In Style: Color Me Beautiful
Fashion trends, including color, come and go, but most garments meant for corporate apparel or promotional purposes tend toward the tried-and-true neutrals: black, white, navy, gray.
But bold color choices can make your brand stand out, says Carissa Richmond, director of national sales with Los Angeles-based supplier BELLA+CANVAS.
“We’ve realized that 70 to 80% of buying decisions are based on color alone,” she says, “so having the right color is key.”
Richmond adds that although many promo customers initially look for blanks in neutrals or classic red or blue, they are often drawn to other colors once they see what’s available.
“We’re seeing that a lot of customers are gravitating towards colors that differentiate their offering,” she says. “… A lot of them realize that if they’re going to add a color that none of their competitors have, then that really differentiates their offering and helps continue to grow their brand.”
The color experts at Pantone have highlighted a variety of colors for 2023. Well ahead of unveiling Viva Magenta, its 2023 Color of the Year, Pantone released a color palette for New York Fashion Week in September 2022. The collection of 10 mostly bright hues for spring and summer includes vivid red, pink and orange, as well as classic and lime green, plus two calming, grayish blues.
To complement these cheery hues, Pantone also provided five “core classics” with a more subdued tone, including pastel pink and blue and earthy shades of gray, green and brown.
1. Pastels Never Fade Away
Fashionistas are all in for pastels. Take the runway reporting of Anna LaPlaca for Who What Wear, who lists “icy pastels” and gray (“the new It neutral color”) among the colors featured most frequently by designers.
“Shades of periwinkle, lavender, mint, and light pink appeared watered down and barely there,” she writes. “I’m especially keen on trying this trend, as I just know it will play well with my wardrobe of more classic neutrals.”
Pastels can be a great way to add some variety to corporate apparel programs for a fresh but timeless look, and beige has been popping up on red carpets as a neutral but fashion-forward counterpoint to the metallics and glam normally associated with celebrity events.
If magenta is too strong, consider ballet pink or an even lighter pastel. This Midweight Hooded Sweatshirt comes in 37 colors (shown in light pink) and sizes XS- 5X. Features a jersey lined hood, tearaway label and kangaroo pocket.
S&S Activewear / PPAI 256121, S12
Go with light gray for a modern look. This men’s Old Navy Dynamic Fleece Full-Zip Hoodie features contrasting details at the zippers, cuffs and pockets. It comes in three colors (shown in light heather) and sizes XS-3X. (Women’s companion black only.)
Vantage Apparel / PPAI 113235, S10
2. Dive In The Deep End With Blue Hues
LaPlaca also notes that aquamarine, a bold shade between green and blue, made a splash in spring/summer collections:
“I can confidently say that there’s a new bold It color in town, and it couldn’t be any fresher,” she writes. “Shades of aqua, turquoise, and cerulean are quickly gaining traction.”
A perennial classic, denim has surged in popularity in the past year, and a selection of blues provides denim-like options for T-shirts and other garments.
Glam.com’s Zoe Nolz reports that shades of blue dominated spring 2023 collections, from “unconventional denim ensembles, ultra-light blue pieces, and even a couple of brighter blue hues” from Burberry to “bold cobalt blue outfits” from Christian Siriano.
“Therefore, the hue won’t be limited to a single tint, shade, or saturation in spring 2023,” she writes, “light, bright, dark, denim, and subtle blues should all be trendy.”
Richmond agrees: “You really can’t go wrong with a shade of blue.”
Blues from barely-there pastel to deep, dark navy are trending, especially bright turquoise hues. This OGIO Ladies Pulse Dolman Tee comes in four colors (shown in electric blue) and sizes XS-4X. Made of breathable 100% polyester with stay-cool wicking technology.
SanMar / PPAI 110788, S16
This unisex Pack-N-Go Pullover comes in 16 colors, including four shades of blue (shown in Carolina blue). The lightweight, water-resistant jacket folds into its own front pouch pocket with zipper closure and self-fabric loop for easy packing on the go.
Charles River Apparel / PPAI 111644, S10
3. Now It’s Easy To Be Green
Green, another standout on spring/summer runways, appeared widely in retail and street style in 2022 and continues to grow in popularity. PureWow’s Abby Hepworth says green is the “new top dog” in fashion and extols its versatility: “You can opt for essentially whatever shade you like best and feel confident you’ll fit right in.”
Given strong sales for green in 2022, Richmond is also excited about green this year, especially Pine, a muted, earthy hue BELLA+CANVAS adopted as part of its group of “vintage” colors. These earthy hues offer a counterpoint to bright, Y2K candy colors and give a garment the appearance of having been washed and worn for years, suggesting nostalgia, comfort – and staying power.
“Washes are very popular in our industry,” she adds, “so this kind of achieves that look without actually having a wash process added to it.”
Green continues to grow in popularity, from pale mint to dark forest. This 100% cotton Unisex Jersey Short Sleeve Tee comes in a whopping 86 colors, including 10+ greens (shown in pine), and sizes XS-5X.
BELLA+CANVAS / PPAI 304892, S6
This Ladies’ Cool & Dry Mesh Piqué Polo comes in 23 colors, including four shades of green (shown in jade), and sizes S-3X. The moisture-wicking fabric offers UV protection. Men’s companion available.
alphabroder Prime Line / PPAI 156993, S16