Colors bring joy to life. This is clearly experienced when one lives in a world of gray carpeted cubicle walls, gray carpeted floors, and bare white walls while hunched over a desk under some fluorescent lighting. This lack of color, this environmental stagnation is the arbiter of depression, introversion, and the utter inability to motivate oneself past the bare minimum to meet expectations.
The black and white of the world connotes the introductory example, and when colors are brought into the equation all of a sudden a sense of wanting to live and experience the joys existence has to offer explode in front of our very senses as the chains of that 9-5 train are torn asunder by the desire to explore strange new worlds...To seek out new life; new civilizations...To boldly go-...yes.
How does all of this relate to fashion; well it's simple. The aforementioned is an example of how black and white typically means something standard, conventional, within the norm, in-the-box, and usually worn at funerals. This is not to say that this combination does not have its place in our wardrobes. It definitely does. After all, a well-fitted tuxedo with a nice black bow tie will look exquisite, a black suit is a basic piece of many in the professional world, a black sports coat over a nice white OCBD makes for a great casual ensemble, black shoes are the staple and foundation of many men's footwear. I could go on with sundry examples, but I don't want to stray too far from the idea I'm trying to convey here.
Introduce some colors into your life's closet. Sure, outdoor activities are great to lift one's spirits, but does that black suit and tie really blend in with that beautiful sunny blue sky and mirror-like crystal clear lake scenario? I submit that it does not. Therefore, in this age of endless options, it is time to spice up the pantry of your fashion sense with new colorful herbs and ingredients. This isn't to say that clown uniforms are in vogue, but that there are many underrated colors that have hitherto not enjoyed the monopoly that others have in your life's wardrobe palette.
Colors will reinvigorate your own style, attract more compliments (if the pieces are well put together of course), and restore a new equilibrium to the axis in which your closet rotates. There are several options available in almost all articles of clothing. Let's however focus on three key ones and an extremely under appreciated one.
The roots of any outfit are the pants, literally, and figuratively speaking since they are what links us to our feet which are held to the earth by a naturally occurring force labeled as gravity by human science. Ergo, this cornerstone article is an important one and can serve as the basis for the rest of your color combination. A great casual pair of pants are Chinos which nowadays are available in myriad colorful selections. These are produced in very bright and bold colors such as yellow, pink, light blue, orange, white, and also in strong colors like red, cobalt blue, burgundy green, among others. Most of these colors with the exception of white of course, will pair well with a white OCBD shirt. This will set you apart from the rest of the gentlemen that are too shy to express their inner richness outwardly in what they wear by keeping it toned down and conservative with their gray, black, or denim. Considering it is winter time, instead of Chinos, this style can be applied to corduroy pants. One caveat to note is that the quieter colors should be reserved for cooler weather.
Shirts are another area where many don't seem to venture out of the norm. However, there is hope as colorful shirts seem to be much more prevalent than colorful pants. The colors may also not only be solid, but a patterned combination such as a tattersall, gingham, striped, or plaid shirt. One definite style to avoid are shirts with graphics on them and any other outlandish features that make the inside of the collar and cuff look like a pattern reminiscent of a circus tent. Instead, although certainly appreciated by Barnum & Bailey, keep your selection within the norm of patterns. Also, ensure that the shirts themselves are not a color which glistens or reflects light like many found on the bodies of middle aged men hitting on college girls at bars and clubs. Please, no platinum shirts. A more toned down, but light version of a yellow (pale-yellow) or a mint green would be perfect choices to wear during the day. Light blues are great as well in any pattern. One of my favorite patterns is gingham. There seems to be no color in gingham that does not work.
Sweaters are the other integral piece of cold weather fashion and layering them on right will be like the icing on that style cake. They are available in a variety of styles and materials just like most pieces of clothing. However, I prefer to limit the choices to v-necks, cardigans, and crew necks. Patterns in my opinion are a no go here and solids are the best option. Argyle sweaters just reek of country club shenanigans and Carlton Banks. Fair Isle patterns do have their place, but one must err on the side of caution so as to not revive the previous statement made about Barnum & Bailey. Certain Fair Isle sweaters look great and have just the right combination of color as well, others in the meantime look like the result of a unicorn throwing up a less colorful rainbow on a shirt that is then sown together by a seamstress with an advanced case of Parkinson's during and earthquake. Also, beware of the colors of the shirt to be worn under the sweater. Blue on blue may work depending on the shading, but don't over do it and end up looking like a radioactive Oreo cookie.
Lastly, the one underrated item which welcomes all types of fashion shenanigans when it comes to the freedom it enjoys when boasting sundry ridiculous patterns and colors, are socks. They are downplayed too much by a majority of men. However, it can make one stand out that much more (refer to my previous blog post here). Typically, the socks are an extension of the pants (see here), but outside of the black with something resembling black argument, the socks can wander off into the tired and over used reference in this article; Barnum & Bailey. In other words, those polka dotted, rainbow striped, Fair Isle patterned socks say to its observer: "I'm a professional, but when the time calls for it, deep down, I know how to rock."
One big thing to remember about the pants, the sweaters, and the shirts are that they all should be worn with confidence and pulled off well with a great fit. No billowy shirts under a one-size too large yellow sweater unless you want to look like a certain sesame street character. Also, for my MC Hammer fans out there, your pants should always have a straight or slimmer fit. In conclusion, remember to bring some flavor and colors into your packet of lifesavers when it comes to clothing. After all, can you imagine how much less Wrigley would profit from their famous candy if they were all just gray, black, and white?