Understanding Choice of Color and Contrast in Men’s Dress Shirts

Color is the first thing anyone sees when it comes to a man’s dress shirt. In a roomful of men clad in suits, the color of your shirt may be the one to get you the attention you need or one you can simply wear to blend in. There is nothing wrong with whatever you choose. One thing you should ask is what your goal is in wearing a certain color or mixing it with other colors. The best way to accomplish this is to fully understand the colors that suit you well given all the variables.

Determining Colors Based on Hair, Skin & Eye Color

A person’s hair color, skin complexion, and eye color are important determinants in choosing the right colors of fabric for your garments. However, men have always chosen color according to what they have been wearing regularly and what colors are easily available for them. The resulting colors popular today are mostly solid white and blue or navy custom dress shirts. The 2 major determinants in choosing color for the dress shirt are hair color and skin tone. Add to this is the color of the eyes which would be a good reference if you haven’t worn a particular color or you may be unfamiliar with it. These 3 determinants are the basis of color contrast which is categorized into 3 types:

High Contrast

High contrast refers to men with hair color which is different from their skin tone, a classic example would be dark hair and fair skin. The best thing for high contrast men to do is to find this difference in color in their garments with the contrast in the facial area. A suit in dark blue and white dress shirt or a suit in charcoal grey with a light blue dress shirt may be 2 options you can look into and include in your wardrobe. Another option for warmer climates is combining a dark colored shirt with a light colored suit, such as royal blue shirt and light grey suit. In addition, it’s best to complement your suit with a tie, and high contrast men look best with a tie that’s bold enough to hold up from the shirt’s color.

Low Contrast

Low contrast men usually have light hair and skin tone, however, bald men, red-haired men, and men with thinning or little hair are also part of this category. The advantages of low contrast men are completely different from high contrast men mentioned in this section. Low contrast men look best in monochromatic colors as bold contrasting colors may overpower their subtle tones. Don’t forget the purpose of your clothing is to highlight your facial features. Low contrast men look best in dark colors such blues or earth tones and paired with dark colored suits. When choosing tan or light grey suits, low contrast men should stick with light colored shirts or earth tones. White is also acceptable so long as the suit is light colored as well. It’s best to be mindful of what tie you’re wearing as too bold neck wear can give too much attention to your facial area down to your stomach.

Medium Contrast

Medium contrast men usually have brown skin, dark hair, as well as men with light skin and grey or white hair. With a variety of skin tones and hair colors, providing a specific list of men included in this category can be challenging. However, majority of men tend to belong in the low contrast or high contrast. Men with dark hair and brown skin mentioned above tend to be categorized in the high contrast and these men also tend to look good with several monochromatic color combinations. This can also be said with a man with light skin and grey hair who is actually a lot like the low contrast man so it’s best that he uses the guide for men with low contrast. In the end, medium contrast individuals have the best of both high and low contrast categories, but they should still be cautious when choosing colors beyond those given categories.