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Understanding Contrast and Colour

The colour of a man’s dress shirt is usually the first thing you notice about him.  Ideally, this colour will draw your eyes to his face.  Unfortunately, many men choose colours that detract from their facial features or make them appear washed out.  Rather than choosing colours based on habit or personal preference, a man who wants to make the greatest impact with this clothing needs to understand which colours are the most complementary to his individual features.

Skin tone, hair colour and in some cases eye colour should determine the colours of a man’s wardrobe.  According to the degree of contrast between these three features, a man’s colouring can be categorized as high, medium or low contrast.


High Contrast Colouring

There is a high degree of contrast between hair and skin colour in men with high contrast colouring.  The most common case is dark hair with fair skin.  High contrast men look best when their clothing mirrors the contrast in their features.  From example, a dark suit worn with a white dress shirt or a gray suit paired with a dark shirt.  Men with high contrast colouring can wear neckties that contrast with their dress shirt.


Christian Bale                                                                                    Robert Pattinson


Low Contrast Colouring

 Men with low contrast colouring present a more subdued appearance.  They may have light blonde or red hair and fair skin or they may be bald.  These men should strive for low contrast in their colour choices, combining monochromatic pieces of clothing.  For example, a dark blue suit with a dress shirt in an equally dark earth tone, or a light gray suit with a lightly coloured dress shirt. If a white dress shirt is worn, the suit should be lightly coloured.  Neckties should fit into this monochromatic scheme rather than contrasting with suit or tie.


Will Smith                                                                                           Daniel Craig


Medium Contrast Colouring

Many men fall into the category of medium contrast colouring.  This would include men with olive skin and brown hair.  There are no hard and fast rules for this group of men – they can follow the rules for either high or low contrast colouring.  For medium contrast men, eye colour can be used to add a complementary shade to a high or low contrast combination of colours.

Chris Pine                                                                                                                 Shia LaBeouf


Armed with an understanding of how contrast and colour determine the success or failure of personal style, any man can build a wardrobe that will best complement his features.

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March 2019
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