The Compass  /  AccessoriesStyle  /  Using Color in Your Accessories

Using Color in Your Accessories

Spring is in full swing. And unless your home address contains the word “Winterfell”, this should be your cue from Madre Naturaleza for some full-on color-play. Last week, we showed you how to raise your pattern and color game in the context of shirts and ties. This week, we’ll show you how you can introduce accents of color into your outfits in the form of some more unconventional elements.

So turn up your monitor’s brightness because we’re about to get colorful in here. Let’s dive in, feet first:

1. Accent Color Socks

Do us a favor and forget the proverbial rules of matching your socks to your slacks for a second. And before you yell “sacrilege!” and start googling “rule for matching socks to trousers”, let’s set a small caveat: If you’re going for a formal look or dressing up for an interview, you’re probably going to want to stick to the old adage of matching your black socks with a black suit and navy socks with a navy suit. But for the rest of us, this is the season to flash a splash of color on your ankle and take your outfit from CPA-boring to pure iridescent irreverence. Spin that color wheel and match your socks with your tie, pocket square, shirt, or nothing at all.

Where to get it:

Nice Laundry

Happy Socks

Sock it To me

2. Accent Color Shoelaces

Looking for a low effort way to get the ladies to look you up and down? Look no further than color shoelaces to keep those eyes moving. Simply remove your old laces and swap them out with a pair of colorful laces to turn a serious pair of dress shoes into a playful punch of personality. Coordinating it with the rest of the outfit’s color scheme is rather simple—match with one color element of your outfit such as the color of a pocket square or just keep the rest of the outfit put-together and muted and let the bright laces talk. If you do decide to match it with another piece in your outfit, keep it a few hues off (e.g. pair purple shoe laces with a lighter lavender color pair of socks) for a sophisticated match.

Where to get it:

Stolen Riches


3. Accent Color Tie Bar

We’ve covered tie bars before (and specifically, how and where to wear them). However, we never mentioned these little clasped beauties in the context of disrupting the very color paradigms of an outfit. In fact, most men, when they think of a tie bar will probably be seeing silver or gold. However, thanks to companies like thetiebar, you can now turn these bars into little pops of blue, red, and almost every conceivable color to shake up the color scheme of an entire suited look.

Where to get it:


4. Accent Color Lapel Flower

Yes, we just said flower, and no, there is nothing unmasculine about fastening a flower to your lapel. In fact statesmen, poets, and even soldiers have been fastening boutonnieres to their lapels for centuries. That’s what the functioning buttonhole on your lapel is built for. And don’t worry, we’re not about to tell you to hit up your local florist to pick up fresh carnations for your next suit-and-tie getup for the office. Wearing a real rose on your chest may look a bit out-of-place for your next date (unless of course that date is taking place at a prom…or a wedding… or you’re the patriarch of a crime family). So we’re going to suggest something with a little more sartorial versatility and longevity than an actual flower—crochet lapel flowers. They’re a bit smaller and come in a variety of bright colors making them a perfect candidate for turning an otherwise standard look into one that’s spring-approved.

Where to get it:


Kent Wang

The Cordial Churchman

5. Accent Color Stitching

Of course, we saved the best for last. There’s nothing like an accent of color custom-stitched right onto your custom suit. Sometimes a sliver of color on the boutonniere or functioning buttonholes of your sleeve can be all the accent of color your outfit needs to add that coup de grâce to your look. It also has the added punch of showing the world that your suit is probably one that they can’t find on the racks of some department store, but is in fact, cut, tailored and colored, exclusively just for you.

Where to get it:

Black Lapel

When it comes down to wearing accent colors, it’s more about how you wear that pop of color rather than whether it coordinates seamlessly with your outfit. Don’t do too many of them at a time. Don’t over think it, and above all, smile and have fun with it. In the end, that’s the point isn’t it?

And if you noticed a couple new suits in the mix above, you must be a true Black Lapel fan. Those are indeed a sneak preview of our of our spring collection, coming soon.

Got questions or ideas on introducing accent colors to your outfits? Leave a comment below!

Like What You See? There's More.

We'll send you style advice and intel for the modern man.

69 thoughts on “Using Color in Your Accessories”

  1. Mansoor says:

    I need suggestions on light grey prince of wales short check suit. I want to know which color pocket square,flower pin,socks , and shoes with colorful laces are best with this suit? Thanks

  2. Haris says:

    Hello.hope you all are fine. I have a suit with light grey prince of wales short check.I dont wear tie on suit ,just flower and pocket square.Kindly suggest me which color pocket square,flower pin, socks, and shoes should i wear with this suit on wedding? Thanks in advance.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Hey there, Haris! First off, is this your wedding or are you a guest? If you’re a guest and wearing a light gray suit, you can go with brown or black shoes. For this outfit, let’s go with black shoes (our preference). Then, create some contrast with your pocket square based on your shirt color and try and keep it simple since you have a patterned suit. A solid pink, white or blue pocket square all work great. Your socks won’t really be seen, and you are going to be at a wedding, so keep it simple, plain gray or blue. The flower pin is up to you! As far as your laces go, keep this subdued as well and opt for the traditional shoe laces that come with the black shoes, you don’t want to go too eccentric for a wedding!

      If you have any more questions, feel free to reach out!

  3. Anil says:

    Hi. It’s my wedding and the bride is wearing a deep wine color dress with golden motifs. I am wearing a golden beige 3 piece suit (that means with the same color vest). I am thinking of wearing a wine colored shirt matching her outfit, with golden tie, wine lapel flower, wine pocket square. I am worried if I am overdoing it, wearing everything. Should I go for patterned tie and pocket squares? Should I or shouldn’t I wear vest?

    Please also suggest which color socks and shoes to wear.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      We’ll be honest: you’re over doing it. The biggest no-go is the wine-colored shirt. It’d be better to wear a white dress shirt with a wine-colored tie. As for the other accessories, opt for a white pocket square and then the wine lapel flower is a great idea. You can also rock wine colored socks to incorporate that color into the lower half of your outfit. As for the shoes, we’d recommend a dark brown, leather shoe to compliment your beige suit. Good luck on your big day!

      1. Anil says:

        Thank you very much for your advice and suggestions, Black Lapel.

  4. Alex says:

    Hello hope you don’t mind but I have a question, I love this black flower lapel pin I bought and bought it because to me it looked so good but not realizing that a black flower look to a lot of people still means death, whoops my bad! is that still so or can it be stylish to wear a black lapel flower pin anywhere these days, want to feel right about what I wear.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      When we get caught up in color meaning, we get into murky territory. Black has connotations that in the U.S.A. that it doesn’t have in other places.

      The point is, don’t read too much into it, Alex. To paraphrase Freud, sometimes a flower lapel pin is just a flower lapel pin.

  5. Benny says:

    can you wear a lapel with a bow tie?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Did you mean to say “can you wear a lapel pin with a bow tie?” If so, the answer is yes. But if you do, we suggest keeping it simple. As you can see in the photos above the trick to style isn’t necessarily the quantity of accessories but the quality. The more pieces you add the more you look like you decorated yourself instead of just getting dressed. Sometimes, less is more.

  6. Abdul says:

    Hi Black Lapel,

    Have got a wedding coming up and I would be wearing a balck suit and tie, could you please suggest if to wear a pocket square and/or lapel flower and which colour would you recommend for both? And am guessing black socks would be fine right?


    1. Black Lapel says:

      We don’t recommend doing too much with color with a black suit. The reason is that, against black, bright colors can be jarring. So we suggest a black tie with some texture to it and a white pocket square for a chic downtown look or a gray patterned tie with a gray dotted pocket square for a more aggressively styled look that still keeps the color palette simple.

      We’ve written a whole article about how to wear a black suit that uncovers the secrets of what makes guys look good in a black suit and what makes them look like scrubs. We recommend checking it out. And don’t forget to subscribe to The Compass so you won’t have to hunt around for answers to your style questions.

  7. Griffins says:

    I have navy suit and I’m planning to wear peach color tie (bride’s dress is in peach colour), need suggestion on lapel pin and pocket square color.
    either I match all three of them or matching tie and pocket square or tie and lapel pin, If I go match any of two, what color should be the third one (pocket square/lapel pin) ?
    or I just stick with Only tie and pocket square.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Our advice is to explore patterns. If you go with all solid, matching colored accessories you’re going to look like you got one of those tacky matching tie & pocket square sets you see in discount stores.

      Look for accessories that incorporate the peach color into the pattern. For instance, your tie might have a navy blue base with peach stripes. Your pocket square might be a paisley pattern with some of that same peach color mixed into the motif. Then a simple, solid peach lapel pin would cap it all off. Just remember, less is more when it comes to accent colors. A little bit of peach goes a long way so look for small patterns where peach isn’t the dominant color, like pin dots and subtle checks.

  8. Ronan says:

    Hi Black Lapel, I am wearing a beige suit to a wedding. Its a darker shade of beige, but not brown. I’m not sure if Ecru is the exact color but its something like that.
    I’m going to wear tan shoes with it and also, a crisp white shirt. Im looking to wear a tie, handkerchief and lapel flower. I have looked online and it seems navy blues or khaki greens seem to the be the choice of most people. I cant actually find anyone wearing much color with these color suits. I was thinking about a purple or violet tie and figuring the rest out from there, but im not so sure anymore. What colour ties would you say work best, bare in mind I want a bit of color? also what would you go for in the Handkerchief and lapel flower. I wasnt going to try and be too matchy but something that sat well with each other.

    Thank you so much for any help

    1. Black Lapel says:

      There’s a reason why blue is the predominant color in menswear, Ronan. Blue covers the widest range of shades, from midnight navy to pale pastels, blue is the most wearable color in most men’s wardrobes. We especailly like blue with earthtones like tan and khaki. So we say go with blue accessories (and consider a light blue shirt as well) for this outfit.

      What shade of blue? That depends on your coloring. If you’ve got a lot of contrast between your skin tone and hair color (like a medium skin tone and dark hair) then you can have plenty of contrast in your look and go with dark blue accessories. If you’ve got less contrast (like pale skin and blonde hair or dark skin and black hair) then ease off the contrast in the outfit by pairing the khaki suit with light blue accessories. This leaves you plenty of leeway to pick the accessories that you like, but a range of shades to choose from.

      Now get out there and knock ’em dead.

  9. Jose says:

    Should the color of my lapel match my shoes(tuxed is navy blue with black shawl lapel)(I have dark brown shoes)

    1. Black Lapel says:

      We wouldn’t say matching your shoes to the color of your lapel is a rule of thumb, Jose, but in this case we don’t think you should wear dark brown shoes. One rule of thumb you can live by is wearing black dress shoes with any black tie outfit. So, in this case, yes, the color of your lapel should match your shoes 🙂

  10. Brian says:

    Hey i need advice… Is it okay to match a maroon neck tie with a maroon lapel flower for my grey suit?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Sure it’s okay, Brian. Are you worries that it’ll look too matchy-matchy? If so, choose a tie with a pattern, like this striped tie to add a little variation to the look.

  11. Abdullah says:

    Hello Black Lapel hope you are fine.I have a Royal Blue Suit and little bit confused about the Tie Color with(Flower Pin And Pocket square).
    I want some different and dashing combination in Royal blue Suit so that Ill be Able to stand different in Wedding.
    Plz help me getting diferent combination with Royal Blue Suit(pocket square…Tie and Flower Pin Color)

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Well, Abdullah, this may sound like strange advice considering what we wrote above, but we say let the suit be the star attraction. With a royal blue suit you can wear neutral accessories, like a white pocket square and mid-gray tie, for a strong stylish look that lets the suit stand out.

      If you do go with an additional strong color on top of the royal blue suit stick with one. You can see this played out well in the last photo in the article above. There the suit is royal blue, the shirt is pale blue, the tie is dark blue and just one other color enters the outfit, the red accent stitching on the sleeve and red lapel flower. There everything is solid, simple and understated, yet the overall effect is a bold pop of color that really stands out.

  12. Mike says:

    Im wearing a black suit with maroon lining and im planning to wear colorful socks, I was wondering if the color of the sock should match the lining of my suit jacket?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Sure, it can, but it doesn’t have to. In all likelihood, your inner jacket lining won’t really be seen by anyone but yourself. If color coordinating details like this makes you warm & fuzzy on the inside (no judgment), then go for it. Otherwise, we think it’s more important that the color of your socks matches the color of your suit first and foremost. And hey, if your socks can match both the color of your suit and your suit’s inner lining, then all the matching power to you!

      1. Mike says:

        Awesome! Thanks so much!

  13. Haris says:

    Hello everyone. Hope everyone is doing good. I want to ask about the combination that a Royal Blue Suit with Light pink shirt and (Red Or white Flower)Lapel Pin and Orange Pocket square.
    Would you guys think this combination is perfect?
    Kindly suggest me more combinations on Royal Blue Suit.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      We wouldn’t go so far as perfect, but you’re thinking about colorful accessories in the right way. Here are some slight variations on the combination you mentioned (we’ve included a few other basics we think you probably have in your wardrobe):
      – Royal blue suit with light pink shirt, red flower pin and no pocket square
      – Royal blue suit with light pink shirt, white flower pin and no pocket square
      – Royal blue suit with white shirt, red flower pin, and orange pocket square
      – Royal blue suit with white shirt, white flower pin, and orange pocket square
      Keep in mind that just because you have many types of suit jacket accessories, that doesn’t mean you need to include each one in every outfit you put together. Hope this was helpful and we shed some light on how to accessorize!

  14. James says:

    A dark grey suit with violet lapel button stitching a bad idea? Thanks for the Intel.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      No, not at all. Gray and purple is a classic and deserving menswear color combination.

  15. ElRhymes says:

    please I want to wear a black suit and blue trousers but wondering that colour of tie and flower lapel to match with.Thank you

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Be careful pairing any bright colors with black. One of the reasons we favor charcoal gray over black is that gray works well with colors, but black is not so forgiving. We suggest a gray tie and not wearing a flower lapel with a black suit.

  16. Lou says:

    I always wear a pocket square with my suits. Now, I am adding a lapel flower to the ensemble. Should the flower match the pocket square? Or, can I add shades or variations to it?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      The lapel flower need not match the pocket square exactly. In fact, that’s something you should avoid.

      On the flip side, you don’t want it to clash either. Variations in shade are smart looking. Another solution is to wear patterned pocket squares, then add a lapel flower in one of the colors from the pocket square.

  17. Greg says:

    I just ordered the solid royal blue suit with magenta lining/accents, can’t wait for it to arrive! Do you know exactly which lapel flower is being worn with that suit in the above images? I tried the links but none look to me like an exact match, I like the simplicity of the lapel flower in the above photos vs what I’ve seen from the links. Thanks!!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Those flowers are from hook + Albert, but we took those photos over a year ago and they’ve changed a bit in that time. Still, you can’t go wrong with the multitude of colors of flowers out there, Greg.

      We say go for it, and when you do suit up in your Royal Blue Suit and lapel flower, be sure to take a picture and enter it into our #SuitCity competition because that’s bound to be a stylish outfit.

  18. Jerry says:

    So the guy in the Royal Blue lookalike he’s wearing a light blue shirt, solid blue tie and a fuschia lapel flower (please correct me if I’m wrong on any of the colors). I was wondering if I were to go for that exact same look but change the color of the shirt from light blue to a light pink, would that be too much pink?

    And if I added that pink tie bar in that other photo with a light pink shirt and that fuschia lapel flower onto a Royal Blue suit, would that be overboard on the pink?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      It would be pretty silly of us to forbid you from wearing a color at the bottom of this article about wearing more colors. Of course you can swap out a pink shirt here, Jerry! We love pink shirts. Don’t let any Cro-Magnons tell you “pink is for girls.”

  19. Sham says:

    Can you wear the lapels with a bow tie and pocket piece?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Assuming you mean lapel flowers, Sham, the answer to your question is: “yes and no.” Yes, a bow tie would work just fine with a lapel flower.

      As for the pocket square, some say a pocket square and lapel flower is overdoing it. We, generally, agree. We made an exception when shooting the photos of Black Lapel suits above and included the pocket squares but we kept them white and, for the most part, simply folded. We recommend you do the same when wearing a lapel flower.

  20. Joseph says:

    In the photo above “3. Accent Color Tie Bar,” is the gentleman wearing the Spanish Blue Herringbone Suit or Solid Light Charcoal Blue Suit?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      That’s the Spanish Blue Herringbone there, Joseph. The bright sunlight on the rooftop where we shot makes it look lighter, though.

      For a better look at the suit, email your name and address to concierge@blacklapel.com and we’ll send you a swatch of the fabric.

  21. Edgar Bateman says:

    I love the site and the blog. The most comprehensive, objective and practical resource I’ve found. Makes style understandable for every type if guy. I do want to know if you guys have a post in the works related to pocket. squares. I’m a rule breaker so the info on matching up colors and patterns is not my focus since I’m gonna break the rules anyway. I’m looking more for info on how to wear them including wearing multiple squares at a time. Thanks in advance!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Thanks Edgar! You just made our day man! And we sure do have a post or two in the works on pocket squares. Stay tuned – they will come out sometime in the summer!

      1. Edgar Bateman says:

        Great! Looking forward to it/them.

  22. Kwabena says:

    can i know the colors of the dark shade suits. are they both navy??. im refering to the last pic and de 2nd left suit in de first pic?? thanx.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Kwabena, that’s our Solid Royal Blue Suit in the last pic and Solid Navy Blue Suit in the 2nd suit from the left in the first pic. Handsome, aren’t they? 😉

  23. Yasmin says:

    Hello, I am going to a black tie event and was wondering if it would be stylish to match date’s pocket square with my dress (either in its basic colour or in parts of its patern – eg. the polka dots could be the same shade as my dress).
    We would really like to match at least a little bit, and I don’t want to go the boring tie-the-same-colour way.
    Also: can, and should, a man’s socks match in some way his pocket square/tie?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Hi Yasmin, we love your idea of coordinating your dress to your date’s pocket square! That said, for a black tie event, we recommend your gent stick to a solid white pocket square and socks that match his pants (e.g. black socks to black pants). Outside of black tie events, we’re all for having some fun with socks–using colors, bold patterns, and matching it to a pocket square, tie or nothing! 😉

  24. Tom says:

    very helpful indeed! And thank you for the quick response” 😀 I need to order soon in order to receive in time for my graduation… do you know specific dates yet? The royal blue looks very good!

    all the best


    1. Black Lapel says:

      ETA mid-May! + 4 weeks turnaround time for your order seems like it might be tight! Shoot us an email (concierge@blacklapel.com) and we’ll see if its possible to give you early access to the Royal Blue. We want to help make sure you’re properly dappered up for those graduation photos!

  25. tom says:

    On the photo on the flower chapter is the guy on the left wearing solid black suit and the guy in the middle solid navy?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Tom, our solid navy is very dark so we may have fooled you a little here. 🙂 From left to right: Solid Navy Blue, Solid Royal Blue (coming soon!), and Light Blue Herringbone (coming soon!). Hope that helps!

  26. justin says:

    Okay, looks like I’ll be waiting to purchase until that becomes available! It looks similar to the solid blue navy I have customized, but just a tad lighter. Thanks

  27. Justin says:

    What color is the last suit with the accent stitching? In fact, if you could send me the specs of the suit, I want that exact one. Thanks

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Hey Justin! That’s a preview of our Solid Royal Navy Suit from our upcoming Spring collection with Magenta colored inner lining and accent stitching.

  28. Dwayne Brown says:

    Great content! As always, I will definitely comply with the Black Lapel recommendations.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Haha, thanks for your compliance Dwayne. Although if you broke our “rules” we’d still be cool.

  29. Andrew says:

    Great company and a great blog. Love the authoritative men’s fashion advice. Keep it up guys!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Thanks Andrew! We hope you’ll keep on reading! Let us know if there’s any topic you’d like us to cover. 🙂

  30. Jeff U. says:

    Are all three of those suits in the Spring collection? Looking forward to that dark navy on the left if that’s the case!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      The two on the far right are from our Spring collection! As for the Navy suit, you don’t have to wait till we launch our Spring collection. That’s actually our popular Solid Navy Suit!

      1. Jeff U. says:

        That’s what I was wondering, thanks!

  31. SaeHo C. says:

    Great article!
    p-s: This is coming from a CPA 😉

    1. Black Lapel says:

      *Hides* So this post is CPA-certified? 😉

  32. Amazing Content – as usual

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Glad you enjoyed it David! We’ll have some more fresh-neckwear posts coming your way at some point! 😉

  33. Jovan says:

    Kent Wang and The Knottery also make lapel flowers. I’m considering one…

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Thanks for the suggestions Jovan! We’ve added them to the list!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.