Rule No. 4 of The Middle Ground. Subtle Colors; It’s Still Business.


Image: Tommy Ton.

You may be tempted to splash out on trendy colorful clothing. Don’t. Red trousers are for sailing, not for selling. Unless your business is fashion, stick to pieces in grey, blue, black, camel/tan.

The biggest “mistake” I see is the (to my eye) objectionable burgundy shirt.


Black shirt? Fine. Grey. Yes. Camel? Sometimes. Yellow? If it suits you.Pink? Sure! Blue? Of course. White? Always. Outside of that, dark solid shirts just look cheesy. If you’d like to experiment with color in your shirts, wear patterns. Subtle patterns for work (a lavender dobby cotton shirt and blue knit tie add complimentary textures.)

Lavender Dobby Shirt

Larger patterns for play. (See you can wear a golf/tennis shirt.)

The Casual Success

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5 Responses to Rule No. 4 of The Middle Ground. Subtle Colors; It’s Still Business.

  1. Todd Kunz says:

    Chris, I have a beautiful black shirt that I would like to incorporate into my repertoire of dress shirts but I am not sure what color tie and suit or sport coat to wear with it. Can you offer some suggestions?

  2. ELS says:

    I live in a sailing town. The colours, to my muted English eye, are alarming. Is it so they can be spotted at sea? Anyone wishing to dress to be taken seriously in business should read this!

  3. Fed up in Canada says:

    Make it stop! Gosh, all these guys in my office building – wearing solid shirts in green, black, orange, red, grey, you name it! Someone, for gosh sake’s, please tell them it looks bloody awful! And then they wear a matching coloured tie with the garish shirt, as if to say “look, mom, I matched the colours! It matches so it must look good!.” The problem of course is when equally unfashionable, frumpy old women compliment them on these hideous ensembles in the elevator (because white or blue shirts are apparently “boring.”) Anyways, I guess these days, we should just be happy that men still wear shirts with buttons and collars on them to the workplace.

  4. ELS, I’m still chuckling over your comment!

  5. Lol. True. It is a question of appropriateness. What is appropriate (even desirable) in private might not be appropriate on one’s front lawn. Sailing colors are for sailing. Business colors are for business. Unless you’re in the sailing business. xo, N.G.

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