over, and, quite frankly, not a day too soon. At the same time, a full embrace of color can be a little too loud for the situation—we can’t make great first impressions by dressing like the Joker, can we? In fashion, as in life, moderation is everything. A conscious but careful deployment of vivid color can be far more effective and eye-catching. With these ways to add pops of color to your outfit, you can be colorful without wrapping yourself in the rainbow.
Start with a Monochromatic Base
First things first: when you surround your color with neutrals, it’s more effective. A magenta or canary-yellow pocket square will stand out as a burst of color against grey, charcoal, or black. While yes, matching complementary colors can make the most out of both, remember that the balance of fabric will be such that you’d have too much of your base color. Orange complements blue, it’s true, but an orange necktie on a blue shirt may be best left to the luxury box of a Chicago Bears game and not anywhere more serious than that.
That takes us to neckties, that old standby for personal expression. While neckties can be a canvas for the goofy and whimsical, like patterns of golf balls or a picture of one’s favorite Dr. Seuss character, slightly more elegant settings than office Christmas parties call for a more restrained touch. Whether you go for a solid color or a dynamic striping pattern, the right necktie could be all you need for a tasteful yet powerful burst of color.
Pop Once, and Pop Wisely
As we mentioned in our introduction, just as we get one chance to make a first impression, we get one chance to make a colorful statement with our outfits. Whether you use socks, pocket squares, neckties, or jewelry as your way to add a pop of color to your outfit, be very wary of overdoing it. Each successive piece of bright color reduces the efficacy of the others, and you introduce the possibility of clashing colors. And not allowing a clash is, of course, the only ban that matters.
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