ASK DAN: Color Pallettes, DIY Alterations, Magazines Dying

November 20th, 2015


How to Create a Color Palette

Q: I am having some confusion about colors. When i go shopping i don’t know what colors to choose or how to pair them together. I’ve read many articles on color but can’t seem to “get it”. I am a medium skin man and my favorite colors are red, orange and yellow…but these are all spice colors and can’t be used much for dressing. I’ll be grateful if u help.

A: This can be tricky, as it takes time and experience to train your eye to develop a tasteful color palette. It’s especially difficult to “teach” the use of color, as a great combination has so much to do with context, season, climate, skin/hair, size, etc. Firstly, I would disregard what your “favorite colors” are. This is not something you have to wear on your sleeve, figuratively or literally. When putting together an outfit, I always start with a neutral base in a masculine color that is medium-to-dark. If you look through the archives of AOS looks, for example, the most prominent garment (jacket, suit, overcoat) is usually navy blue, dark brown, medium grey, etc. For the secondary garment (shirt, trouser, sweater/layer) I would introduce a secondary color that offers a contrast to the base, but is not loud or flashy. Think khaki, medium blue, lighter grey, burgundy, forest green, etc. Lastly, the thinnest garment (closest to the body) should be the lightest and most subdued. A pale shirt in a color that enriches your skin tone (like white, beige, pale sky blue) works to create a non-distracting canvas that puts your person on display, rather than your outfit on display… If you really feel the need to add some “spice”, I would do so in small doses with one accessory (like a tie, scarf, pocket square, beanie). I hope this was helpful. There’s a lot to say on this topic…we’re working on an editorial that breaks-down easy color palettes that are flattering for different skin tones. More soon. Cheers!

Do-It-Yourself Alterations

Q: Hey Dan. After stumbling upon Articles of Style and reading just about every article this week, I’m hooked! I love the aesthetic of tailoring that can last and also transition to casual attire. The problem is, now I have a closet full of shirts and trousers that I know are 1-2 sizes too large for me (thanks to “Garment Doctor” and “How It Should Fit” series). Is there something I can do myself to make these garments look slimmer and updated? Thanks!

A: Hmm. Are you decent with a sewing machine? In theory, you could take-in your oversized shirts and trim the leg of the trousers (taper thigh/knee/bottom) fairly easily, but you have to know your way around a sewing machine. It’s not necessarily “difficult” to do minor alterations like this, but it can feel like a steep learning curve to get to know the machinery and tedious processes necessary to finish a garment properly… We’re actually working on a article titled “DIY Alterations”, although if you’ve never sewn anything, I would probably save yourself the time and frustration by taking your old stuff to a tailor, or selling it to a second-hand store if you’ve invested in garments that hold value. Ultimately, there is always trade-offs when you’re attempting to cut down ready-to-wear garments to fit properly, and those trade-offs are greatly enhanced by novice seamstress work. More soon, thanks for reading.

Death to Advertorial

Q: I just saw that DETAILS magazine went out of business this week. I was reminded of an article you wrote about the current state of men’s magazines and the prominence of “advertisement-focused content” affecting their readership. Curious on your thoughts about this closing? Is GQ going under next? Are they going to shift strategy? 

A: This was no surprise. Just a matter of time, really. Magazines are getting squeezed from both sides. On one hand advertisers are spending less and less on the print space. A brand’s advertising budget is better spent with online publishers (where each campaign dollar can be traced with transparency) and on their own online efforts to get in front of potential consumers directly. Secondly, because magazines now have less advertisers to chose from, those that are still spending are asking for a lot more in return. This has created a landscape where “advertorials” have overtaken “editorials”. In the age of transparency, educated consumers, and personal opinion blogs, the masses are starting to realize that everything in these magazines is an advertisement sold to a brand, not an actual recommendation from an “expert”. It’s just the beginning of this shift. The real question is if this closing is going to cause a Wall Street style snowball effect where even more advertisers pull-out their “guaranteed” dollars, escalated this shift and forcing the big publishers to make even more radical shifts. Either way, if I was working for one of the remaining men’s magazines selling “advertorials”, my butthole would be feeling extra tight about now.


Thanks, as always, for reading. Got a style question? Hit me

Yours in style,

Dan Trepanier

Photography by Alex Crawford. Modeling by Young Myles.