6 stylish ways to pull off the 90s colour blocking trend
Words: Buntu Ngcuka | Photography: Bevan Davis | Styling: Akim Jardine
Channel the 90s with bright pieces this winter and then take it a step further by wearing them together. Yes, colour blocking is back, but it’s better looking, less intimidating and more sensible than it was a few years — or decades — ago. Plus it works perfectly with a few other menswear trends we're seeing.
This iteration isn’t as electric and doesn’t require complementary colours to be paired together. Instead, it’s all about contrasting the timeless staples you already own with hot-right-now statement pieces. Think of it as a grown-up approach to looking fresher than ever as the temperature drops. Ready to find out how? Scroll down and let’s get colour blocking.
Make it graphic
Logo sweats have become the ultimate menswear must-have. Whether it’s oversized, fitted, lined with fleece or lightweight, if it has a bold graphic across your chest, you’ve got yourself a keeper. It’s an easy solve for incorporating colour into your look: just go for a multi-coloured graphic or a top with actual blocked colours.
Mix pastels with something bold
Soft colours work beautifully together but they have an even bigger impact when they’re worn with a stronger hue. Our suggestion: pair a pastel tracksuit with a bold red hoodie for a updated take on the trend. The taped side stripes add a dash of logo density, but unless you're getting paid by the adidas there's no need to be a billboard and you may finish off the look with red Vans to complement the matching aesthetic.
Combine function with colour
A surefire way to score a trophy look is to make your brightest piece your most functional. 90s-inspired windbreakers don’t just protect you from the elements but they look great too. You’ve got the option of sporting them with matching track pants or you can reel things in with black jeans. And because the windbreaker is best used as a layering piece, simply throw on a topcoat for better insulation during those really wintry days.
Small contrast, big impact
Colour blocking doesn’t always have to be pulled off with a top and pants. Sometimes the small accessories can make just as stylish a statement. Try a T-shirt and socks in contrasting colours like yellow and blue, and add an on-trend touch with cropped chinos. Sneakers in bold colours do the trick, too, while that 90s favourite, the fanny pack, is the strongest accessory this winter.
Sock it to ‘em
Take your happy stepping even further with a patterned, colourful pair of socks. There are lots of quirky, contrasting and fun prints to play with — unleash your inner slay king and experiment with stripes, polka dots, fruity prints, cartoon characters and animal faces.
Denim + stripes = never a fail
For minimalists, low-key dressers or just everyday hangouts, you just need two essentials for the colour blocking treatment: light blue jeans and a striped top. Whether you go for a long-sleeve tee, sweatshirt or jersey depends on the temperature and how much you’ve got layered on, but make it fun with bright and bold stripes. Start on evergreen territory with pastel pink and white or nautical navy and white before going hard with more ambitious colour combos.