Evolution in the realm of fashion has brought about countless new color freedoms and opportunities for men. When a man knows how to utilize color, he can create a signature style that reflects his personality and makes him look his absolute best. Increasing numbers of men have started to take charge of their outfit and color selections, and they have discovered the many benefits that come from making their own style choices. But despite having more possibilities than ever before, it's still important for a man to follow proven standards. Below are guidelines for the best men's business colors to use when building a wardrobe.

Regardless of a person’s gender, image is everything. Your visual presence will impact the way others perceive you – for better or worse. Remember that colors send out powerful messages to other people, and that you’ll say a lot about yourself through the colors you choose to wear. Communicating with the right business colors can be a very powerful tool so make sure to use it to your advantage when coordinating your corporate attire.

Suited for Success

Because many professions require employees to dress conservatively, men should base their business wardrobes around traditional, interchangeable colors. These versatile hues are appropriate to wear in any environment. In addition to providing the foundation for your wardrobe, these classic colors possess enough of a mix to keep your outfits from looking drab. Think of charcoal gray, khaki, black, navy blue, taupe, and dark brown. A man can also incorporate certain varieties of eggplant, wine, or forest green.

While for most businesses, a wardrobe will be built around these color staples, you still have the liberty of exploring some additional color choices. Working some splashes of vibrant color into your shirt selections and/or tie patterns is perfectly acceptable, and it can really set you apart from the rest. Where flashy or unconventional color only if they are accepted in your industry. In the financial field the attire on these men could be distracting or look out of place. I the fashion or design markets, it is not only accepted but admired.

Go Bold With Your Men's Business Colors

In order to integrate bright colors appropriately, it’s important for you to become familiar with the shades that are most flattering on you. Often these are the colors you may like already because we are naturally attracted to the colors that look best on us.

When using bright accent colors like classic red, sunny yellow, or teal, make sure to choose low-key, subtle patterns. Thin stripes, tiny paisley prints, and small polka-dots work best. Also, a man shouldn’t be intimidated to wear accent colors with feminine names. There are some shades of rose, pink, and/or violet that will look extremely appealing on you!

Foolproof Men’s Business Wear Looks

When attempting to decide what goes with what, it’s a good rule of thumb to go with classic combinations. Leatrice Eiseman lists several “foolproof” men’s business wear looks in her book, More Alive with Color:

  • Solid suit, patterned shirt, solid tie
  • Solid suit, patterned shirt, solid tie
  • Solid suit, patterned tie, solid shirt
  • Solid suit, solid shirt, solid tie (only if one element is colorful or contrasting, for example, navy suit, sky blue shirt, wine-colored tie)

These classic pairings always look great, and if you mix and match the items in your wardrobe, you’re sure to come up with countless ways of putting them together.

There are some common mistakes you should veer away from when bringing together the clothes in your business wardrobe.

  • Pairing slightly different shades of the same color (e.g., taupe shirt, khaki pants, and khaki tie) can make you look washed out and monochromatic. A business outfit needs at least two colors that have different undertones – that is, two colors that aren’t simply lighter or darker versions of the same color.
  • It’s important to consider the overall feel, textures, and patterns of the clothes you decide to pair together. Wearing clothes with bold patterns in alternating directions, mismatched textures (light silks with heavy wool fabrics, for example), and/or contrasting moods will make your look appear unfinished and/or badly coordinated.

Exuding an aura of polished professionalism through a well-developed signature style is especially important for men in the world of business. Creating a traditional business wardrobe with accents in your favorite, most flattering colors will enable you to increase your level of confidence. You’ll also be able to convey your message and establish your signature style while making a powerful first impression.

Feature Image Credit: iStockphoto

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Kate Smith
Kate Smith is an optimistic, expressive, artist, designer, writer and color fanatic. With her warm and witty style, Kate teaches you to clearly see, understand and be inspired by color. Then she guides you step-by-step to develop your own unique color sense-ability and achieve results you never dreamed possible.