Asking for a Friend: How to Wear Pastels?
Images by Jesse Rivera; styling by Jodi Taylor; modeling by Doug Ta’a
Pastel colors are enjoying a new prominence in men’s style, especially in the sector known as athleisure. Look around this season at dudes mixing athletic and casual clothes and you’ll notice an influx of colors like oatmeal, mauve, mint and rose.
As far as how to style pastel clothing? You can’t really screw it up. Pastel colors in general go well with each other. As long as you stay in the pastel family—or stay “tonal,” wearing various shades of the same color—you’ll be fine.
There are a few finer points to consider. Senior Stylist Jodi Taylor explains those below.
Pastels are enhanced when worn with white. See how good the Nikes look in this outfit? That’s because mixing a color with white is what makes it a pastel; they’re all slightly achromatic. So when you wear pastels with white shoes or a white accessory (like this white Nike hat), or your pastel clothes have white accents (white stripes on light grey socks), your outfit shares a base color and it works.
Multiple shades of gray make a great look. Different grays. Mix them freely. A lot of guys get caught up in being too matchy-matchy. But that can be too on-the-nose, creating an outfit that looks like a uniform. Mixing it up with layers of the same color at different saturation points, on the other hand, makes your outfit visually interesting and coherent.
It’s almost corny at this point to say that real men wear pink, but it’s true. Fear not the pink. You don’t have to call it salmon, unless you want to. You can just wear pink. It looks great on guys partly because it’s somewhat unexpected. It also goes extremely well with colors such as bone, oatmeal and grey—a sophisticated way to wear pink—meaning all of your chinos. In this outfit the pants are joggers, but you can see how good the pink and the sand look together. There’s just something perfect about that combo.