Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spring Colors: My Picks

Back in the fall, I did a series of two posts (here and here) on fall colors - the industry 'color of the season,' was a forest or hunter green, while my own personal favorite was along the lines of a burgundy, maroon, or oxblood. I was hoping to do a similar set of articles for the spring season, and was brainstorming over the weekend when I realized just how similar my two favorite warm-weather colors this year are. In fact, you could even say that they are just a re-interpretation of those two fall colors, adapted and invigorated for the brighter, more lively color-ways that tend to dominate in the spring and summer.

When it comes to the green, fall called for a dark, dark green, sometimes with touches of brown that lent it even an olive color. This worked perfectly for fall, as bright green leafy trees give way to darker evergreens with a healthy dose of bare branches (see? dark green, hints of brown...this is easier than you think). Now, those same colors are giving away to bright new buds and are being given a healthy dose of sunshine. Similarly, the greens in your wardrobe should see some new life. Instead of reaching for those dark greens, pick something lighter...now, I'm not talking neon bright, or even pastel. Last year I was all about mint, and those days may come later this summer, but for now, it's just the emergence of color, so keep some air of subtlety. My favorite has been an almost sea-foam green, but not quite so light. Close to emerald, I guess, but a little more washed out. It's the kind of color that is bright and bold on it's own, but can easily be tempered by pairing it with a few neutrals. Here are some options to give it a try:

Frank and Oak has been killing this color already this season. I just grabbed a pair of green cords that are unfortunately no longer available, but they've still got this OCBD in a very subdued shade (BONUS: use this link for $25 off if this is your first purchase):
Jasper Oxford in Sea Green | Frank and Oak

The folks over at Dockers took this a bit more balls-to-the-wall. These chinos are definitely a bolder move, but like I mentioned, just adding a few neutral balances will keep everything in pretty safe territory (BONUS: These are currently ridiculously on sale):

Alpha Khaki in Water Wheel | Dockers

On the other hand, the fall took red and completely over-saturated it, again adding that touch of brown, for something dark, rich, almost heavy. The same logic applies, and as I write this, I think about how much out minds associate winter with death, or at least absence of life, as much in color as in nature. With spring comes new life, and therefore new color, and brightness. The burgundy and oxblood reflect, for lack of a better word, decay (while remaining handsomely attractive all along). Now that we are through the winter (kind of?), it's time to brighten the shade. Burgundy takes red to the dark extremes, but the color this spring will take red in the opposite direction. Still a big fan of subtlety, I'll avoid anything bright red, or even in your slightly-faded Nantucket red that is so inherent in prep style. Instead, I go for something that is, again, a little washed out. My favorite example here is a red chambray shirt. The white threads woven in with the red lighten the color, but not to a pink or orange. Instead, the color is just as red, but again the opposite of burgundy...undersaturated and kind of understated. I've been seeing the same thing lately in some chinos and canvas trousers, and every time I do, something else gets added to my wish-list. And again, it's a color that seems bright on it's own, but is easily muted by including balancing pieces in the rest of an outfit. Here are some items I found around the web:

This. Exactly what I'm talking about here, from GANT. Featured these in Deals and Steals a little while back, but had to pull them out again for this post:

Canvas Chino in Summer Coral | GANT

This pair of sneaks (by Vans, for J.Crew), is a bit deeper of a red, but that washed canvas is gonna fade and wear in beautifully:
Washed Canvas Authentic Sneaker | Vans for J.Crew

And yeah, I know the fashion-world is all about orange this spring, and I've seen it utilized in some pretty awesome ways, but it's a damn tough color to use, and can just as easy bring to mind chintzy halloween decorations as it can vibrant spring hues. Instead, I'm taking my own route and picking these two. Come summer, I expect to continue to see and use these tones, only in paler and paler reincarnations (think mint linen shirts and pastel red OCBD's). Until then, here you have it. I plan on following up in the next week or two with a post putting these colors in action, just like I did last year. 

Share your favorite seasonal colors in the comments!

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