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trends & subculturesThursday, October 8, 2020

Menswear Color Trends of 2021 with Pantone


The biannual Pantone Fashion Color Trend Report has become essential reading for those wanting to know which colors they should start filling their wardrobes with. But since 2020 has been no ordinary year, color is going to take on a whole new meaning in 2021. Rather than just something to adorn ourselves with, next year we’ll be using color to soothe and uplift, and maybe even to inspire and transform ourselves. Though the official Pantone Color of the Year 2021 doesn’t get announced until the end of 2020, here’s your opportunity to get a head start: we talk to Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute and master of all things color, who has some pertinent words on how best to use color to enhance our health and well-being this season. 


What are the big shifts in color from 2020 to 2021?

‘Color for 2020 highlighted our desire for colors that are versatile, timeless and convey functionality, colors that combine a sense of fun with purpose. The biggest shift we see for 2021 is an increased longing to surround ourselves with colors that offer a bit of escape; colors that reflect hope and optimism as well as colors which highlight our desire to connect closer to the beauty of nature. This shift is clearly a result of the pandemic.’


Can you name the key differences between the New York and London color palettes?

‘The color palette for London displays greater freshness and lightheartedness as compared to New York. One gets the feeling that the colors featured in the collections represent a way for us all to escape into a world more delightful and enjoyable than the one we are currently living in as a result of the pandemic.’


How do the 2020 color trends reflect the current state of the fashion industry, and ultimately the uncertain times we live in?

‘The 2020 color trends reflect the current state of the fashion industry in that they prize longevity and versatility - colors that display a classic element, cross seasons and can endure. Colors we can depend on. Colors that offer functionality in that they can be easily paired and carry us through our day into evening. Colors that encourage creativity which in turn fosters confidence. This is a spirit we began to see prior to the pandemic that has been heightened during these most uncertain of times.’


Color can be such a source of pleasure and enjoyment in our lives. How can we wield it to make us feel hopeful and optimistic given the current climate?

‘Allow yourself to enjoy the wonder of color, just as you did when you were a child. Play with the possibilities; even the act of combining colors can be a fun, enjoyable and creative experience that lifts the spirits.’


Can you explain the role nature plays in the color trends of 2021?

‘When people are sequestered for long periods of time, they long to “connect” with nature and the outdoors. Floral patterns in particular are beautiful and colorful connectors to natural scenes.’


How do the standout and core classic colors for 2021 complement each other this season?

‘This season, we see that the core colors forge a cohesive group combining with all of the standard colors. There is great versatility present that leads to multiple combinations and interaction, allowing the entire wardrobe to offer great flexibility.’



Which colors should you be wearing in 2021?

Shop this style: Prada Geometric-Print Shirt


Beach Glass


Which designers are doing turquoise in 2021?

AMI, Casablanca, Tom Ford, Kiko Kostadinov, Kenzo, Loewe, Louis Vuitton, Sacai, Y/Project.


Turquoise must-haves:

The Turquoise Shirt

Turquoise has been used nostalgically this season, as if longing for bygone eras when times were simpler and more full of promise, turning traditional shirting shapes into romantic reminders of the past. At Casablanca, lush greens were paired with contrasting white stripes on long sleeve polos evoking images of summer days spent playing tennis at country clubs. Meanwhile, Kiko Kostadinov went further back, creating billowing turquoise blousons emulating those worn by the aristocrats of Florence during the Renaissance. JW Anderson’s Loewe celebrated ancient artisanal techniques creating full-length tunics finished with shibori-style tie-dyes. Even at Louis Vuitton where the use of the color was most modern, the boxy shouldered bluey-green shirts with accompanying neck ties seemed to reference vintage Armani and the old-school opulence of Wall Street. With a return to the safety of mother nature being a major theme in fashion this season, could this be one of the strongest contenders for Pantone’s 2021’s color of the year?


Pairs well with…

White, denim, baby blue, green and black.


Pantone match

Beach Glass best suits Blue Atoll (Pantone 16-4535).


What to buy to get ahead of the trend…

Stone Island Padded Zip-Up Down Jacket // Rick Owens DRKSHDW Longline Drawstring Hoodie // Vivienne Westwood Embroidered Logo Crew Neck T-Shirt // Polo Ralph Lauren Drawstring Track Shorts

Shop this style: By Walid Beige Inno Lace-Up Moccasins




Which designers are doing beige in 2021?

Paria Farzaneh, Ami, Celine, Dior, Margeret Howell, Junya Watanabe, Lanvin, Paul Smith, Prada.


Beige must-haves:

The Beige Moccasins

Macchiato in 2021 symbolises one thing and one thing only –– the holidays we were robbed of in 2020. Think espressos in Puglia, leather goods in the souks of Morocco, and the sandy beaches of Indonesia. Yes, beige and brown this season is all about escapism. The good thing is, the money you saved on travelling abroad can be pumped back into your summer wardrobe ready for next year. Our suggestion? Opt for some easy-wearing woven moccasins or super summery leather sandals like those from Paul Smith which were inspired by, you guessed it, his photo albums from a holiday in Havana.


Pairs well with…

Off-white, red, orange, white, gray, purple, green, dark brown and black.


Pantone match

Macchiato best pairs with Orange Ochre (Pantone 16-1253).


What to buy to get ahead of the trend…

Prada Brushed Chevron Jacket // MCM Embroidered Logo Hoodie // STORY mfg. Freedom Is Harmony, Peace Is Love Sweatshirt // Pronounce Panelled Straight-Leg Trousers

Shop this style: Ambush Wrap Cotton Jacket


Indigo Bunting


Which designers are doing blue in 2021?

Balenciaga, Wales Bonner, Burberry, Casablanca, Celine, JW Anderson, Versace, White Mountaineering.


Blue must-haves:

The Blue Jacket

The shade of color we like to call ‘Bernie Sanders’ blue was everywhere this season, but most evident on outerwear. Pioneered by Balenciaga a couple seasons back with their riff on the then Democratic presidential candidate’s campaign creative, it returns for 2021 on Demna Gvasalia’s signature oversized tracksuits. Continuing the sportswear theme, the blue was used on cropped collaborative adidas track jackets at Wales Bonner, and on Nike-esque windrunners at Celine. Elsewhere, it was used on more classical outerwear shapes like a modern reinterpretation of the Burberry trench. If you’re looking for something more multicolored, JW Anderson’s playful color-blocked jacket that screams ‘United Colors Of Benetton’ gets our pick. 


Pairs well with…

White, gold, red, black and light blue.


Pantone match

Indigo Bunting best suits Gold Flake (Pantone 16-0748).


What to buy to get ahead of the trend…


Blue Givenchy Address Logo-Print Hoodie // Balenciaga Logo Print T-Shirt // Blue & Black AV Vattev Halishte Dragon-Print Tank Top // Gucci Striped Track Pants // Adidas Gazelle Vintage Sneakers


Shop this style: Junya Watanabe Man Single Breasted Patch Pocket Blazer


Ultimate Gray


Which designers are doing gray in 2021?

A-Cold-Wall*, Dior, Engineered Garments, Fear Of God, Hermès, Jacquemus, Martine Rose, OAMC.


Gray must-haves:

The Gray Blazer

The iconic gray blazer proves that timeless doesn’t have to mean boring in 2021. The standout of the season came from Kim Jones’ Dior, where the classic sport coat was deconstructed and recreated as a tailored vest with the sleeve fabric slung over the neck as a makeshift scarf. Other memorable pieces include Jacquemus’ boxy and asymmetric suiting with oh-so-cute heart cutouts, and short sleeved and cropped renditions at Jerry Lorenzo’s Fear of God. Even the more typical takes on this formal wardrobe essential had their own unique character, whether decked out in workwear patterns like hickory stripe at Engineered Garments, or super lightweight and unstructured at Hermès. The most wearable in our eyes came from Brit designer Martine Rose, whose gray blazer is modeled on that worn by the sleazy club owner or off-duty business man. Invest now and you’ll have a dependable cross-season and day-to-night transitional piece for years to come.


Pairs well with…

Black, green, cream and white.


Pantone match

Ultimate Gray would best suit Pickled Pepper (Pantone 16-0436)


What to buy to get ahead of the trend…

Craig Green Pocket-Detail Trench Coat // Off-White Oversized Arrows Poncho // UNIFORME Straight-Fit Suit Trousers // Burberry Ramsey Sneakers


Shop this style: Moncler Grenoble Padded Feather Down Jacket


Lava Falls


Which designers are doing red in 2021?

Balenciaga, Fendi, A-Cold-Wall*, Marni, GmbH, Louis Vuitton, Undercover, Wooyoungmi, Yohji Yamamoto.


Red must-haves:

The Red Coat

A lava red coat does exactly what we need our wardrobe to do in 2021 –– it inspires confidence. Oversized at Balenciaga and technical at A-Cold-Wall*, a fiery outerwear piece will see you through the harshest of winters. Creepy-crawly adorned overcoats and puffers at Louis Vuitton are some of the more creative takes this season, creating maximum impact by combining vibrant coloring with a bit of fun. Even more traditional silhouettes seem transformed in this color. At Wooyoungmi, it’s used to further the brand’s unique take on unisex tailoring with slouchy blazer jackets in blood reds, while Paris Fashion Week veteran Yohji Yamamoto gives an ultra-modern update to a Libertines-style military coat.


Pairs well with…

Black, white and denim. 


Pantone match

Lava Falls best suits Faded Denim (Pantone 17-4021)


What to buy to get ahead of the trend…

Balenciaga Soccer Print Short Sleeve Shirt // Off-White Graphic Print T-Shirt // Red Y-3 Drawstring Waist Track Pants // Maison Margiela Panelled Low-Top Sneakers


Shop this style: OAMC Straight-Leg Drawstring Trousers


Polar Night


Which designers are doing navy in 2021?

1017 ALYX 9SM, Balenciaga, Neil Barrett, AMI, Jil Sander, Lanvin, Nicholas Daley, Versace.


Navy must-haves

The Navy Trouser

When it comes to versatility and timelessness –– the key focuses in color for 2021 –– nothing beats a pair of navy trousers. What this season has shown is that fashion has begun to mature again, branching off from the sportswear and streetwear shapes that have dominated the runways for several years now. But while more tailored bottoms are making a comeback, that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice on comfort. See the relaxed and oversized trousers at Balenciaga, which come with elasticated waistbands for maximum wearability, while Lanvin style its version to pool aesthetically over your footwear –– no more showing off sneakers. Though the tracksuit is on its way out, we loved Nicholas Daley’s fresh take on sportswear with his martial arts-inspired trousers. Finally, there’s still a place for razor-sharp slim tailoring as evidenced by the suit pants seen at the likes of ALYX and Versace.


Pairs well with…

Cream, black, red and grays.


Pantone match

Polar Night pairs with Baby’s Breath (Pantone 11-0202).


What to buy to get ahead of the trend…

Z Zegna High-Neck Blazer Jacket // Off-White Arrows Motif Zipped Hoodie // Palm Angels Check Print Bowling Shirt // Blue Axel Arigato Clean 90 Sneakers

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