Last week, we discussed Becoming the Well Dressed Man – Fit here. Remember the three elements involved? Fit, color and personal style in this order. This time around we move on to the second aspect, which deals with knowing your ‘color’.
With color, aim to achieve harmony between your skin tone and the color of clothes you wear because the human eye, when looking at the world around us, is always drawn to balance and harmony. Picture the white and blue color balance of the sky or the harmony of earthy tones of green leaves and sand brown here.
How can this be achieved, I hear you asking. Start by determining your dominant coloring characteristics. This has to do with understanding the relationship between your hair, eye and skin tone. A color analysis from your stylist or image consultant will provide this information. If you don’t have one or yours can’t offer this service, you can get one done here.
Clotheslines and fashion designers use this information as guide when creating collections.
Unlike women, we don’t have the benefit of makeup and hair coloring to define our looks so the majority of men fall into six color types – light, deep, warm, cool, clear and muted.
There is a possibility that you might fall between two types like myself, although my dominant coloring is deep I have traits of clear. In such a case, consider your career and lifestyle as the deciding factors for what coloring to use as your dominant.
For instance, if you are not sure whether you are light or muted and you happen to be an accountant, you may decide that the muted palette is more appropriate for you because it’s a bit more subdued. You will understand more about this as you read on.
Please note that majority of Nigerian men will be either deep, cool, clear and possibly muted due to our extra dose of melanin.
The Dominant Color Types for Men
The Light Man: Famous examples include – Owen Wilson, Bruce Willis, Boris Becker and Paul Bettany. Nigerians would not fall under this category. The light man may have some of the following characteristics:
- Light to medium blonde hair or minimal hair
- Light eyebrows and lashes, possibly light beard growth
- Pale, peachy and delicate skin which may be sensitive
- Pale blue, grey or green eyes
The Deep Man: Famous examples include – Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, Lewis Hamilton, Olamide, Falz the Bahd Guy, Don Jazzy, Johnny Depp, Tiger Woods and Cristiano Ronaldo. The deep man may have some of the following characteristics:
- Dark brown to black hair
- Dark facial hair
- Strong and rich skin ranging from pale, to olive through to the darkest brown
- Dark eyes
- Two dark colors may be worn together; also light and dark but avoid two light shades together.
- A strong look is always recommended.
The Warm Man: Famous examples include – Prince Harry, Ed Sheeran, Paul Scholes and Rupert Grint. Nigerian men hardly fall under this category – maybe an albino or a light-skinned man with blonde hair. The warm man may have some of the following characteristics:
- Ginger blonde, auburn or red toned hair
- A beard that grows gingery and perhaps ginger eyebrows
- Pale skin with freckles
- Blue, green or brown eyes
The Cool Man: Famous examples include – Richard Mofe Damijo, Emeka Ike, Pete edochie, M.I. Abaga, George Clooney, Usain Bolt, Richard Gere and Barack Obama. The cool man may have some of the following characteristics:
- Grey or white hair, black hair and could be bald.
- Facial hair that is either black and could be with flecks of grey or white
- Rosy or pink tones to the skin, or a bluish/greyish undertone to the skin.
- Blue, black, grey or cool brown eyes
- All colors are best with blue/cool undertones.
- Avoid anything that is yellow/warm based.
The Clear Man: Famous examples include – D’banj, Phyno, Teckno, Flavour, Ian Somerhalder, Will Smith, Novak Djokovic and Eddie Murphy. As stated earlier, I including Ebuka Obi-Uchendu have the clear man traits. The clear man may have some of the following characteristics:
- Dark hair (black or brown)
- Dark eyebrows and lashes
- Porcelain skin tones, or darker skin with a clear complexion
- Bright blue, green, topaz or clear brown/black eyes.
- Light and dark colors look best.
- Overall look should mostly be contrasting.
- Bright clear colors are wonderful on you.
- Avoid muted tones.
The Muted Man: Famous examples include – Ik Ogbonna, 2baba, Alex Usifo, Brad Pitt, George Wilson, Jamie Cullum and David Beckham. The muted man may have some of the following characteristics:
- Dark blonde to mid-brown hair or could be bald
- Dark blonde to dark brown eyebrows and lashes
- Light to olive skin
- Blended tones of blue, green, black, grey or brown eyes
- Medium depth colors always work well for you.
- Muted shades will balance your look; strong contrasting colors will overpower.
Everyone can wear every color but your individual coloring will affect whether you opt for lighter or darker shades, warm or cool undertones and what strength that color should be.
To make it easier for men to pick the colors that suit them the most, we designed the shirt prescription section on the retail website, to enable visitors that understand their coloring pick, with confidence, the right colors for them. Simply use the filters on the left to narrow down your search.
The color you wear near your face (either a shirt or jacket) is important because it reflects that color upwards – this could either complement your eyes and skin tone or cast shadows.
By understanding your dominant coloring and how colors work together, you will be able to shop efficiently and assemble a coordinated wardrobe with fewer clothes but more complementing combinations to wear. This is not always obvious to an untrained eye.
Also, note that, as time goes by and you get older, occurrences like your hair thinning, greying or falling off will alter your dominant coloring. For instance, you may have been ‘deep’ with a full head of dark hair, but if you go grey you’ll likely become ‘cool’ as your look will have lightened.
President Barack Obama is a perfect example; remember what he looked like before he came into office, he was classified as a ‘clear’ then, now he has greyed into ‘cool’!
Okeluem Felix Onatu trained as a men’s image consultant in London. He buys into the idea of minimalism or ‘less is more’. His style is simple and classy with a bit of originality. Felix runs a menswear line offering men’s casual and formal shirts on Qollars.com. He blogs at www.freshsqollar.com and can be reached via Instagram on @Qollars.