Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Incorporating Fall Colors

Every year, the style world decrees a color or two as The Color of the fall. On top of that, you have a small handful of staple seasonal colors that just work best in these cooling months. Now, you might think that working these colors into your every-day wear is easy, but I personally find it helpful to stick to at least some semblance of a method. Mainly, I try to keep purely seasonal selections away from my closet staples. Instead, I prefer to have a solid foundation of year-round foundation pieces (i.e. trousers and dress shirts), and then use my accessories and embellishments to turn those foundation pieces into a seasonal outfit. To help you folks do the same, I put together the following suggestions for incorporating two key colors into your wardrobe:

Forest Green - The Fashion World's Favorite Fall Color (this year):

This year, the aforementioned Color of the Season has been widely proclaimed to be a dark, woodsy green. Now, I do have a pair of forest green chinos that have actually turned out to be pretty versatile year-round, but when it comes to this particular fall favorite I tend to turn to layering options. Something about a dark green canvas jacket, cardigan, or shawl neck sweater is perfect for getting your office-ready outfit to exude a vibe that's a bit more campfire and bit less conference-call.

A pricier option, but this olive cable-knit is exactly what you're looking for.
The Green Byrne Shawl Sweater by Ledbury | $225 

You can keep these items versatile past the edges of fall, which is nice as well. When we start getting snow falling instead of leaves, layering is still your friend, if not more so. Come spring, you'll be back in transition mode and some green in your gear will help you look forward to fresh spring foliage.

Want something a bit subtler, and perhaps easier on the wallet? Try some knit gloves, scarves or hats.

Titletown Wool PLaid INset Gloves by Lands End | $80.00 $24.99
I tend to struggle picking these items out, as I don't want my gloves looking like an extension of my coat (in grey, brown or black), but also don't want to look like I have clown hands (bright colors, stripes, etc.). Here, I've found that a dark green is the perfect balance.

Other ideas: Been interested in trying out that camo trend? Get a subtle piece in a dark green motif to satisfy both leanings. I'm not big on the camo look myself, but I can be sold on certain pieces.

Camo Belt by J. Crew Factory | $29.50 $24.50
A slim tie, for example, or canvas belt, or nylon watch strap, can all be great touches to rough up a sharp casual look. Just keep it small and subtle.

I've also been dying to grab a dark green pocket square, and have one on the way from J. Crew right now. My preferred jacket colors come in various shades of brown and blue, both of which could benefit from a hint of forest green to bring the look down to earth.

(EDITORS NOTE: Forgot to mention, Peter Field also offers a great camo pocket square. Check it out here)

Burgundy - My Favorite Fall Color (every year):

As I've written in previous posts, my personal favorite fall color goes by many names: burgundy, oxblood, maroon, cordovan, etc. I love the warmth of this color, especially on cool fall days. Green evokes images of camping, blue of cool collegiate tailgates, but burgundy brings to mind that cozy feeling that you can't really get all summer without suffocating in the sweltering heat.

Anyways, my favorite way to incorporate this into an outfit is through your leather wear, largely because you can. Trying to get out of browns and blacks with shoes can be tricky. You can find some grey suedes, and these days navy blue leather is starting to pop up more often, but it's really hard to wear these as regularly as you would your standard leathers. Enter a pair of oxblood cap-toes (or even better, cap-toe boots).

The Melton Cap-Toe by Johnston & Murphy | $175.00
Not far enough from brown to stick out like a sore thumb, but just red enough to not fade into the woodwork, you also get the added benefit that oxblood shoes pair with a navy suit better than any other color leather. With my first navy suit on the way, a pair of oxblood Johnston & Murphy's was an easy choice for me this year. I found a pair just like the ones above for $30 on eBay. Woop woop.

If shoes are a bit out of your budget (even on eBay), scale down to a belt. This point may be arguable, but I don't find it entirely necessary to match oxblood leather with oxblood leather the same way I would brown or black shoes and belt.

Bernard Slim Belt by Frank and Oak | $45.00
Personally, I would have no problem wearing black shoes with a burgundy belt, or vice versa. The trick is to find two leathers that compliment but don't blend. You want contrast without clashing. Your best bet is trial and error...just keep trying combos until you find something that looks good. Sometimes it's just that simple.

Other Ideas:

I recently dove into the colored-laces world, and pretty quickly stepped back out. I think I caught the tail end of the trend and it's starting to feel overplayed. However, burgundy laces still find their way into my rotation pretty often.
Burgundy Shoelaces by The Tie Bar | $3.00

I think they look great with a pair of lighter-brown shoes. Once again, it's in the way the colors work together. The burgundy (as opposed to say, orange, or lime green) laces don't distract, but they give some visual variety. At the same time, they are just different enough from the brown leather to actually be noticeable, and not look like you're trying (but failing) to match.

If you're looking for something a bit more formal, just grab a burgundy tie and socks. Preferably a knit tie. I got one from The Tie Bar last fall, and never stopped wearing it. The very best kind of seasonal accessory: one you can wear all year long.

My final suggestion: Mix and match these two colors! Try oxblood shoes and belt, with a green tie or (or, not and) pocket square.

What are your go-to fall colors? Have any great seasonal buys on the way? Share in the comments!

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