What color percentage should be in your wardrobe?
What is it like to have a well-balanced color wardrobe? This comes from my book, “A Man's Guide to Color”
This is a general guide. It's a good place to start, but this is probably a conservative professional who would be introducing these colors.
If you're in a creative field, why not introduce more color?
The Confusion in the Color of Men's Wardrobe
The color wheel.
Any of us that have really wanted to introduce color to our wardrobes, it's confusing because look at the percentages of lime green, yellow, orange, red. Honestly, if we follow these and we went with these percentages, we would be dressing like a clown.
The color wheel isn't designed to give you a percentage of what color should be in your wardrobe, but the way it's presented, that we feel that it is.
I have my artist break out the percentages of white, grey, navy blue, black, blue, brown, green, purple, red, yellow, and orange, and the variance of each of those colors that should be in your wardrobe.
This is an average guy. Many of you out there will want more color and many of you out there will want less.
What's it like to have a well-balanced wardrobe, in terms of colors?
WHITE – 20%
White, 20% of your wardrobe, okay. This is going to be your underwear, your skivvies, all that stuff that goes on underneath. In addition, you need to have a steady collection of white shirts. They go with anything.
They're basically like a clean palette that you can draw. They're a blank canvass. I'm not saying you need to have white pants or a white jacket. No. Again, 20% of your wardrobe sounds like a lot and it's the one with the biggest percentage, but there are others.
GREY – 18%
Grey comes in many variance, so we've got from light grey to charcoal grey. Grey should be your first suit, if not navy blue.
It's great for having some grey flannel trousers, introducing perhaps a grey sports jacket. This is a solid color that should make up and I see used a lot in suits and in jackets of that sort.
NAVY BLUE – 14%
Navy blue falls with suits. It can go with odd trousers that you decide to wear. I like grey for trousers, but navy blue works as well. Some of you will find that navy blue is just going to work better for your complexion.
For the older men, it definitely gives them a younger feel, so navy blue is going to be — and again, I'm talking more professional colors right now.
BLACK – 13%
Some of you are going to find that black is going to go much higher. You're going to prefer black over navy blue or over greys.
I like black simply because with the right complexion, it works. I can tell you that if this gentleman didn't have his hair slick down, it's very easy for him to be overwhelmed by this black color. I think he's wearing this outfit at night. It's a little bit too much black for me, but when you're in the movie industry, you can pull off a lot of this stuff.
If you have dark complexion and you have black hair, black is going to be a great evening color for you, one that you'll be able to pull off. And again, for many men, this is going to be even a higher percentage than 13% and they're going to pull back on greys and pull back on navy blues.
BLUE – 12%
Now blues, not to be confused with navy blue. This is going to be your light blue. This is going to be your indigo. This is your blue jeans, your blue shirts along with maybe light blue trousers if you decide to go with something like that.
Blue is a staple color. How we haven't really brought in any of those lime greens or oranges yet?
BROWN – 10%
Brown isn't for every man, but I find if you have brown hair, you should strongly consider brown sports jackets, tan trousers. All these things are going to work, so tans, browns, they all fall in here together.
GREEN – 7%
Green, olive, fatigue, military-looking greens. They have a very military feel, so they become a very strong, masculine look. These olive greens, these solid greens are very masculine color with a military heritage.
PURPLE, RED, YELLOW, ORANGE – 6%
The remaining 6%, purple, red, yellow, and orange. So instead of taking up half of your wardrobe, these in my opinion should be a much smaller percent. These are accent pieces.
These are like spices and you can bring in some loud sweaters occasionally or a polo shirt that's got a bit more color in it, but I like to reserve this for ties, for pocket squares, for accessories like socks that are less expensive and you can rotate through.
Color Wardrobe Advice
You could be wearing a very simple navy suit with a white shirt and you could change out that tie every day of the week. You can get away with everything else being the same except for that tie, and probably no one is going to notice.
They're just going to think that you have a pretty simple collection of suits, and there are guys that probably do that. So guys, remember, colors like these are like spice. You don't have to add a whole lot to your wardrobe.
Where do you use color in your wardrobe and where do you maybe disagree with me?
Where do you agree?
What can you add to the conversation?