Business Wear Trends & Colour Themes - SUMMER 2011-12

Men’s Business Style for Summer is influenced by some key trends.   Being aware of them these will help you adapt and update your own style to suit the demands of your business situation.


The most important trend to understand is the way “Business Style” is becoming “Business Casual Style” and it’s been gathering pace, noticeably faster in our capital city CBDs over the last few years.  Our city streets are now filled with men who simply remove their tie mid way during their day to make themselves more comfortable, particularly during hot weather.   However, if they started their day dressed in a beautiful lightweight woollen navy suit, crisp white or pale blue shirt and a carefully knotted matching tie, then their business style that looked sophisticated when they arrived at the office can look somewhat rumpled by lunch time. Removing the jacket and tie during the day can often result in looking “partly dressed” which is quite different from “business casual” style.

Business Casual is now a common term, although not always well understood because it’s not strictly defined.   The term is quite fluid and may be interpreted as a polo shirt with dress jeans, through to dress shirt, silk tie and chinos. To add to the confusion, many variations in between are all acceptable at certain times and situations.   Rather than attempt a business casual definition, at Stripe & Company we suggest you’ll project business casual style by emphasising your “business style” first and adding a touch of casual informality. To read more about how to adapt Business Casual style to your own situation, our article Business Casual Style (April 2011) includes tips and tricks, as well as some history about my own experiences during my years in the IT industry.

Read more about Business Casual Style:


It seems obvious, but its important to remember, that the perfect cut for today’s business man is when your shirt & suit cut is carefully matched to your body shape.

For example, observe the “young guns” business men in their 20’s who workout regularly at the gym, who like to stay on trend with casual fashions and incorporate current styles into their business dress; their shirts are often Slim Fit made using pure cotton quality fabrics, or Fitted styles made with cotton fabrics blended with elastane (spandex) to give some stretch.   Likewise, their suits are made of lightweight quality fabrics. Jackets are single breasted and trousers slim, flat fronted (no pleats) and long enough to touch the shoes with a slight “break” so that socks are not normally seen while standing.   Unless you are trying to make a particular statement it’s best to avoid “fashion” extremes such as the tight fitting body shirts of the 1970’s or the baggy styles of the 1980’s.

The important message we learn from the best presented of these men is that the Cut and Fit of your shirt looks best when it is perfectly suited to your body shape.   It doesn’t matter what shape you are. If the Collar size is just right, the sleeve lengths perfect, shoulder seams sitting correctly on the edge of the shoulder and the shirt body is tailored to suit your chest, waist and hip measurements with enough room for your personal comfort then you’ll look great and feel great.

Understanding your shape and measurements arms you with the information you need to make an informed choice about the best cut that suits you.

In our Stripe & Company collections we’ve designed our collections with customisation options to suit ALL men’s body shapes:
  • StripeWear Shirts are mainly business/business casual Classic Cut
  • BlackStripe Shirts are Trim Cut (casual)
  • Custom Fit collection of business and dress Shirts include Classic, Trim and Slim Fit patterns, plus if you provide us with your chest, waist and hips measurements, we’ll hand finish the shirt body to best suit your chest and we adjust the sleeves to your perfect sleeve length – it’s all included in the shirt price
  • 4-AUSTRALIA collection Shirts are made to measure by scaling our Classic, Trim or Slim Fit patterns to your exact size including shirt body shaping
  • BESPOKE collection Shirts are fully custom made, individually patterned to your measurements, styling requirements and cut
All of our shirts, including the Clearance shirts, may be customised to your requirements and correct body fit.   It’s personalised service that we enjoy providing to you.

What’s YOUR Men’s Style?


When selecting garment colours it’s best to achieve a balance between the “right” colours for you and changing trends.

The “Right” Colours

Your skin tone, eye colour and hair colour will affect what colours suit you best; Warm, Cool or Dark?

If you have pale skin , you will have predominantly Warm or Cool tones.  To work this out, stand in front of a mirror and hold up a blue item next to your face. Then try something red. If you look better (healthy, bright, clean) with the blue, you have cool tones. If it’s red, you are warm.

• Cool toned skin suits clean, fresh colours such as blue, teal & violet
• Warm toned skin looks good with rust, red and orange

If you have dark skin , you could wear bright, bold colours. Also consider pinks and lilacs.

Of course most people can combine colours and the best guide is your own eye, or that of someone you trust.   If you put a yellow shirt on and it makes you look pale or jaundiced, then yellow is not your colour.

As a general guide, colours that are same as your eyes, or draw a colour out from your eyes, will be flattering. Blue suits blue. Green is good for green. If you have hazel or flecked eyes, you can choose green, gold or chocolate.

Fair hair is best contrasted with darker colours, while dark hair suits light blue or icy tones. Redheads can wear strong colours but in muted tones (i.e. forest green rather than lime).

Read More about Choosing Your Colours:


New colour themes for Summer 2011/12 are replacing last year’s nautical style. We’ve arranged colours into three (3) distinct themes that overlay your skin tone variations; Warm Utility, Cool Urbane and Modern Creative.  The base colours in each theme are complemented by accent colours that change according to your skin tones and personal style.


This colour theme is for those with predominantly warm tones, features khaki shades, light through to dark layered for comfort, with accents and accessories in reds and yellows.   The accent colours are warm and slightly muted, as opposed to the bright nautical style colours of last year.

For business – apply this them by first selecting a shirt in taupe, pale blue, khaki or cream, perhaps with patch pockets. Co-ordinate with a lightweight suit in pale grey through to charcoal according to your taste and then add a splash of colour accent in your necktie that complements your shirt.  If you are not wearing a tie or are likely to remove it during the day, then select your shirts in stripes, checks or bolder patterns in multi colours to add interest.


This theme suits those with predominantly cool tones presents an alternative with subtle accents that are a touch more decorative in faded and dusky blues, beige, lilacs and purples.  Along with some deeper khaki and chocolate brown, it’s a theme that’s cooler, fresh and crisp.

For business – start with a shirt in beige or cream, and then apply this theme with accent colours in your tie and cufflinks that are brighter blues and purples.   Add pale silver greys for an elegant addition as these also provide an alternative contrast colour to white.   Your classic suit could be navy or black, or for a softer neutral style choose grey through to charcoal.


Blending some aspects from both the Warm Utility and Cool Urbane themes with different colour tones gives a creative, fresh style.  This time the accent colours are violets, electric blues and natural greens such as apple, olive and hues of grassy greens – all also look great when they include a touch of metallic hues.

For business - build onto a shirt in a base colour of soft blues in fine stripes, creams or perhaps crisp white for dress occasions. For suits, vary the colour according to your mood.


Which ever colour theme you prefer, go with your instinct as to what feels great.   It’s ok to experiment and be creative, especially with your ties and cufflinks, but if unsure veer to the subtle side just enough to feel fully confident about your overall style.

If you rarely wear a tie then consider shirts with contrasting white collars or contrast fabric patterns and colours inside the collar stand; these look great without a tie and are hidden when worn with a tie (all Edward Stripe shirts may be upgraded to include white or contrast colour collars and/or cuffs).

If you often wear neckties, then slim ties in textured plain colours are currently on trend. Wider width pure silk neckties (preferably Italian fabrics) in beautiful colours and patterns are an enduring classic.

Casual times and/or after work, you can remove your tie (or wear it half mast) and do a quick change from suit trousers into chinos (any colour) and well cut denim jeans in shades of blue and darker greys.

Footwear should always be comfortable and everyone needs a pair or two of good quality, black or tan leather shoes.   Wear them with matching belts and darker coloured socks   & dark coloured socks - they’ll take you anywhere.

If you are outside in the sun, don’t forget your favourite hat that suits your style and a pair of cool sunglasses.

Classic Style, quality not quantity, and the ability to co-ordinate favourite garments across your business, business causal, and casual wear will maximise the return from your wardrobe investment.

© 2011 Andrew Dobson, Stripe & Company. All rights reserved.

Posted by Andrew Dobson on 9th November, 2011 | Comments | Trackbacks
Tags: bespoke, spring, custom tailored, colour themes, custom made, shirt styles, 4-Australia, summer 2011, seasonal trends, modern creative theme, colours, summer, stripewear, business casual, summer 2012, custom fit, warm tones, business wear, casual wear, warm utility theme, shirt cut, spring 2011, cool tones, blackstripe, dark skin, cool urbane theme, made to measure, pale skin, spring styling, summer styling

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