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March 21-27, 2007

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Amazing Gray

By Joseph Rosenfeld

I'M LOOKING out the window of my studio and I see high, wispy clouds, blooming flowers, budding trees and verdant hills out to the east. Spring has happily sprung early, but I'm thinking about the color gray.

It's not as big a leap as it first appears. Gray seems to be everywhere in stores right now.

What's amazing about gray is that everyone can appropriately wear some gradation of this color. Since combining two complementary colors produces either brown or gray, it's easy to combine gray with virtually any color. Gray conveys senses of innocence and sensitivity. When gray serves as a backdrop in an outfit you want to wear, it allows other colors to pop with power.

Fashion always strives to capture the global collective consciousness as designers endeavor to possess the pulse of the people. Knowing that the world is in turmoil over war, poverty and corruption, perhaps fashion's use of gray is intended to equally express our disgust over and our desire to disconnect from these issues. Designers use silvery grays to brighten a girl's day with some sparkle and shine while the menswear mood suggests that guys should hide behind their gray garb. Styles have been so casual for so long that going gray ushers in a new era of reverence, refinement and dressing up.

Gray Gals

This spring, women can choose from a vast selection of silvery, shiny shoes. From flats to platforms, nearly every style of shoe is available with the metallic motif. Not to be beaten are this season's bevy of burnished bags. This is also a season of tinny trinkets. Choose from either matte metallic or shiny silver selections for the metal that blends best with the quality of your hair color and skin tone.

Despite all of the silvery surroundings, all that glitters is not silver! Gold is the appropriate alternative for those who need more warmth than the "cool" effect that silver projects. Whether you're a bag girl or a slave to shoes, don't drip like a chandelier by overdoing the look. Show your flair for fashion by going monochromatic, but be sure not to go too far over the edge. Otherwise you may be mistaken for the Tin Man. My suggestion is to use just one element and stay elegant.

Gray Guys

The dark formality of last season has softened from black to this season's sober gray. Typically a color reserved for dressing up, gray looks fresh as denim's hottest color trend of the season. From pewter to platinum there is a wash of gray denim out there with your name on it. This season's star color is not just for silver-haired gents. For younger guys, it provides a sleek, hip and minimalist look.

It's all about heavy metal when it comes to jewelry for men this spring. Chunky bracelets and necklaces are meant to be worn in multiples. If you don't go broke in the process of amassing your metal, your silvery wrists will make you look like a rock star or a Harley rider.

With so many choices and looks, gray's rep as dull and boring is officially over.

Joseph Rosenfeld, AICI, CIP, the nation's only male certified image professional, is a men's image mentor based in downtown San Jose. Contact him at: [email protected]

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