A Touch of Color

As I am standing in line to enter the Colosseum, my eyes are immediately drawn to a certain young lady. I laugh, cringe and even appreciate the confidence of this young lady standing a few feet ahead. It would be hard for anyone to miss her as she stands there in silver, orange, and black casual shoes, wearing silver tights, a baby blue shirt, and a white rabbit fur vest. To say the least, she is not a reflection of the 15,000 other people standing around. This is not the colorful arena of the Hunger Games.

I have received great outreach from the readers of this blog asking how to best improve their day-to-day style through the use of brighter colors. After much deliberation, I have come to the conclusion that it is best not to go from 0 to 60 like the woman in line in front of me at the Colosseum.

Sometimes, a more conservative approach allows you to be successful in all settings and is one still well within your comfort zone. I have stood by this strategy especially in a professional setting because I never want to be the brightest guy in the room. Simply put, I do not want my clothing to detract or defame the colloquial that I am asked to deliver.

The challenge that we all share is that we do not want to be uniform. Our clothing is our second skin, an expression of our personal brand. Successful men like you and I have not made it to our current position by living a life of mediocrity and being mixed in with the content.

So, here are my thoughts on conquering this divide…

First, the weekend allows for a bit more self-character than the weekday. If you work in an office setting, then the clothing you wear Monday-Friday is most often different than the clothing you wear on the weekend. I mean, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, yes? So, the same can be said for the clothing you wear during this weekend of debauchery. Nevertheless, if you want to brighten up your style, then your only option is to wear brighter colors.

How to best accomplish this while being prepared for life’s organic surprises?

As part of your look, include a jacket, tie, pocket square, scarf, hat and/ or bag that can be taken off, or be put aside. Now, a real-life example always paints a better picture, so I’m going to share with you my story.

Yesterday, I received a last-minute invite to an industry happy hour. Without thinking about it, I threw on a pair of dark dress shoes, black slacks, and a navy cardigan. It was a bit chilly out, so I grabbed my Luminary Jacket by CADOGAN, which is a bright orange all-purpose, waterproof jacket with shiny black metal trims. When I arrived at the reception, an audience in almost all black greeted me. Of the 20 people present, the person that really stretched the color spectrum was in heather grey. There I stood in a bright orange jacket, quite frankly caught a bit off guard. It was like I was the light in the room. Fortunately, it was a quick fix. I had two options, either coat check or place my jacket firmly on the back of a chair. In this case, I coat checked. Nevertheless, given the impression I was seeking with this audience, I was in no hurry to stand out.

In summary, if you want to brighten up your look, but still want to be in control, then focus on jackets or your accessories. The beauty of these pieces is that they allow you to be adaptable.

As for the other extreme: if you are trying to make a statement and be the loudest person in the room, go for it and rock that Luminary Jacket until you have nudged elbows with all of your new friends.

P.S. For my women readers, I would say this concept pertains to you as well. Of the 5 ladies at this happy hour, 4 of the 5 were in black and the 5th was in heather grey. Based on this color math, I still would have been the only attendee making my rounds and blinding everyone in sight.

Photos Credits: Penguins by National Geographic, James Harden by GQ