Hue Right: Colors for Gentlemen with Gray Hair

December 8th, 2016

In this edition of “Hue Right” we’re talking about the best (and worst) colors for gentlemen with fair skin and gray hair.

For this one we tapped long-time friend of AOS Mike O’Hearn (Tim’s father), from my hometown of Windsor Ontario!

First, the colors to avoid.

Avoid: Pale Neutral Colors

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You want to avoid shades that are too similar to your natural coloring; beiges, creams, off-whites, stone grays, taupes, etc. These colors will only wash you out and emphasize your gray tones.

Go For: Rich Fall Colors

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Saturated Fall colors (like forest green, burgundy and chestnut brown) can offset your otherwise colorless palette and bring some youthful energy to your look. Keep the jacket dark, the shirt light (the pink bengal stripe references the burgundy jacket), and the tie in a middle tone to tie the two together.

Go For: Low Contrast Blues

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If you have gray hair and fair skin, you are considered “low contrast”. This means you will look better in low-contrast outfits. Consider pairing colors that are similar in tone and “darkness”, like the jacket and shirt here (both mid-blues). Monochromatic outfits (with a focus on texture contrasts) are always a smooth look for a gentleman with salt & pepper hair. This goes for dark outfits as well – a charcoal wool topcoat over a black cashmere turtleneck, for example, is very sharp and sophisticated.

Don’t Be Afraid of Gray

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A lot of men who go gray think they should avoid the color altogether, for fear of looking older. That’s a mistake. Embrace it, especially dark charcoal fabrics with a luxe texture – like this wool/cashmere oversized birdseye, for example. Gray is masculine, mature and sophisticated.

What’s most important is making sure your garments fit properly. Nothing will make you look “older” and more “out of touch” than oversized menswear that doesn’t flatter your body type.

A Quick Note on Hair Coloring

We often get reader questions about hair coloring products, like “Just For Men”. In my opinion, unless your grays are significantly premature and it’s affecting your perceived age/ability, I say embrace the gray! A well-groomed head of gray hair can be an asset. After all, a well-made gentleman only gets better with age.

Got gray hair? Feel free to share your experience(s) in the comments section below!

Thanks, as always, for reading.

Yours in style,

Dan Trepanier

Shop Custom Menswear Made in America

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  • Sylvester

    Don’t forget fedoras world. Hat is the key, not only for look !.
    Sylvester.

  • Tiffany

    Sometimes it is best to take a quick look at the contrast between the color of our skin and the color of our hair when choosing a color for your suit. Gentlemen with gray hair should replace stark dark colors with softer colors.

    Tiffany Brenning,
    Contributing Editor at http://menhairstylist.com/

  • Simo

    Dan, terrific piece and loved the advice at the end. As someone who is now mid 50’s (having started greying and balding during my late 30’s), I can only repeat your advice: embrace the gray and learn the value of well tailored / well fitted classic clothing. I actually feel more confident now, than when I did at 30! Best to you and all the AoS readers, Simo