Ask Janie: How Would I Go About Incorporating More Colour Into My Wardrobe?

Esquire's Fashion Director recommends colours to match different skin tones.

BY Janie Cai | Mar 25, 2016 | Fashion

Image from Grinstead Colour Festival Norway

From Stephen Goh

I’ve been wearing fashionable black clothing for most of my life and feel the time is ripe for change. How would I go about incorporating more colour into my wardrobe? Maybe something a bit more muted to start with?


From Janie Cai

Fashion Director of Esquire Singapore

Muted? You’ve been wearing black, which is already a strong, statement colour (yes, black is a colour too Stephen) so why hold back. If change is what you want then I’d say be bold and seize the day with a colour that suits your skin tone. Dark, tanned skin goes well with a more vibrant colours like Cadmium red (remember those primary school paint palettes and their exotic names?) or cornflower blue (also known as Sonata Taxi blue). Whilst pastels and light-colours such as aquamarine and pastel pink tend to work better for fairer skin, alleviating the sallowness of skin that probably hasn’t seen the sun for a while (me) or is just naturally fair (our Scandinavian ex-intern).  Here’s a little example of a quick-reference, basic colour chart, using the guys of the Esquire team (if they were racially represented as overjoyed emoticons):

The real deal-breaker here is to think about what type of silhouette you want to create. The louder the colour, the more simple the shape of your clothing shoud be, to keep the balance. And since Hawaiian-style shirts with soft collars are trending big this season, there’s no reason why you can’t incorporate colour into your wardrobe and stay at the top of your style game. They are also perfect for day trips to Las Vegas. #win.

Start off with bold hues but keep things simple with solid colour blocks (keep pattern for when you want to take things up a notch, it’ll give you something to work towards). By maintaining a classic silhouette – long-sleeved fitted shirts, tapered trousers, shorts that are cut just above the knee and fit well and a T-shirt that skims the torso without being too snug—you’ll be able to rock a full spectrum of new colours without looking like Bobo the Clown (sorry Bobo). Just remember keep the bright colour limited to one article of cloth at a time and to keep the rest of the look neutral. Then just relax and try and look like you are having fun.