Periodically in life, I’ll notice that a certain color is popping up more than usual in shopping and browsing—like pink in 2017. For the last few years, olive green (verging on brown) has been popular, and is now considered an essential neutral. In the cyclical, undulating world of menswear, colors like black, white, gray, and navy are timeless staples. But lately I’ve noticed a few shades of bright blue menswear that offer an alternative to more muted blues.
It started last year with a particular silver signet ring at Bottega Veneta , finished in two-toned cobalt and black enamel (pictured in the collage above). At the time I couldn’t decide if a bright blue and black combination was too police department governmental institutional.
Around the same time, I’d purchased a similar ring from BV in black enamel with garnets, which felt richer and more sartorial than the blue and black combination, though I was still intrigued. Other brands have been making mens jewelry with bold blue stones or resin too—Maison Margiela, Barneys.
Then I began to see bright blue in non-apparel influences. Many automakers offer certain models in bold shades of electric blue (Volvo, Mercedes).
Dyson has a line of fans that come in bright “iron blue.”
Then most recently, I happened upon a bright blue jacket that truly felt like it was meant to find me.
I found it at ReLove, one of San Francisco’s best resale shops. Unlike some others that take a “more is more” approach, ReLove is highly edited and curated, so the selection is never overwhelming; the pieces available are all in good condition and in line with current trends.
This particular jacket was made by Blue Blue Japan, a niche brand known for its all-natural pure indigo dyes. The result is a seasonal collection in a variety of blue shades, all of which are rich and vivid. The line captures the casual, functional elegance of Japanese style.
Without hesitation, I was instantly drawn to this piece, quickly grasping the serendipity.
- It also appeared in a color I have been subconsciously noticing for the last year.
- It fits me perfectly about the shoulders and chest, typically my problem areas.
- It satisfied some of the principles I aim to abide by: second-hand (not adding to overall demand for new), natural fabrics (100% cotton), and (I assume) sustainably made in Japan.
Having heard of the brand before seeing it in person, I knew I’d found a subtle treasure. Well not so subtle. Its bright almost ultramarine tone stands out in a sea of muted dark colors, especially in Northern California, which isn’t know for especially outlandish dressing.
And for $85, I couldn’t be more thrilled. The prices at ReLove are reasonable for designer resale, though not everything is strictly luxury. Look out for a different post on San Francisco’s best resale and second-hand stores coming soon!
After a cursory search for other bright blue items with a renewed enthusiasm, I found this shirt by Simon Miller at Moda Operandi. It’s similarly bright, and is matched with navy Marni trousers, which are almost black. The combination of bold blue and dark, nearly-black / blue is similar to the original color pairing I noticed with that enamel ring.
It’s also 100% cotton and made in the USA, perfect as an overshirt for spring-summer temperatures.
The way I see it, every color has an appeal, but it’s deeply subjective. It can be tough to translate why I don’t like one color but adore another similar shade. Lately I have been bored with the stuff in my closet and with more muted blues.
Navy and medium-wash denim are perennial and will always have a place, but sometimes it’s nice to indulge in something more dramatic. Of course, the application of the color matters too. Fabrics and finishes alter how a color is interpreted, whether it’s shiny or matte, fluffy or smooth.
See my Spring 2019 Menswear board on Pinterest for a current mix of colors, including fresh bright blue menswear.