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The Guy's Guide to Wearing Teal

A case for wearing the Windows 95 background color

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 bright hue with easy color combinations and outfit ideas.

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

Richer than aqua, farther into the green family than turquoise

Remember that Windows 95 default blue-green desktop background? That, friends, was true teal (and in case you don’t remember, it was gorgeous). And yes, teal is also a key color in Miami Dolphins fan land, but don’t hold it against the hue (apologies to any Dolphins fans out there).

While teal often gets lumped into a general blue-greens category, it’s actually a pretty specific shade: richer than aqua, farther into the green family than turquoise.

Supposedly named after the Common Teal duck, a species that has a sweeping arc of aqua over its eyes (majestic, right?), teal was also a go-to color for suits in the 1800s before darker blues made their mark. These days though, we wouldn’t encourage you to go for a head to toe teal look—unless, of course, you’re Ryan Tannehill—but instead to work this color into your wardrobe one accessory at a time.

Below, how to wear teal all season:


We have a lot of words for you on this subject, but the first two that come to mind are: mirrored sunglasses. This reflective trend is one we’re completely on board with, and in addition to adding a little ocean-esque feel to your face whenever you slip them on, a teal lens tint will help set you apart from all the other Ray Ban wearers of the world (of which, as you know, there are just so, so many).

In terms of actual wardrobe items, teal works by way of basics like shorts and tees, but it can transition to more elevated settings through dress shirts, printed pocket squares and ties, too.


Teal falls on the more muted end of the color spectrum, which means that pairing it with pops of bright hues will play up its tone. Pair a pale lemon dress shirt with a slick grey suit and top it off with a teal pocket square for a pulled together look that’s anything but boring basics; or try a teal tee with army green chinos and a bright blue belt later this spring.

A slightly bolder pairing? Coral is teal’s complementary color, so you can work that in sparingly with a printed sock or patterned accessories.

At the office

Suit: J.Crew, $650 | Pocket Square: Tie Bar, $10 | Lapel flower: Hook & Albert, $30 

Shirt: Nick Graham, $60 | Shoes: Aldo, $100 | Socks: Pair of Thieves, $6

Belt: Perry Ellis, $18 | Cologne: Dolce & Gabbana, $70

On the weekend

Shirt: Adidas, $40 | Pants: Hawkings McGill, $50 | Shoes: Adidas, $140

Socks: Uniqlo, $4| Watch: Timex, $60 | Deodorant: Jack Black, $20

Hat: Frank & Oak, $48 | Belt: Original Penguin, $45 | Facial cleanser: Anthony, $30 


We love teal for its versatility—you can take a teal pocket square and printed tie out to dinner with the parents but also throw on a teal polo and be the sharpest dude in the baseball stands.

One word to the wise? Because this color has cool undertones, it might make men with more olive skin types look a little sallow (but again, that all depends on the exact shade. Search for pieces IRL or make use of awesome return policies while you seek out the perfect teal for your personal tone!



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