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What colours are best for you?

Written by Yvonne Roach
Co-founder and chief organiser
Picture of co-founder Yvonne Roach
 

When it comes to colour choice, there are a few tips all men can take into account. Once you've mastered these, it will be relatively easy to:

1. Buy the right colours for you
2. Combine colours together well
3. Get lots of compliments on your look

It's not just about which colour you choose to wear and how you combine colours it's also about how much contrast you can wear, depending on your skin, eye and hair colour. 

A simple way to understand colour is to remember that the human eye is drawn to harmony and balance when looking at the world so what you are trying to do is create harmony and balance between your physical look and the clothes you wear.

Let's start by looking at the basic colour wheel and how colours combine. We will then cover what 'contrast type' you are to help you select your colour combinations.

The Colour Wheel

Image: colorpositive.wordpress.com

 

The colour wheel, which was developed by Sir Isaac Newton in 1666, is the basis for all colour theory. The 12 colours are called “hues.”

Adding a little bit of white to any of these colours will make them lighter while adding a little bit of black will make them darker. In theory, all of these colours connect, so mixing them works, but knowing how to do that properly is what helps to create a co-ordinated look.

How to co-ordinate colour

There are 5 colour wheel concepts which will help you to coordinate colours effectively. 

5 colour wheel concepts

1. Core Colour – the dominant colour in a colour scheme. This would usually be the colour of a jacket or sweater.

2. Accent Colours – Secondary colours used in a colour scheme. Accent colours may be complementary, triad, analogous or neutral.

3. Complementary colours – colours that are direct across from one another on the colour wheel.

Colour wheel contrastImage: realmenrealstyle.com


4. Triad Colours – Three colours that are equidistant on the colour wheel.

Colour wheel triad

Image: realmenrealstyle.com


5. Analogous Colours – Colours that border each other on the colour wheel. 

 

colour wheel anagolousImage: realmenrealstyle.com

 

When we stick to these combination’s, it’s hard to go wrong.

Now you have a basic understanding of the colour wheel there's one more thing to take into account - what contrast are you? 

Understanding Men’s Contrast

Your hair colour, eye colour, and skin colour should be taken into account when considering the contrast within your outfit.

These three factors determine whether a man is of high, low, or medium contrast.

High Contrast Man

Men whose hair colour contrasts their skin colour greatly are high contrast men. Examples are men with dark hair and white skin. High contrast men should aim to also dress with high contrast.

An example could be a dark suit and a white/light dress shirt. Ties work well if they stand out.

Low Contrast Man

Men who have similar hair to eye and skin colour; this makes a much more subtle contrast. Examples are men with light hair and light skin and, bald men or and men with little hair. Low contrast men should dress with low contrast; a monochromatic (single colour) look.

An example could be a dark blue or earth-toned dress shirt with a dark suit. Ties should also be similar to the colour of your suit; too much contrast will distract from your face.

Medium Contrast Man

Men who don’t have a high contrast but do not have similar hair and eye colour usually fall into this category. Examples are dark skinned men with dark hair or light skinned men with white or grey hair.

As with high and low contrast, the medium contrast man should aim for medium contrast, but they can also explore and enjoy what both sides have to offer, being careful not to go to extremes.

For more detail on colour, there are stylists who are trained in colour analysis. This also looks at the tone of the colour you should wear, depending on your skin type and contrast. If you want to understand more about which colours work for you, we recommend you see a stylist.

For a defined look we would also recommend wearing a matched undershirt. An undershirt not only helps to protect your shirt, t-shirt or jumper from any sweat showing through, it also captures any deodorant marks to prevent these showing up on your expensive shirts.

If you are prone to sweating a sweat protect undershirt can also be fitted with disposable sweat pads to help keep you fresh all day.

What's the best undershirt colour to wear?

What matters the most when it comes to an undershirt is the comfort. The undershirt material makes a huge difference to comfort. We spent a lot of time choosing bamboo viscose as our undershirt fabric. It's lightweight, breathable and, most importantly, soft, soft, soft.

We also believe that your undershirt should match your shirt or skin colour. If you get this wrong your undershirt may be seen - something to be avoided.

Here are some tips; the undershirt colour rules!

White Undershirts

White is the most common colour, although it may not always be the best colour. White undershirts are okay to wear under nearly any colour shirt so if you aren't sure then stick with white. White is great under lighter coloured shirts, but it can show through if your shirt material is quite thin. If this is the case, you may consider matching your skin colour.

Tan 

Tan undershirts are great to wear under lighter coloured dress shirts, as they don’t show through as much. They are also good if you have light coloured skin. Generally, the closer the undershirt colour is to your skin the less you are likely to see it.

Light blue or grey

Light blue or grey undershirts can be worn under lighter coloured blue or grey shirts, allowing them to either match or provide a close contrast to your outer shirt. The advantage over white, for lighter shirt colours, is that any sweat is less likely to show through.

Navy blue or black

Navy blue or black undershirts are perfect to wear under black shirts or other dark shirt colours. They are also ideal if you have darker skin. It's stating the obvious but don't wear a dark undershirt if you have light skin and are wearing a white shirt.

FYI: Our midnight (navy) blue undershirt makes a great pyjama top for those of you who don't want to take off your super soft layer. Robert (designer of our undershirts) wears his all day and all night, so they are thoroughly tested!

Undershirts by Robert Owen made from bamboo viscose

 

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