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February Fashion Recap: Colour theory

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In the grayest month of winter, the fashion provided plenty of colour.

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Les Canadiennes de Montréal all in pink. L-R: Melanie Desrochers, Marie-Philip Poulin, Emerance Maschmeyer, Geneviève Lacasse.
I would buy an album with this cover art in a hot second. (Left to right: Melanie Desrochers, Marie-Philip Poulin, Emerance Maschmeyer, Geneviève Lacasse)
Shanna Martin-Book

Something that I talk a lot about in this column is color coordination—things going together, things not going together, things that technically are fine but could be better, whatever the hell this was. It’s one of the most difficult aspects of mastering fashion, especially because a lot of it is very intuitive, which can leave a lot of people confused.

For anyone who’s unfamiliar with the terminology I use in this column (warm vs cool colors, saturated vs muted, what makes two colors contrasting vs analogous/coordinating), this primer of graphic design tips lays out a bunch of the concepts really nicely. Fashion and graphic design have different rules, but the language remains consistent. Also, since we’re focusing on color, keep in mind that your monitor display settings might affect your perception of the pictures.

Warning: I will be picking on William Nylander quite a bit this month. Sorry, Willie.

Green goes with green, right? Clashing shades of green, as seen here on William, does not sound like it should be a thing! And yet, I want to tear that shirt off of him and put him in a white one. The cooler, bluer undertones of that (absolutely beautiful) dark green three-piece suit contrast really badly with the warmer, olive green of his shirt. The look could probably have been saved with a tie that incorporated both colors of green to tie (heh) the look together, but as it is, it looks sloppy and poorly matched. Almost-but-not-quite-matching can often be worse than intentionally choosing colors that contrast, because one of those things looks accidental, and it’s always better to look like whatever disaster is happening on your body is a thing you intended.

This is about the point when I became sure that Nylander gets dressed in the dark as some kind of social experiment, because he knows we’ll all love him regardless. Purple and green is one of my favorite color combinations, but a bright cool lilac and a muted dark green look so wrong together—a mismatch of undertone, depth, and saturation that pushes the colors from contrasting into clashing. Compare it to Kasperi Kapanen’s choice of a charcoal gray tie with his dark green suit, which matches both undertone (cool to cool) and saturation (muted to muted) and it’s obvious where the hat goes wrong. A gray beanie would be fine, inasmuch as any beanie would be fine! Master the basics first, Willie.

We talked about this (perfect, superlative, incredible) plum suit last month, but the new pictures of the whole set—two suits designed to be mixed and matched—give me an excuse to revisit it for this point. The fabric selection here was flawless on several levels; they selected a color (plum) that flatters Andersen, added a lighter neutral (gray) that offers a great contrast to the darker plum while sharing a similar cool, muted tone, and then gave the neutral gray a pattern to make it a bit more interesting. The plum satin backing of the gray waistcoat (visible in the third slide in the set) is an utterly beautiful touch. The result looks both effortless and intentional. Stick taps to everyone involved in this.

As a neutral, it’s easy for Andersen to incorporate the gray pieces into other looks as well. The gray waistcoat also looks great with this midtone blue suit—the blue has a touch of gray to it, which makes the pairing work especially well—and the choice of a contrasting red tie pops really effectively against the cool tones of the rest of the outfit. Like everything Freddie wears, it looks gorgeously polished and flatters him very well. The consistency of his style is legitimately remarkable, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen him in an outfit I would call a miss. Also, on a more general note, Frederik Andersen’s commitment to the three-piece suit should be applauded. He is a true team fashion leader.

[By the way: anyone who sends me pictures of the Leafs in fun outfits is doing God’s work, as is everyone who let me embed their tweets/gifs. You’re all heroes, and I love you like I love Auston Matthews’s blue suede moto jacket.]

Gif courtesy of wonthetrade on Tumblr (http://wonthetrade.tumblr.com/post/183012255405/leafs-v-canadiens-02232019)

In many ways, monochrome is harder to pull off than an outfit of multiple contrasting pieces—if you’re going to only wear one uniform color, everything has to match perfectly, otherwise it just looks messy. Auston Matthews, everyone’s favorite Harry Potter cosplayer, pulls off the head-to-toe navy look here by keeping the shade extremely consistent across his suit, shirt, and tie. The emblem on the tie helps keep it from all blending together, and paired with the tortoiseshell glasses and slicked-back hair, combines to make him look like he’s a particularly erudite 35-year-old on his way to a lunch date at a wine bar. This season, he’s exploring the aesthetic of someone who only drinks pourover coffee and has a lot of opinions on Hegelian philosophy, and it’s a surprisingly good look considering he’s 21.

Quick Hits:

The tyranny of Gucci continues, this time in the form of a scarf that seems to have come to life and is attempting to choke the breath out of the Maple Leafs’ franchise center like an overpriced boa constrictor. Willie’s scarf is both more artfully draped and also has the benefit of not being covered in the Gucci logo (showy designer logos are always tacky, kids) so Nylander definitely wins this one.

I also like Willie’s gray cable-knit beanie. He should try that beanie with his green suit.

The suits in this picture are relatively boring (although for God’s sake, Kyle, is it really so hard to coordinate your pants and your jacket? I know that’s the look, but in this case, it’s a bad one) but from the knees down, both Matthews and Dubas look awesome. I love the polka-dot socks on Auston, and whatever the pattern Kyle’s got going on involves little faces with mustaches and is very cute. Those horsebit loafers of Auston’s are an example of some good Gucci, too. They’re both fun and versatile.

Mitch Marner wore this same suit with a far worse tie choice to the Blue and White Gala, but this walk-in redeemed him for that whole outfit, because this one is great. The light blue tie with the gray is a far better choice than the bright, patterned blue he attempted at the gala, and gives the outfit a soft, almost vintage look that would hold up through the spring. He could wear this to a high society garden party and fit right in. I’m not necessarily wild about the double-breasted waistcoat on a plaid suit—I tend to prefer plaid suits in very simple cuts, because there’s already a lot happening visually—but it doesn’t look bad.

Also, shouts to Auston for that fantastic red satin jacket lining. It’s great.

I do not have words to describe how upset I am that T-shirts with suits is a thing again, but the specter of the 1980s has returned to haunt those of us who did not live through such horrors the first time. Don Johnson at least had the damn sense to mostly pair T-shirts with summer suits, but navy blue pinstripe is not a summer suit, and it makes this seem less fun and breezy and casual and more like Nylander left all his dress shirts at the dry-cleaner. At the very, very least, Nylander should have gone with a V-neck T-shirt—the way that crewneck cuts right across his neck screws up the lines and simply looks uncomfortably tight, and a V-neck would follow the lines of the jacket lapels and open up the top of the look visually.

This is clearly Mirror Universe Andreas Johnsson, and while the head to toe black look is risky for its stark intensity, it’s a better way to signal one’s inherent evilness than a goatee. (If he does start growing a goatee again, though, we all need to be highly concerned).

Screenshot taken from Frederik Andersen’s Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/p/BthBi5WnLrr/)

All of Freddie’s clothes are great, but a place that his wardrobe really shines compared to the rest of the Leafs is casual wear. A simple, well-coordinated neutral-palette outfit of a henley T-shirt, gray jeans, and boots is elevated by the fact that it all fits perfectly—I suspect he gets everything he wears tailored, not just his suits. Those dark brown suede boots, which neatly split the difference between rugged and expensive, are gorgeous and I want a pair in my size.

This suit! Dear Lord, this suit. It’s teal, and I am retroactively judging every single San Jose Shark who didn’t take the opportunity to wear a teal suit before Auston Matthews grabbed that brass ring. We last saw that gray wool waistcoat at the All-Star Game with his blue velvet suit, but it goes nicely with this lighter, greener shade too. The suit is just such a showy, fun color that the navy blue tie with insignia feels like a letdown. It’s fine, I suppose—and he clearly really loves that tie, because he wears it constantly—but this suit deserves more than fine. A matching shade of teal with a simple pattern like dots or stripes is the obvious tie choice, but Auston Matthews could pull off a pink tie in this situation, and if you can pull off a pink tie you are honor-bound to do it. That is what feminism means.

Speaking of pink, we’re having a Montreal Exception this month, because while they are the enemy, a) it’s my column and I make the rules and b) holy shit. Les Canadiennes went to China and bought pink suits so they could show up at their annual Pink in the Rink game dressed like Canada’s coolest girl group, and everything about it is too delightful to ignore. I love everyone’s look in this picture, especially Geneviève Lacasse’s silver shoes, but it’s Emerance Maschmeyer who really bowled me over—pairing that soft pink with a graphic black-and-white dress shirt and black heeled mules grounds all of that pastel and turns it sophisticated. It’s one of the best outfits I’ve seen this year, from anyone. That is a 1980s suit vibe that I love.

I am contractually obligated to include at least one Natalie Spooner picture per month, and she makes it so easy for me by regularly dressing very well. That soft, buttery yellow turtleneck paired with the unexpected neutral of the dark gray ankle boots is stellar.

That wraps up a surprisingly colorful February in Leafs fashion—with a month and a half left in the regular season, the competition for Best Dressed in Toronto hockey is growing fierce. Will a dark horse contender rise in the month of March? Will William Nylander ever learn how to coordinate? Will any of the Leafs steal my heart away from les Canadiennes by wearing pink? Check back in at the end of March to find out.