It's not a suit, but not exactly casual. How do you make your clothes say what you want? Like many men, the majority of your wardrobe is pretty straightforward. You have your blue suits and your black suits, khakis and chinos. But periodically, you find the odd bit of clothing that doesn't seem to go with anything you own. Like the grey pants-brown shoe combo, they are often cast into the No Man's Land of fashion. Before you secretly hide your grey pants in the back of your closet, take a minute to review a few style tips that can take your outfit from hidden shame to secret weapon.
You may not be a fashion guru, but you know what looks good on you. Grey is a neutral color, so it tends to work well on men of various skin pigments. That may be the very reason you bought a pair of grey pants -- they're a classic. You can kick your look up a notch by wearing a grey shirt several shades lighter than the pants. This will create a sleek, monochromatic look. You can either dress it up with a dark grey tie or take it casual with an open collar.
Like grey, brown is a neutral color and looks great on a many different men. Naturally, you don't want to appear like a schoolboy who's matched his shoes to his shirt, but wearing a brown dress shirt with grey pants makes a strong visual statement. A solid brown shirt with grey pants suggests that you mean business. Pair this with dark-brown wingtip dress shoes and a blue-grey tie for a look that is sure to impress your coworkers.
Green is a cool earth tone that can go extremely well with grey pants and brown shoes -- on some men. Although not every guy can wear a green shirt without looking seasick, those who can wear green do it magnificently. If you have a darker skin tone, you might wear a light, chalky green shirt for spring and switch to moss or forest green in the fall. You can play up the earth tones by adding a brown tie and brown belt or even take it cooler by incorporating various shades of blue into your outfit.
You've seen men wearing pink shirts around town, and although you admire their confidence it's difficult to believe that you could ever pull off a traditionally women's color. That's where you're wrong. GQ Creative Director Jim Moore explains in "The GQ Guide to Shirting:" "We've been putting the pink shirt in the magazine for years now, because we really believe that it's as much a staple as the white dress shirt. Guys might think, 'Oh, I can't wear pink,' but it all depends on what kind of pink you wear. You don't want a bubble-gum hot pink; you want a light pink that's more a pale shade of rose. Wear it with a simple dark tie and that color flatters everyone's skin, whether it's the middle of August or the dead of winter." (Reference 1)
White is your final option. If you don't want to experiment with colors and you certainly don't want to make fashion waves at the office; that's okay. White dress shirts are one of the few options that always work. Keeping your look traditional is a perfectly acceptable choice, but you still need to keep it sleek by avoiding overly colorful ties. A man's tie is meant to serve as an anchor for his entire outfit. (Reference 2, Slide 2) Wear a tie in a muted grey or dark blue, traditionally conservative dress colors, and add a sliver tie bar for a little extra polish.