It's a classic style conundrum - how to wear colour without looking like Giles Brandreth. If you're struggling to free yourself from the tyranny of the same old blues, blacks and greys, here are a few ideas:
1 Learn to combine
Colours look best when they’re made up of a combination of shades - a pale blue shirt that’s actually a mix of a darker blue and white looks better than a solid pale blue. This is the reason heavier suit fabric looks so good – its colour has far more depth than you’ll find in light cloth.
2 Start with the details
Socks are a great way to introduce interest into an outfit, particularly in a professional environment. They must be beautiful things in their own right, not just a vulgar flash of colour. Peter Jones, of Dragons’ Den, makes this mistake, but he can afford to.
3 Think about shoes
It's always best to use caution when it comes to colourful shoes, at least at work, but when done well can help break up an otherwise sombre outfit. With suits, brown offers a wide palette of shades.
4 Use texture
If bright colours really are beyond you, think about contrasting textures or finishes – the shine of a silk tie breaks up the matte look of a flannel suit worn with a cotton shirt.
5 If all else fails, ask a girl
The shades you choose need to work with the rest of your outfit – such as a claret tie with a navy suit and pale blue shirt - and your skin tone (vibrant shades look far better against dark skin than a wan complexion). If you don’t trust your own eye, ask a girl - they generally wear more colour than men, so have a better feel for what goes together.