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How to Choose Color for Men

Guys:  What makes first impressions count? It’s not just taking your cues from GQ magazine.  Up your game with these style tools on how to choose your color…

First let’s take a peek into the three qualities of color: hue, value and intensity. Hue gives any color a name (e.g., blue-violet, carnelian, red ochre, or chartreuse). It simply describes any given color. The second quality is value: how light or dark a color is. Think white to black, or light pink vs. dark burgundy, or sky blue compared to navy. Our third quality is intensity: perhaps the most difficult to understand. Intensity refers to the strength, or saturation of a color. A bright cherry red has high intensity. A mauve or mulberry has lower intensity.  Think canary yellow vs. khaki.  Both are yellow-based colors but one is fully saturated, the other is not.  Other examples of low intensity colors are olive, beige and taupe. These are also referred to as neutrals.

When choosing the correct hue, look to your own hair, skin and eyes for direction. Fashion bloggers and journalists often fail to differentiate when offering fresh style advice. A navy blue suit may be the market standard, but is it really the right color for you? Not necessarily.  Almost all ready to wear as well as made to measure suits are manufactured in neutrals. Ideally yours, whether it is navy, black, grey or brown will compliment your skin, eyes and hair. When trying on your power suit, or a killer blazer, make sure you see health, strength and vitality. If a color is fighting with your skin…you will appear ill, sallow, or older than you are.  If the color is too strong for you-it will overwhelm you and you will be lost.  The idea is to see YOU, in your best form.  The suit is the background.

Now let’s take a look at value. Contrast is what creates formality, or a more serious tone. Guys, when you want to be taken more seriously consider the following: If you are light skinned, a dark suit color does the trick. If you have a medium skin tone, go as dark as possible with your suit. If you are very dark skinned, consider beige, olive or a light neutral (other than white). Of course a white button down is fine. However a white suit is a statement and should be used for specific dramatic effect, not necessarily to land an interview or persuade someone in a negotiation.

Another thing to consider is your own inherent contrast level. If you have light skin and dark hair, you are high contrast. In this case, you already appear intimidating.  Think Don Draper. If you need to play up this dynamic, go for that dark suit. If you find that people are more intimidated by you than you wish, choose a color in a middle value, but one that is slightly darker than your skin. For example: A man with dark brown to black hair and light olive skin would command authority in a dark brown or black suit. If he wished to be less intimidating, a suit color in a lighter brown or beige would be a more proficient choice. If you have light skin and hair you are more approachable.  Consider Ryan Gosling. To up your ‘take me seriously’ archetype, you must increase your contrast level.  Navy blue is a great choice for you. It offers  significant contrast without overwhelming you.

Lastly, we will consider intensity. Those with high contrast between hair and skin (Jang Hyuk) as well as dark skinned individuals (Trevante Rhodes) do well with brighter, or more intense colors.  If you are low to medium contrast between skin and hair, or have ashy undertones (Jude Law) watch out for bright colors.   Here is one test to try; does the garment make your own features stand out? Or can we only see the garment and not you? If the color is more powerful than your own coloring, it’s not for you. Equally, if the color dulls or drains you, go stronger.

With the increase in awareness and production in men’s wear as well as the burgeoning trend of gender fluidity you can expect suiting colors to change from the standard navy and grey. Unusual shirting is also a hot new trend for young and mature men alike. Given that more choices are coming for men (finally!) it will become more important to understand how to dress effectively and well. Building business requires relationships.  Relationships require trust. Visual communication has the power to influence and assist in building that rapport. If your garment takes away from people being able to see you and your eyes, this could certainly detract from a more favorable social dynamic. Follow me on instagram kgriffinstyles, or visit my website to learn more.



What is Personal Style?

If your intention is to be more comfortable, appear more credible, visually interesting and appealing to those you encounter….read on.

“When you repeat, not compete with the geometric shapes found in your body, you express the fascinating design pattern that you were born with.” Jennifer Butler

As someone with the title Personal Stylist, my job is simple, right? I have to know what’s “in”. However, as indicated – it is very….well, personal.  Certainly my duty is to know and understand the ever-changing trends as well as be highly proficient in pairing pattern, textures and color.  Yet the hardest but most rewarding aspect of my job is pulling out the ‘personal’ in my job as a stylist.

Many clients come to me and say they want to update their style, or perhaps appear more ‘put together’ because of increased visual exposure with higher stakes.  These are relevant concerns.  But sometimes what they don’t know is that increasing familiarity with their own inherent design is key to appearing more credible, put together and literally feeling more comfortable in their own skin. Having an effective and successful personal style goes well beyond wearing what is trending, or simply functional. There is an art to dressing well. And that art is largely created with an intimate knowledge of one’s own design blueprint.

What I’m referring to is your own specific architecture and coloring. Although there are predictable patterns, each one of us is in fact, quite unique. Consider the following questions as it relates to you.

Is your skin tone olive, apricot, golden beige or espresso? Are your eyes hazel, sky blue, chocolate, or amber?  Your hair color will be warm, cool or neutral with hues varying from snow white to salt and pepper grey. Perhaps ashy blonde or chesnut brown.  These colors combine together to create your own unique color triad made up of your skin, hair and eye.  And this is just one aspect to your style blueprint.

What about the shape of your body? Is it primarily angular, or is it soft and curvy?  Are you moulded and muscular or more skeletal?  If you are a woman, are you an hourglass, an inverted triangle or more of a pear shape? Do your shoulders slope or are they straight? Do you have a proportionaltely long or short torso? If you are a man, are you an ectomorph (tall and lanky or mesomorph (musuclar)?  All of these criterion factor in to whether a garment enhances or detracts from our bodies.

What about line? Each one of our faces is composed of a series of them. We can have primarily straight lines in our eyebrow, nose, lip and jawline.  It is also possible to be very angular, or very curvy. Think a high arched brow versus one that is straight across. Some of us have large facial features comparative to the size of the face while others have smaller. Each of these attributes influences how an item of clothing will land on us.

Whether you are new or very experienced with personal style, next time you choose an item to wear ask yourself, “How does this garment relate to my own architecture?” If you find yourself loving how something looks on you, see if you can identify why. It may be the color or the structure of the garment. It’s possible that the material or perhaps even the pattern is what really works for you. Regardless, there is a visual reason for the positive impact.

And that is why I have a job. Successful stylists know how, with a trained eye, to ‘see’ these relationships and to identify the best ones for each person’s unique body architecture and coloring. Understanding and exploring this through your color fan, figure analysis and unique style blueprint are the components to building an effective and exclusive personal style.

Why is color so important?

Color impacts us on a daily basis. Countless studies and research have demonstrated that color affects our mood, our mental clarity, even our motivation. Yet one way color is often overlooked is how it lands on us as individuals.


By this, I mean how a color connects to our own inherent pigmentation in skin, hair and eyes. We can look at color in terms of hue, saturation and brightness. With in each one of us is a specific number of these factors in hair, skin and eye colors.


The way a color lands with us determines whether or not we wear the clothes, or the clothes wear us. If the color you are wearing is tremendously brighter than you, the item of clothing will be remembered, not you. At the end of the day one will be remembered as a blue dress for example, rather than for inherent characteristics.


Next time you are out in public do a visual test. Ask yourself if the people you see are wearing the clothes, or if the clothes are wearing them. Consider this; the eye is naturally drawn to the highest contrast point or point of emphasis.   If the color is in harmony with the individual, the eye will naturally flow up and down from head to toe.


In business and in our personal lives, the most fulfilling connections come from being known for who we really are. The science of personal style aligns color choices in a way that highlights and enhances one’s own personal coloring. Wearing the right colors can not only enhance your own physiology, it will help others see you more clearly.

What is a Curated Closet?


Buy less, choose well and make it last. — Vivienne Westwood

Would you like to have a comfortable and effective personal style that is socially responsible as well? Read on

A curated closet is a relatively new term in the fashion lexicon.   It is becoming quite a buzzword for stylists, fashionistas and lifestyle conscious individuals. The concept is simple: having less, higher quality clothing that works together seamlessly.  To be functional and efficient, these items must connect to your own inherent aesthetic, meet your lifestyle needs and reflect your personal values.

It is the opposite of fast fashion. For those that aren’t familiar- fast fashion is the term for the consumer driven, ‘quick manufacturing at an affordable price’ market we live in.  It is what allows us to buy cheap clothing but at a humanitarian and environmental cost.  It encourages a disposable clothing frenzy.  If your own wardrobe echoes this mania, or if you just struggle with knowing what to wear, you may benefit from incorporating the following concepts.

First let’s look at some signs that your closet is functioning at a less than optimal level:

  1.  Too many items: Your closet or dresser is over full. Drawers are stuffed. Clothes are falling off hangers with no breathing room.  Choosing becomes more difficult if you cannot see what you are working with. Although there are many effective storage solutions out there, consider a close edit.
  2. It takes you more than 5 minutes to put together an outfit. If you have items that do not work well together, much less in a style or color that do not flatter, you will struggle getting dressed each day.
  3. Half of your closet is taken up by when I loose x pounds. This not only sends you a daily dose of negative self-esteem, it also take away valuable real estate. If you’ve been saying this for years, consider making an attitude adjustment. Do what you need to do. Practice self-acceptance and work with where you are now. Or make the commitment and sign up with a health and wellness coach you feel good about. Either way, you’ve got to honor the body you have.
  4. You do not feel confident and absolutely fabulous in what you wear. Let’s face it. Every item in your closet is a decision made. An idea or concept in which you’ve invested. As our most exterior selves, our clothing teaches people how to treat us and internally sends a message about how we treat ourselves. If your clothing makes you feel anything less than comfortable in your skin, it’s not working.

Now let’s break down the concepts of a curated wardrobe.

  1. You must identify your personal style. This includes your lifestyle needs and your values. It requires you to question what works for you and what you want to project into the world. It means you acknowledge the power of visual communication. Of course, we are all influenced by our locale; the merchandise available to us, what is worn by our friends, family members and community. And certainly, what we see in the media. To develop our personal style, we must sort through this and make more conscious decisions. It requires one to embody one’s unique personality and discover what resonates. Your personal style is an effective combination of form and function. Ultimately, it should aesthetically reflect your own visual harmony and personal values.
  2. Understand color. Your wardrobe needs to be filled with items based on your skin, hair and eye color. If the colors in your wardrobe compete or downplay each other or your own coloring, your wardrobe is not functioning effectively. No more closet orphans (the things you keep trying to make work that just don’t). If your closet is filled with your own specific color harmony, it will not only work beautifully with you, but with itself.  Imagine, tops, bottoms, coats, shoes, and handbags that create visual balanced color schemes. Every time.
  3. Know your body architecture. This is more complex for women as there are so many variations in the female form. However line and shape play a part for both sexes in terms of facial features. As women, knowing your basic body shape (triangle, hourglass, inverted triangle, rectangle) allows you to select styles that flatter you. You need to determine what styles and trends work with your body particulars.  Understanding line and shape in your face adds a further level of sophistication and visual balance.
  4. Eliminate what’s not working. The process of the closet edit is necessary in making way for a more simple, streamlined and effective wardrobe. Consider the value of items in your closet; Is it in my color harmony? Does it both fit and flatter me? Does it reflect the most current version of myself or does it belong in the nostalgic box? Is it worn out beyond repair? Does it have multiple versions? Trust that there is a grand elegance in simplicity.
  5.  Shop strategically. Use visual communication to your advantage, rather than avoiding or being a slave to it. Knowing your colors, best styles and patterns will eliminate a great deal of options. Further, take a closet inventory and prioritize missing pieces. This will help mitigate impulse shopping. If you’re on the other side of the spectrum, allow yourself to invest in aesthetically correct foundation pieces and key accessories. It will give you the freedom to dress with confidence and comfort no matter what the occasion.