In the great renunciation of style in the 19th century, western society tossed out of the male wardrobe anything that resembled an aristocratic flair. Men were committed to seriousness and solidarity and as such their clothing must now be utilitarian, democratic and dogmatically straight to the point. Gone were the frills, gone the frocks, gone any semblance of personality. While this may have been a necessary ideological stance, in comparison with the totality of life, with the many hues and textures that exist in every environment, it was a great step backwards. The somber tones of blue, grey and black were a militant response to a political situation. This background however has been lost, and now men in western society have this assumption that to wear pink is effeminate, that one cannot be a true man in pastels. A man is to be a lion, a predator, and lost in this is that a lion’s mane is rarely black and often a lighter hue of yellow, in effect, a pastel. We see then that ideology not only limits our choices but also the realities of nature.
Pastel fabrics are a fundamental way to add refinement and distinction to our wardrobes. Whether teal, lavender, pink, salmon, turquoise or sundry these lighter tonal values add greater dimension to the more traditional, and traditional taken from a 19th century perspective. Pastels allow us to soften the sober stark hue of the blue and black suits. Pastels are decidedly spring colors that work expertly in the winter. Pastels are excellent for every skin color as they fuse with lighter skin tones and provide excellent draw with darker skin tones.
Pastel shirts are best worn during the day to take advantage of the sunlight. Pastels will reflect sun rays more efficiently and are cooler to wear temperature wise.
When choosing pastel colors the basic color wheel employed by artists for their compositions is your best friend. You have two basic ways of pairing colors. You can either mix the same basic color with different hues (say a dark blue suit with a light blue shirt and still lighter blue socks) or you can contrast colors based on their position on the color wheel. An example of this is blue and orange. Blue and orange are direct contrasts from each other on the color spectrum. A strong dark blue and a strong red orange is such a magnificent composition to wear. A blue suit with an orange shirt or a simple orange pocket square has such a tasteful powerful draw that everyone immediately notices. Green and red and examples of another contrast on the color wheel but one must be careful with this pairing as these colors are so ubiquitous with Christmas design that one may well end up looking like one of Santa’s employees.