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The Guy's Guide to Wearing Merlot

Make room, rosé

By Style Girlfriend | Jun 21 2016

Summer is here, the sun is beaming, and colors are popping. Prime your closet for more color with this series of guides for bold shades. Each week SG HQ is going to break down how to wear a stylish hue with easy color combinations and outfit ideas.

Catch up on bluebird blueamber orangelavenderarmy green, salmon, slateblood orangesharkskingoldtealkhaki, red, evergreen, white, cobalt blue, mint green, orange sorbetyellow and navy.

Merlot is a mix of very dark burgundy and purple

While summer is usually reserved for a nice, never-ending glass of rosé, don’t be fooled into thinking merlot isn’t meant for all year enjoyment – think of it as the rich addition to any outfit (or dinner) during any season.

Named after the signature grapes, it’s easy to categorize this color in the purple family. But in fact, merlot is a mix of very dark blue and purple. The word comes from merle: French for blackbird (an avian species which is more midnight than truly black).

So what does that mean for your wardrobe? First off, that this dark color definitely carries over into summer. Second, the rich, dynamic shade can often be subbed in when you were going to wear navy or grey—opening up your pairing options when you’re picking out your clothes. Now that you understand what makes a true merlot, you’re ready to work it into your wardrobe. (And if you have a glass of wine while you do it, don’t worry, we won’t tell.)

How to wear merlot this season:

How to wear

The great thing about this shade is that its a neutral while still being a color: it can take the place of other wardrobe items you’d pick out in black.

We love it in sports coats, chinos, tailored suiting (separates or together!) and of course in details like piping and prints. Bonus: Because the tonal mix contained in this hue, it actually looks amazing on all skin types. So what are you waiting for? Start shopping!

At the office

Suit: Suit Supply, $500 | Shirt: Calvin Klein, $45 | Pocket square: The Tie Bar, $10

Belt: Allen Edmonds, $110 | Shoes: Hugo Boss, $395 | Watch: Daniel Wellington, $230

Cologne: Atelier, $130

What to Pair

As always, that depends on where you’re off to. For daytime, bring this color in by pairing it with a bright blood orange polo on top, or with evergreen shorts with a lightweight cotton merlot button up.

For evening, consider swapping out your suit accessories for a tie and pocket square in this shade, which will look especially amazing with navy. Grey is always a combo option as well: slate or sharkskin will do just fine.

On the weekend

Shorts: J.Crew, $50 | Shirt: Original Pengquin, $90 | Jacket: Jack Threads, $79

Shoes: Clarks, $110 | Socks: N/A, $10 | WatchTimex, $75

Belt: Oliver Spencer, $125 | Sunscreen: Anthony, $35 | Hat: Ralph Lauren, $40


Because it’s like black but not quite black, this color can sub out for that shade when temperatures start to climb  in both casual and more formal gear. Don’t be afraid to bust merlot out all year long though: From the office to a night out with the guys (or your favorite gal!), this shade is sure to attract all the best kinds of attention.



Want more everyday style? Listen to Style Girlfriend’s Undressed podcast (and subscribe!).


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