6 ways to look good in blue this season

Business Insider’s Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you’ll like. And full disclosure: Business Insider has affiliate partnerships so we may get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

We’ve asked our friends at MR PORTER.COM, the men’s style destination with same-day delivery in Manhattan and London, for some expert style advice. This week’s topic: all things blue.

Royal, azure, Klein, iris, Majorelle, Oxford, sky and French. The number of words used to describe the eye-catching shade of blue that’s currently the toast of the menswear crowd is only limited by the imagination of the people describing it. In truth it doesn’t matter what you call it, it only matters that you’re wearing it. That’s why we’ve put together a guide to the myriad of ways a man can wear royal blue.

Of course, blue, a traditionally masculine colour, has always been central to men’s clothing. However, much of the time navy predominates. Navy blue looks smart because it’s a uniform rather than a variegated colour, and is so dark that it borrows much of the formality we associate with black clothes. In short, though navy is wonderfully adaptable, it’s rather sober — royal blue provides a more vibrant alternative, particularly during the warmer months.

The degree to which you want to embrace royal blue will likely depend on your environment as well as your inclination. For some men a new watch strap will be enough, while others won’t be satisfied until they’re in a royal blue mohair suit. Whether you wish to inject a little personality into your suits, seek an alternative to black for your next pair of tailored trousers or just want a new casual jacket, this season the answer comes in the form of royal blue. Here are six ways to achieve this.

1. Use it as an accent

Whether a man is held back by his milieu (a formal office environment perhaps), or simply doesn’t want to push the sartorial envelope, there are lots of ways in which he can display a mere hint of royal blue. The man in the photograph, who’s dressed in an ensemble that makes us imagine drinking gin and tonic on the deck of an expensive yacht, peps up his classic white chinos and navy blazer with a royal blue striped shirt and an azure-coloured watch strap. The contrast between the vintage-style watch and the lively strap is particularly pleasing, and suggests an irreverent attitude to the serious world of horology. It’s an impression consolidated by the briefest inspection of “man-bling” (a topic we discussed just a few weeks ago), this stuff is best approached with a sense of humour.

What to wear

Freemans Sporting Club shirt, $US260

Bremont U2/BL automatic watch, $US5,450

2. Soften it up with a pale blue

What a strange place is the internet. Mr Lino Ieluzzi runs a menswear boutique in Milan, which neither makes online sales nor seems to harbour ambitions to become a global brand. And yet he’s a street-style star, his bold taste in tailoring an inspiration to thousands of iGents (that breed of tailoring-obsessed man whose style owes so much to poring over paparazzi photographs of the peacocks at Pitti Uomo every season).

Here, Mr Ieluzzi is wearing a soft-shouldered double-breasted jacket. Granted, he’s almost always wearing a soft-shouldered double-breasted jacket, but this one is remarkable for its vibrant shade — so often seen on the streets of Florence that we’re tempted to call it Pitti blue. The jacket’s colour is intense, but Mr Ieluzzi has managed to soften the visual blow by accessorising with sunglasses in the same shade (which drag the eye upward) and opting for more muted shades of blue in his open-necked shirt and pocket square. Simply jettisoning your tie when wearing a regular navy blazer won’t produce the same results — make sure to pair with complementary light blue tones to avoid being that little bit too dazzling.

What to wear

Oliver Spencer round-frame sunglasses, $US335

J. Crew Ludlow striped cotton shirt, $US90

3. Show some skin

If Mr Ieluzzi takes a distinctively relaxed approach to tailoring it’s still one that’s visibly rooted in the traditional sartorial codes. A more contemporary way is to eschew the old rules in search of clothes that speak more directly to life in 2015. So it is with this lean-fitting blue suit, which, apart from the fact that the jacket and trousers are made from the same fabric, bears little resemblance to the tailoring of yore. As such it serves as better inspiration for a wedding outfit than it does for an office ensemble. The way the fabric has been easily pushed back up the arm suggests it’s very lightweight, a point reinforced by the wrinkles around the buttoning point. The manner in which it’s worn, with an open-necked shirt, further reduces the formality — it could just as easily be worn over a T-shirt.

What to wear

Marc by Marc Jacobs slim-fit suit jacket, $US450

Marc by Marc Jacobs slim-cut trousers, $US280

4. Lighten up a business trip

Even if a man’s dressing at the conservative end of the spectrum there’s still much he can gain by lightening the shade of blue that he wears. As these three gentlemen demonstrate modest changes to the blue hue transform the image a garment projects. If these guys were all dressed in navy blue they might give the impression that they were titans of the boardroom, but with their soft-shouldered jackets, brown shoes and slim trousers they look as if they’re heading off for a glass of chilled Prosecco rather than for a PowerPoint presentation. As such, they provide us with a lesson in how to manage the sometimes-tricky transition from office to off duty, which is as relevant to men from Florence as it is to the world’s financial districts, particularly when travelling for work.

What to wear

Canali navy kai slim-fit blazer, $US1,995

Edward Green picadilly suede penny loafers, $US1,220

5. Bag yourself a new accessory

A well-judged accessory is a great way to display some panache within the bounds of conservative business dress. Here a wonderful salt-and-pepper tweed suit is worn over a classic pale blue shirt and woollen tie. However, the eye is drawn to the dramatic portfolio crafted from lapis lazuli-coloured leather, which changes the viewer’s perception of the entire outfit. The key to this is the contrast in colour between the suit and the portfolio, and the evident quality of the accessory; any item that you’re using to draw the viewer’s attention needs to stand up to scrutiny. Talking of which, unless we’re much mistaken there’s an eye-catching “Pepsi” bezel Rolex GMT Master watch tucked under the left-hand cuff. The upper half of the bezel is royal blue too. Someone has clearly put some thought into his outfit.

What to wear

Jil Sander leather pouch, $US390

Seven-fold Jacquard Tie, $US260

6. Keep it simple

Sitting between workwear and tailoring are the sleek clothes of the fashionable man about town. And that’s a perfect description of Mr Simone Marchetti, fashion editor of Italian newspaper
La Repubblica
. Here he shows us how to leave the house in tailored trousers, a woollen pullover and an overcoat and look both comfortable and sophisticated. It’s an outfit that sounds as if it should be worn while relaxing at the weekend, but Mr Marchetti wears it in a way that would (and no doubt does) ensure entry to the best restaurants, and the most exclusive bars. The success of the outfit is dependent on the way the three shades of blue are distinct, and so contrast rather than clash, and the evident quality of the fabrics. We particularly applaud the unadorned simplicity of the look.

What to wear

Gant Rugger Marled Crüe cotton sweater, $US125

Grayers newport slim-fit cotton chinos, $US90

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Business Insider’s Insider Picks team. We aim to highlight products and services you might find interesting, and if you buy them, we may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners, including Amazon. Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback.Have something you think we should know about? Email us at [email protected]

NOW WATCH: This is what happens to your brain and body when you check your phone before bed

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.