Pink pants for the modern man

Pink pants for the modern man

Q. I’m not saying it’s me, but let’s just say I know someone whose wife bought him a pair of pink jeans, and they fit him really well.  What could “he” wear them with to make his friends less likely to poke fun at him?

A. I am impressed with any man who is open enough to new ideas and secure enough not to back away from such a question. Whoever he is, this man’s wife should also be proud of him.

The time has long passed when men hesitated to wear a pink shirt with a navy blazer or, say, a pink linen jacket to a summer party. But a pair of pink jeans may still cause many men concern. The secure well-dressed man knows that his casual clothes offer an opportunity to put together outfits that not only make him look good, but also are fun to wear. I’m not sure I would like a pair of pink dress pants, but jeans are another story. They can say all kinds of good things about the guy who is wearing them and about his self-confidence.

Here are a few examples to try with pink jeans: the most casual combination would be to wear them with a white T-shirt or a striped polo shirt, white sneakers, and white crew socks; a slightly dressier combo for a business-casual setting might be a nice small plaid shirt (where the plaid does not include pink) with brown deck shoes; and for a weekend afternoon party, a navy blazer, a white button-down Oxford cloth or a white-and-blue tattersall dress shirt, brown belt, dark brown loafers, and navy socks.

On the other hand, some combinations can suggest that he is a dandy, or worse . . . an exhibitionist. Anytime a man chooses to wear something that is too over-the-top, he puts his judgment in jeopardy. As I have been preaching for years, how we dress and present ourselves to the world is a strong business and social tool; how we use this tool sends a persuasive visual message.

Perhaps even more important than what to combine with men’s pink jeans is a list of what NOT to wear with them, namely anything that is particularly noticeable. This list might be called, “Attention-grabbing items.” Because men’s pink jeans are unique and unexpected, the best approach   is to tone down everything else in the outfit. Everything else should be quiet, refined, traditional, even conservative. The sort of items you might wear with well-cut gray flannel trousers or quiet khaki pants would be good choices. Avoid bow ties, colorful patterned socks, eye-catching accessories.

And, exactly contrary to my usual rule about coordinating colors in an outfit, this is most definitely not the time to repeat the color. In other words, do not wear anything else that is pink or includes pink in its pattern. No matching pink jacket, pink shirt, pink tie, pink pocket square, or pink socks . . . all too contrived. The more neutral the colors paired with the pink jeans, the better. As examples, choose such menswear staples as a navy blazer, gray or navy sweater, white shirt, khaki or olive plaid sport shirt, plain gray sweatshirt, dark polo shirt, any color T-shirt, brown belt, dark brown loafers or deck shoes, white low-topped sneakers, and dark socks.

While I do not recommend choosing items that match the pink color, it is still important not to go so far in the opposite direction as to seem clueless. Don’t choose colors that are clearly clashing, such as orange, mustard, or bright red. Also, don’t choose anything that is too stylishly well-coordinated, such as shades of lilac or purple; these could come across as too planned and fashion-forward. Instead, casual nonchalance is the key. Interestingly, the obsessively well-dressed Italians have a fashion word for this concept, “sprezzatura.” It is a whole school of thought based on purposely appearing not too perfectly well-dressed. The word is defined as “studied carelessness.” Wikipedia defines it this way: Sprezzatura  ([spretts a tu’ra]) is an Italian word that first appears in Baldassare Castiglione’s 1528 “The Book of the Courtier,” where it is defined by the author as “a certain nonchalance, so as to conceal all art and make whatever one does or says appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it.”


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