Color Code

How to brighten up your look during
the warmer months ahead

Adding a little color to your look may feel like an advanced fashion move, but it's actually nothing new in the annals of men's style. Think of the military reds and imperial purples of Ancient Rome, or the pastel coats and breeches of Versailles. Even the Pilgrims, it turns out, had an eye for color—those black-and-white outfits were mostly reserved for Sundays, while they wore more vibrant hues during the week (the men, in particular, were fond of colorful hatbands). And although vintage photographs can fool you into thinking that the past was lived in black and white, Old Hollywood has plenty of flashes of Technicolor greatness, from James Dean’s iconic red baseball jacket in Rebel Without a Cause to the tangerine mohair V-neck Frank Sinatra sported in Ocean’s 11 (his favorite color was famously orange—which he called “the happiest color”).

So, as the days get longer and brighter, there’s no better time to augment those classic greys and navys with a little all-American exuberance. And there’s no better place to start than our newest Polo collection, which blends vibrant hues with a nod to heritage that is distinctly Ralph Lauren. As Mr. Lauren himself says, “Putting yourself together in an individual statement is what I most admire. And when you have confidence, I think it shows.”

Here, a few ways to go bold with confidence in the season ahead.

At the Office


Break free of the same old stripes-and-solids routine with a colorful gingham or plaid button-down in a casual cotton-and-linen blend. Keep things in balance with a summerweight suit in khaki or navy, and a solid knit tie. Alternately, if a colorful shirt is too casual for your workplace—or style—try a bold pocket square in silk or cotton.


There’s no better time to augment those classic greys and navys with a little all-American exuberance.
color-code-inset2.jpg
color-code-inset3.jpg

On the Beach


No matter the dress code at work, anyone can pull off a statement hue—whether in the form of a neon solid, a classic floral print, or a multicolored tropical pattern—at the beach. Once you’ve landed on a look, head to the Beach Shop to find the fit for you, whether you prefer a surf-friendly board short or a shorter classic style that calls to mind Cary Grant on the French Riviera.

On the Weekend

A colorful pair of chinos adds instant energy to a look (see image at top), and they provide a summer-friendly alternative to men’s style staples like khaki pants and indigo denim. Just be sure to pair them with a more understated hue, like navy or white, up top. There’s a difference between making a statement and just being loud…

If a subtler style is more your speed, personalize your polo shirt with a custom pony or monogram in a color of your choice. With shades from neon orange to Chatham blue available for your shirt, and equally diverse options for embroidery (not to mention the different monogram styles on offer), you’ve got hundreds of configurations to work with—enough so that any guy should be able to find a combo (or three) that works for him.
There’s a difference between making a statement and just being loud.
color-code-inset4.jpg
Finally, let’s talk footwear, the foundation of a look. Like those iconic chinos or jeans, a black or brown pair of brogues is an essential part of any man’s wardrobe. But a colorful version of a classic suede driver takes traditional style in a fresh new direction. If you’re ready to walk the walk, this is your move. Just remember: Whether you choose royal purple, deep red, or vibrant orange, this is one area where it’s about mixing, not matching. After all, we’re talking summertime. The living is easy, and the style should be the same.
back to top
JON ROTH is the editor of RL Mag.
  • All photographs courtesy of Ralph Lauren Corporation