An Easy and Elegant Palette

Color Wheel (This image is from

Before we get into pattern mixing, I thought we might like to mix it up with colour. Below, you’ll find a few ideas for a basic color palette, that’s not too basic. Well, aside from the classic navy/white combination.

Sophisticated, and striking, camel and black. Try pairing your camel-hair polo coat with a black cashmere turtleneck and black (or charcoal grey) flatfront trousers and black chelsea boots for a striking casual look.

Sophisticated yet subdued, camel and grey. Tobacco suede brogues or deep brown shoes, midgrey chalkstripe suit, charcoal pencilstripe shirt, tan and grey tie. Alternately, wear a camel coloured turtleneck or a half-zip sweater with your midgrey suit. A more advanced dresser may opt to pair his deepest brown leather shoes with black trousers and a camel hair sportcoat. Or choose the classic back and brown herringbone tweed trouser and pair it with the black cashmere turtleneck from our first example.

Camel and winter white are always chic. A white cashmere turtleneck with camel/brown or camel/cream herringbone trousers and a camelhair polo coat. Wear your suede ankle boots.

Richly hued blues pop when paired with deep browns. Try a charcoal brown chalkstriped mohair and wool suit paired with a (french or sky) blue shirt and brown and blue tie. Or go for the classic blue blazer and pair it with deep brown trousers, a blue and tan mini-check shirt and blue and tan striped tie. Shoes should be dark brown leather.

Grey and purple together become something regal. Grey flannel suit, deep purple butcher stripe shirt with white collar and cuffs, deep purple tie. Very Ralph Lauren. Lighter grey suits pair well with lavender shirts.

And finally, the old stand-by: navy blue. My favourite combination is a navy chalkstripe suit (yes, I love chalkstripes), a blue and white patterned shirt (mini-checked or pinstripes) and a blue and white spotted tie (or bolder blue and white plaid.) I wear a white linen pocket square in this case. Although a blue and white gingham one has been known to pop up. Navy and white horizontal striped socks really pop against the dark brown suede captoes.

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8 Responses to An Easy and Elegant Palette

  1. pvedesign says:

    I love camel and navy too.
    As an artist, I loved the clever color-wheel that you posted!

  2. Charcoal is one of my favourite colours… a little softer than black, which i love, too… great with camel. The outfits you describe can work for a man or a woman, except maybe the shoes.

  3. Mrs. PVE, camel and navy is a failsafe combination! Always appropriate.

    Thanks Fairfax! I started out thinking that they might cross the gender gap, but worried about the shoe issue, too. I’m still working on understanding a few strange (to me) rules of the game… Mrs. E’s gentle admonitions often meet with blank stares, I’m afraid.

  4. Excellent post; I regret to say that my closet will have to be upgraded to follow its directions!!!

  5. Always a fun afternoon or two. This is just a loose recipe, taste and adjust seasoning for your tastes. A lot has to do with your complexion and how well colors look next to your hair and face. I am pale, with very dark (well, it was at one point) hair and eyes. High contrast works best on me.

  6. Teddy Bear says:

    Cashmere is great. It’s very soft and comfortable. It’s not cheap, but I don’t care. I love it. Last time I’ve found a cude
    cotton cashmere
    collection. I’ll buy some of it in nearly future 🙂


  7. The architect says:

    Anyone recall back in the 80s when it was “the thing” to have one’s colors done? The subject would pay (dearly) to be analyzed. One would be evaluated to fit into a following category – spring, winter, fall or summer. Then, city or country. After being studied, the subject would be given a color palette to take away and use when purchasing new items for the wordrobe. All I can remember is I was never to buy yellow. Or pink. Navy and light blue were both good for my skin tone.

  8. TA, went by the book and it does work. I got rid of some green sheets because I looked two weeks dead when I went to sleep on them…

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