Primary Colors: The Guide to Fall Color

By Staff

There is a difference indeed between red and rhubarb, between green and ultramarine.

Any veteran of the fashion industry will tell you that seasonal style is a harsh mistress. Things change. Colors come and go. It’s a fact of life we all must resign ourselves to, regardless of how dearly we enjoyed last year’s trends.

Of those trends, color tends to be the most noticeable if not the most volatile. Seasonal swings can go from blue to brown to black and back again without ever missing a beat, and being just off the mark can mean being on the outside looking in. “Is that aquamarine? Sooooo last year. This year it’s ultramarine!”

It can be a headache (some would say heartbreak); not only do we have to know which colors are in, we need to know which ones go with which, even if on the surface they seem all wrong. So we give you, as part of our Fall Fashion Preview, the color guide, a cheat sheet of sorts for the upcoming style season.

The Collegiate Look

Believe it or not, that Ron Burgundy-esque look from the late ’70s is making its way back into the limelight. The rhubarb sport coat and Dijon-yellow turtleneck might be a bit much, but expect these colors (courtesy of college campuses everywhere) to make a run this fall as accent pieces: vests, ties, sneakers, scarves. They have an air of the Harvard upperclassman and when worn with the toned-down colors and straight lines below, really stand out as sophisticated counterpoints.

Believe it: Nike SB Dunk High Tops and accent wear everywhere.

The (Sleek) Silver Surfer

The gray suit revival of ought seven started with Mad Men and John Slattery and has since gained nothing but steam. The truly great thing about gray is that there are indeed at least 50 shades of the color and this year the three to the left (one may argue one is off-white, but its pantone call sign is “whitecap gray” and who are we to argue) are going to go a long way towards complimenting the sleek, straight direction tailors are taking in 2012.

Believe it: Come casual or come correct.

The Splash in the Pan

While some colors (gray) are ever-present and only subject to variation, bold colors tend to come and go with the breeze, always changing from season to season. Exhibit A is the chartreuse/ultramarine/Olympian blue combo to the left, which will hijack fall/winter outerwear, standing in stark contrast to the earthy tones we most commonly associate with the autumn months. Though we don’t anticipate these colors infiltrating the workplace, don’t be surprised to see a few ties turning up.  

Believe it: The NJC Color Block Pullover from Nautica.

Toned-Down Brown

Finally we arrive at French Roast, the accent color that will fill out the fall roster and be paired with earthier blues and greens on everything from sweaters and shoes to shirts and ties. One of the emerging trends of the season is the reintroduction of heavy textures like corduroy, velvet and tweed, so don’t be surprised by an abundance of deep browns and dark blues and greens on blazers and pants as denim starts to take a backseat to less-tried textures.

Believe it: Corduroy, not just for kids. 


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