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The Guy's Guide to Wearing Slate

Why there's nuance to this neutral color

By Style Girlfriend | May 10 2016

Spring has sprung, flowers are in bloom, and colors are popping. Prime your closet for more color with this series of guides for spring shades. Each week SG HQ is going to break down how to wear a bright hue with easy color combinations and outfit ideas.

Catch up on how to wear bluebird blueamber orangelavenderarmy greensalmon, blood orange, sharkskin, gold, teal, khaki, merlot, red, evergreen, white, cobalt blue, mint green, orange sorbet, yellow and navy.

Slate isn’t just a lighter shade of black

It’s easy to think of grey as just a lighter shade of black—but there’s actually a lot of nuance to the color (yes, it’s a color). Take slate, for instance—a hue that might register as distinctly blah when you see it on city sidewalks—but the truth is that beneath the surface this shade boasts an equal mix of green and purple pigments.

Translation? It’s incredibly dynamic while still being neutral enough to wear with a lot of other colors, and complements warm and cool skin tones alike. Pretty great for something that seemed boring at first, right?

Because of its underlying color mix, seeking out slate items for your wardrobe can be a little tricky. A good rule of thumb? Guys with warmer tones should look for slate pieces that fall a little more toward the green end of the spectrum, while the warmer skinned among you should seek out clothing and accessories that have a little more purple going on.

How to wear slate in your wardrobe:


Good news! This color is super-easy to work into your wardrobe. Treat it more or less like you would any other grey – i.e., as a neutral – and then style it accordingly. We love this shade in full suits, jackets, and fitted pants, but it’s also perfect for off-duty items like worn in tees and zip-up hoodies.

At the office

Suit: Topman, $360 | Tie: The Tie Bar, $19 | Shirt: Tommy Hilfiger, $42

Shoes: Allen Edmonds, $395 | Socks: Ashi Dashi, $12 | Pocket Square: Brooks Brothers, $45

Watch: Triwa, $200 | Belt: Gap, $40 | Cologne: Hermès, $100 | Pomade: Mr. Natty, $30


Whether you’re in dressed up slate or rocking a more casual vibe, this color tends to look incredible with light and pastel shades. Keep in mind that cool colors will be more complementary than warmer ones (we wouldn’t, for example, recommend you match slate with lemon).

If you’re wearing a slate suit, think about a pale mint or lavender tie. With jeans and a perfectly worn tee in this shade, you might try a teal jacket or cobalt kicks.

On the weekend

Shirt: Zara, $40 | Shorts: Bonobos, $68 | Socks: Stance, $10

Shoes: Cole Haan, $60 | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban, $175 | Pomade: Jack Black, $22

Bag: Asos, $41 | Watch: Nixon, $275 | Belt: Anderson’s, $89


Because grey functions as a neutral, you can wear this color most anywhere. A word to the wise about the suit situation though: The warmer the weather, the lighter your grey suit should be. That means: we’d keep this one in the closet until next fall on that front if we were you.



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