Garath W. Henry

Bold red tie VS subdued gray tie.

In Outfit on August 2, 2010 at 3:41 pm

The set up:

I’m someone who normally wears lots of blacks, grays, whites, and blues.  Until very recently I was someone who stayed away from bold primary colors.  However, recently my girlfriend Mei told told me that if I were to throw in a bold primary color with many of my outfits the result would be double plus good.

The experiment:

Figuring that I really had nothing to lose, and everything to gain, by attempting this small change I gave it a shoot.  To my way of thinking, rather than try a very new outfit, the best thing to do would be to wear an outfit which I normally wear, and add the bold color to it.  Wearing the outfit in the past gives me some data to work with.  Namely: I  know how people respond to the outfit with out the bold color.

So I put together one of my typical outfits.  White dress shirt with matching pants and vest.  Then I grabbed one of my, infrequently used, red ties and threw it into the mix. The result is pictured below.

Red tie by you.

Bold red with white and gray.

The result:

Throughout the day many people made some very nice comments on the outfit in general. In my humble opinion the most flattering comment was that I looked like I could be an extra on the TV show Mad Men.

**Side note: Just in case it was not obvious –I often go for the Roger Sterling look.**

As I stated above, I’ve worn a similar outfit in the past (see picture below) but did not get nearly as many positive comments.

  by you.

Blue, black, and gray.

So as of this writing there is one data point that seems to suggest that the use of a bold color resulted in more people taking notice of my overall outfit.

Things to consider / keep in mind:

Whenever someone changes something about their personal appearance said person’s friends, family, co-workers, and others who see said person often tend to notice and comment on the change.  Due to the fact that I don’t normally wear bold colors, people may just be making comments because they register the change.

In addition to this, in our culture it is social protocol to make positive comments about someone when they change an aspect of their appearance.  It is considered rude to make a negative comment, even when a negative comment is probably justified.

Moral of the story:

I plan to gather some more data about this.  But in the meantime if I ever want to tall attention to myself, or my clothing, I’m going to use more bold colors.  When I want to blend in more I’ll use a more mono-chromatic color scheme.

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  1. Very tasteful! A small, simple print is a good thing with a strong color tie – best to avoid overly busy patterns on ties in general but especially when the color is going to pull people’s attention to it. That shade of red goes very well with the suit – it’s a “cool” red (probably with a touch of blue) that echoes the coolness of the slate gray material (which has bluish undertones). I think the key to matching strong colors with more subdued ones is to pay attention to the undertones to avoid visual dissonance.

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