Nikki’s Inbox: “How Do I Look More Interesting Without Bright Colors or Crazy Prints?”

I was wondering if you could help me make my style more interesting? Basically I dress in monochrome. The only colour I wear is bluish denim, or sometimes a bit in a T-shirt graphic. I know it’s kind of boring to always be wearing black or white or grey, but when I try wearing brighter colours I feel stupid and uncomfortable.

I generally wear shirts and jeans at work, and T-shirts and jeans elsewhere. I’m lightweight and unfairly short for a guy, have dark hair and pale skin and blue eyes (No idea if that’s relevant or not).

Any ideas on how I can look more interesting without wearing bright colours or crazy prints?

Misha, 21/New Zealand


Like you, Misha, I’m not so adventurous with color either. Most of the time, I’m in dark jeans and I like white, black and gray too. I don’t blame you because these colors are quite versatile and we’ve all been wearing them for decades that it’s like a uniform now for most of us.

But that’s really the issue, right? We’ve gotten so comfortable wearing our blue jeans and our T-shirts that anything else feels weird, any other color looks too crazy. It took me some time before I decided to buy a burgundy pair of jeans and now I always feel great whenever I wear it!

Remember: Neutrals + Brights

The color palette you’re currently using, Misha, is a neutral one, which means any bright color will work well with it. Ground vivid hues with basics like blue, black, gray and white. If you’re unsure of what colors could work with your monochromatic closet, keep it simple first and stick to deeper shades. Burgundy, royal blue, dark green, pale yellow and off-white are a few you can consider to begin with. If you pair them with black or blue (depending on how deep those two are), you get a more downplayed vibe. But if you pair burgundy or royal blue with white, then the effect is more distinctive. And you don’t have to stick to solids all the time either. Stripes in two colors are also a good starting point and you get to hit two birds with one stone: using different colors and patterns, too!

MEOSIDDA : Seoul Homme : Ruya : TOMONARI

Less Is More

While “crazy prints” may not be your thing, judicious use of them will really add visual impact to your outfit. If you’re suffering from “graphic fatigue,” then why not scale it down? You don’t have to be loud and wild all the time. If you’re wearing a suit, chances are all the other things you wear with it will also get noticed: the tie, pocket square, belt, tie clip, heck, even the buttons on your cuffs. By keeping prints and details on a smaller yet tasteful scale, you don’t run the risk of sensory overload. Instead of prints, look for smaller visual touches to your tops and bottoms, such as contrast trim at the neckline or chest pockets, decorative zippers, leather insets, or even embroidery. And don’t just limit them to your clothes. Let your accessories do the talking for you if you want your top and bottom to look simple and minimalist.

JORZ : SICRIT : Fireon : Simpair

Be In Season

Summer is just around the corner for you, Misha, and this gives you some leeway so you can expand your wardrobe a bit. Instead of just wearing jeans all the time, try wearing jogger pants so you can save your best jeans for work. The jogger pants are a holdover from the athleisure trend and surprisingly, they can look cool too. You don’t have to stick with pants made from “sweatshirt fabric” as these pants now also come in denim and cotton, and available in various colors and prints. An added bonus is that they look great with sneakers so you can tramp about in style!

For work, you can add ankle-skimming trousers and quirky socks to your arsenal. The trousers are something that might suit your build because on taller guys, it might look like they skimped on the fabric. Your work shirts don’t have to be limited to boring stripes and solids either. Look for collar tipping, contrast-colored buttons on the cuffs or placket, interesting printed lining and of course, feel free to add your own!

Fisen : Recluso : ABOKI : Van Camel

P.S. If you’re sending a question, please don’t forget to include any helpful information about your body type or shape, your tastes or personality. You can include a selfie (link only please) or a photo of your clothes (which I will never publish without pre-approval). Thank you!

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