What goes with what

Three go-to summer colour combos

Three go-to summer colour combos

Colour is made for summer. When the sun’s high in the sky it interacts with your clothes in a different way to winter, making lighter, brighter shades feel rich and welcoming. It’s why flowers wait until it’s warmed up before they unfurl, the better to attract all those colour-loving insects.

But because you (presumably) don’t want your shirt covered in bees, it pays to think about summer colour carefully. “At the first sunny day, a lot of guys go bright all-over,” says Thread stylist Toby Standing. “An all-red outfit works for children’s entertainers, but you’re better off using it as an accent against the classic, versatile colours that are already in your wardrobe.”

Colour is, quite literally, a spectrum; you don’t have to be all-or-nothing. “Try a more colourful top,” says Toby, “or even just different shades of colours that you’re already comfortable with. If you love navy, try a sky blue sweatshirt; if you wore burgundy in winter, a t-shirt with scarlet stripes is a great way to make your wardrobe more summery.”

With colour, less is often more. With really bright shades, you can apply them sparingly and still make an impact. “Patterns are a good way to anchor brighter colours, because there’s a bit less of it on show,” says Toby. Ditto accessories: “A bright yellow pocket square, or tie, is easier to wear than a canary blazer.”

Most importantly, you need to make sure your colours complement each other. “Avoid wearing too many colours at once,” says Toby. “Particularly bright colours. Stick to either an accent with neutrals, or choose two shades that you know work really well together.” Again, brightness plays a part here. Two brights together can feel noisy, but a bright colour feels much safer if the other shade is fairly dark.

To take away the guesswork, we’ve paired some of our favourite easy-to-wear summer shades. So your wardrobe can be a shade brighter, risk-free.

Pink and grey

Photographed: Joules Pink Laundered Slim Oxford Shirt (£55)Andersons Andersons Woven Textile Belt (£79)Hammond & Co ‘Yale’ Boat shoes (£65)MVP Morris Gingham Checked Shirt (£28)Reiss Varsity Short Sleeved Polo (£70)Pier One Slip On Shoes (£33)Champion Classic Zip Hoody (£95)Boden Pink Shorts (£45)MVP Grey Arbour Mercerised Cotton Jersey T-Shirt (£18)

Pink isn’t as hard-to-wear as most guys think. “You just need to ground it in something nice and simple,” says Toby. Grey is a neutral, which means it works with any colour. But again, make sure you balance your tones. “Dusky pinks are good with pale greys. To anchor brighter pinks, go for a grey with more black in.”

Green and tan

Photographed: Sunspel Green Cotton T-Shirt (£65)Green Fred Perry Polo (£60)Maple Linen Mesa Cap (£79)Timex x Nigel Cabourn SST Watch (£129)Lacoste Swim Shorts (£49)MVP Albion Slub Jersey Crew Neck T-Shirt (£24)Clarks Desert Boots (£95)Gant Rugger Slim Fit Selvedge Chambray Shirt (£90)Andersons Andersons Woven Leather Belt (£109)MVP Lukin Stone Shorts (£24)Gant Green Cotton Socks (£12)

As a cheat sheet for colour-matching, look to nature; if a pairing works on a plant, odds are it will work in your wardrobe, too. “Green and tan are both earthy colours,” says Toby, “and that gives you a lot of leeway to experiment with different tones.” Green is the easiest colour to wear after blue, which means even bright shades won’t give anyone a headache.

Yellow and blue

Photographed: MVP Clapton Straight Fit Denim (£40)Whistles Canvas Tote Bag (£30)Gant Rugger Selvedge Bleeding Madras Check Shirt (£95)MVP Albion Slub Jersey Crew Neck T-Shirt - Navy (£24)H&M Yellow Cashmere jumper (£80)Joules Yellow Laundered Slim Oxford Shirt (£55)Lacoste Yellow Polo (£79)Armor Lux 1525 Long Sleeve Loctudy Striped T-Shirt (£55)Stutterheim Yellow Raincoat (£179)Adidas Gazelle - Navy (£75)Puma Suede 90681 OG Yellow (£95)

Every guy looks good in navy, so it’s a good base for brights. “Yellow is opposite blue on the colour wheel, so the strength of that contrast means they work well together,” says Toby. Bright yellows will stand out, so you don’t need much to make an impact; keep them for stripes or polka dots. “The more fabric on show, the more washed-out the yellow should be. Things like shirts and tees work best when they’re quite pale, so they don’t dominate your outfit.”