For those who hadn’t noticed the turning of the leaves and the smell of pumpkin spice wafting from … literally anywhere a smell can waft from, really, fall has arrived. It’s time to pack away thine shorts and sunny florals in favor of more seasonally appropriate gear.
But take heed, fellas: just because we’re moving into a time of year when muted, earthier tones dominate the sartorial spectrum, it need not mean that you rock those hues exclusively. In fact, fall presents a great opportunity to utilize color in a way that really stands out — a dash of lively chromaticity here and there can add some real personality to an autumnal kit and separate you from the pack.
We’re calling it the “fall color flex,” and we’ve collected a few examples from our Instagram style folder to provide some inspiration and help you master it.
Read on and keep the color coming.
So we’ve already established that the “no white pants after Labor Day” rule is bullshit, and here’s a great example of why. The snowy trouser really helps to accentuate the warm brown of the bomber and textured grey of the sweater in a way that no other color would. Sure, you could sub jeans in here and it would be fine, but not remotely as interesting. So join us in giving a middle finger to fusty tradition and continuing to break out the chalky breeches all winter long.
Purple and green is an unbelievably slept-on fall color combo, to the point where we’re a little shocked that no pro sports team uses it. Get yourself a lilac dress shirt (in and of itself an excellent color flex), then anchor it with a dark green tie that (ideally) has some deeper purple in it as well. Throw a grey or light brown jacket (especially one with a low-key pattern) over top and you’re good to go.
Pro tip: lean into the striking sweater (or sweatshirt). For example, a bright blue knit under a camel coat really ramps up a kit, especially with a dark trouser down low to anchor everything. It’s a single element, but really impactful — think how much less arresting our favorite swag lord Megan Rapinoe’s outfit would be if not for that big pop of color. The plaid pant is varsity-level style flexing, but bully for you if you want to give it a go.
It doesn’t always have to be about bright hues though — burgundy is a color that, despite being relatively expected in the fall, can still be super impactful if deployed in an unexpected way. Enter the burgundy trouser, an excellent solid alternative to your typical browns, greys, etc. And because it’s a solid, you still have the option to break out a lively pattern in jacket/sweater/shirt form and really give ’em a show. Bonus points here for the coordinated tie.
People tend to think of classic camo as something that a) is very difficult to pull off, and b) can only be paired with really muted colors in the event you want to try. But in reality, throwing something like a dusty pink into the mix is a killer shortcut to making it work. It’s unexpected (a good thing), and makes the whole thing feel way more intentional (also a good thing) You’re simultaneously alleviating costume-y, G.I. Joe concerns and achieving a more stylish streetwear vibe. Win win.
It’s a common misconception that lighter, faded denim is only for warmer temps. It actually makes a great counterpoint to a dark, heavy coat (peacoat, car coat, etc), and, like the burgundy trouser, also plays really well with patterns since it still technically counts as a “solid.” Moreover, it livens up the proceedings in a way that a typical dark rinse pair of denim wouldn’t.
Brown is the ultimate earth tone (as in, the actual color of dirt) and thus gets a bit of a bad rep as a “boring” color. But the low-key truth of it is that if you break out of the habit of only pairing brown with similar muted tones in its family, it can take on a whole new level of personality. This suit with a traditional white dress shirt? Not bad, but not stopping traffic, either. But pair it with a really eye-catching blue like this or even a pink, if you’re feeling saucy? Then in really starts to sing.