“A well-tied tie is the first serious step in life,” said Oscar Wilde. “Looking good isn’t self-importance; it’s self-respect,” said Charles Hix. These two acclaimed writers agreed that style is anything but superficial. On the contrary, a carefully designed and constructed suit can make an incredible difference in the way you impact those around you. A finely tailored custom suit is not style over substance but style introducing your substance.
How is that style defined, though? One of the primary elements of style that can be exhibited in a suit or other garment is seasonal color. It helps to look at color through two different standardized approaches.
Seasonal color approach #1: personal
Many men do not want to hear about the particular color that might fit a season, since the discussion of seasonal clothing is often framed in terms of women’s fashion. All clothing can be said to belong within certain seasonal categories, though – with some being more “autumn” or “spring” than others, etc. In fact, clothing can be assessed along seasonal lines in relationship to the wearer’s skin tone (not to be confused with skin color).
Here is how clothing is grouped in terms of seasonal complexion:
- Spring – light-colored hair and eyes that aligns well with yellow-toned skin;
- Summer – blue-toned skin that forms a gentle contrast with eyes and hair;
- Autumn – dark hair with yellow-toned skin, resulting in strong contrast;
- Winter – hair and eyes that contrast strongly with blue-toned, often pale skin.
Seasonal color approach #1: broad
Part of the reason that men are often unconcerned with wearing an outfit that fits the season is that fashion expectations have changed, for men as well as women. No one is going to whisper to the person next to them disapprovingly if you walk into a room wearing November’s color in April. However, a dark shirt and suit will typically not be the right choice for a summer patio party, while light blue attire would come across as a bit out-of-place at a holiday party.
Here is how to look at seasonal colors in terms of the supposed “right color” for that time of year:
- Spring – These colors should be warm and light: yellow, pink, and any warm pastels.
- Summer – Summer is about cool, light Veer toward purple, blue, and green.
- Autumn – Dark, warm colors, such as brown, burnt orange, and dark red. Think fall leaves.
- Winter – Black, grey, navy blue, and pine green are examples of dark, cool winter colors.
These seasonal colors are not rules really, as indicated by Real Men Real Style. Thus, you should not feel you have to follow them religiously or necessarily at all. Also be aware that these two ways of categorizing clothing color do not correspond. A winter-toned person should not wear the dominant winter colors all the time, for instance.
Beyond color: rules for men’s style
How can you wow everyone with your sense of style? Here are some general style rules to expand beyond color and guide you as you figure out your outfits for day-to-day and important events throughout the year:
Rule #1: Consistency is the key. Variation in your wardrobe is smart of course. However, the bottom line should not be variation but consistency of your appearance – that you always look great.
Rule #2: A tie can seal the deal. Whenever you are interviewing, seeking investors, or in any way want someone to feel that you are a good place to put their money, you want to have on a striking suit and tie.
Rule #3: Do not stop at black. Black shoes are important when you are wearing a black suit. However, when your suit is tan, blue, or gray, brown shoes (whether chocolate or chestnut or caramel) will make you look more stylish. Try to have the belt match as well, in the same manner.
Rule #4: Let the lapel define your tie. Generally, the width of the lapel will help you zero in on the width of your tie. If the lapel is thick, so should the tie be; if the lapel is narrow, again, the tie should be as well.
Rule #5: Remember that your hair is part of your outfit. The typical recommendation is to get it cut every 6 weeks. The alternative is to wait to notice that you are in need of a cut, which means you have a week or two when you are looking a bit overgrown.
Rule #6: You need at least one powerful suit. Andre Johnson, son of former NBA great Magic Johnson, says that the suit is a wardrobe centerpiece. “Have a go-to suit,” he said. “[K]now you can’t go wrong in your best suit and tie.”