Your Primer to the Season's Key Color

It's OK, we didn't think we liked mauve much either. Find out how the hue jumped from grandma's sofa to the runway—and what that could mean for your summer wardrobe.

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It's no secret that the fashion world is currently in the thralls of thrift. During the past few seasons, the runways at the men's shows have piled up with designers' most daring throwback obsessions—including psychedelic trousers, outrageous plaids, and frilly blouses (sometimes all combined in a single outfit)—leaving many of us to wonder how to embrace the latest look without resembling a badly upholstered sofa.

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Might we suggest the color mauve?

Yes, really.

We understand that many guys may have an aversion to what was once the dowdiest color in the known universe. But it turns out this is one color that's a hit with both famous fashion houses and indie brands (meaning, you've got lots of choices)—and, as you'll soon discover, it really is the perfect shade to punch up your summer wardrobe.

The anatomy of a trend, via Louis Vuitton. Photograph courtesy of Antonio de Moraes Barros Filho/Getty Images
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Here's the Backstory

Like so many of our favorite moments in menswear, mauve spun forth from the inimitable mind of Louis Vuitton's Kim Jones. Mauve is a color Jones has sprinkled throughout his collections for years, most notably within the arresting selection of eveningwear that closed Vuitton's spring collection in 2014. 

A look from the Louis Vuitton spring/summer 2016 runway show at Paris Fashion Week. Photograph courtesy of Dominique Charriau/Getty Images

But he fully embraced the shade in the finale of his spring 2016 collection. It was a knockout interpolation of retro classics: chinoiserie-embroidered pajama sets, tonal bowling shirts, shimmering silk souvenir jackets—presented, of course, in various shades of mauve that brimmed with youthful energy. It was proof that, in the right hands, everything old can be new again.

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A look from the Tim Coppens fall/winter 2016 runway show at New York Fashion Week. Photograph courtesy of Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

The Fashion Pack Falls in Line

It didn't take long for Jones's contemporaries to follow suit. For fall, mauve turned up on runways across the world: at Givenchy, Riccardo Tisci punctuated nubby tweed trousers with mauve Western shirts; Alessandro Michele adorned Gucci peacoats and tracksuits with mauve fish scales and flourishes; Undercover offered a delightfully cozy mauve cardigan.

But the hue found its most exciting application in the hands of MSGM's Massimo Giorgetti, who, in a few short years, has emerged as a prodigious talent when it comes to color and form in menswear. His widely lauded collection, inspired by the brushwork of the painter Elizabeth Peyton, featured oversize knits and languid trousers with a generous dusting of mauve.

A look from the Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci fall/winter 2016 runway show at Paris Fashion Week. Photograph courtesy of Victor Virgile/Getty Images

From Runway to Reality: Six Ways to Mauve Up Your Summer Wardrobe

Of course, it takes a man of a certain persuasion to go forth in billowing, wide-legged mauve trousers. And embroidered silk pajamas are another frontier altogether.

So, what's on offer for the rest of us? A lot, it turns out. 

Plain Weave Mohair Suit, $850, acnestudios.com.

Acne's been on the mauve tip for quite some time now, and we're loving the modern proportions and exaggerated pockets of this mohair jacket.

Mauve Terry Sweatshirt, $148, fanmail-us.com.

The designers at Brooklyn-based indie label Fanmail obsess over the fit and fabrication of their gear, which makes this pillow-soft mauve sweatshirt a low-key way into the color.

Printed Cotton-Jersey T-shirt by Marni, $295, mrporter.com.

Not that there's anything wrong with a statement shirt. We're very into the Amlapura print on this stunner from Marni—wear it with a cuffed black jean and fresh white sneakers for a night out… and then wear it again to the beach the next day. 

Mauve Snap Skinny Jean by Dr. Denim, $80, urbanoutfitters.com.

Wide-legged trousers are a tough sell for most guys. But slim, fitted jeans, like this pair from Dr. Denim, are a no-brainer. Try them with a faded blue denim jacket for a fresh alternative to the now-ubiquitous Canadian tuxedo.

Achilles Sneaker by Common Projects, $410, ssense.com.

Pantone sneakers have been a thing for a few years, but Common Projects shot to the top of our shopping list when they released this mauve-hued rendition of their classic Achilles low-top.

Our Legacy Short Sleeve Classic Shirt, $191, ourlegacy.se.

Keep your cool this summer in a lightweight silk shirt by Our Legacy, one of the most consistent labels in Sweden's white-hot menswear scene.

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