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Basking in Blue

Various shades of blue are popular both at retail and in the corporate promotional market.

Designers are staying true to blue – a popular go-to hue in menswear. These days, however, they’ve expanded the range of their palette. Take Junya Watanabe’s recent Paris show, for example, where indigo was the primary focus.

“There is always the common navy or dark navy being offered for men in fashion, but in terms of trending shades of blue, the classic French blue continues to be a popular choice, especially when it comes to a woven shirt collection,” says Elson Yeung, director of private label design and merchandising at alpha- broder (asi/34063). “When it comes to fashion shades of blue, both earthier tones and brighter tones are currently very hot at the moment. We’re seeing a reversal of what was traditionally common, as many activewear brands are branching into a more organic palette, with shades like slate blue, while other fashion brands are moving toward more vibrant blues, like Olympic blue.”

Blue is preferred among consumers because it represents more than just a color. “Blue is the color of travel or movement. It works well with all skin tones and is easy to add accessories or decoration,” says Taraynn Lloyd, marketing director of Edwards Garment Co. (asi/51752). “Blue is a fashion color that is a mainstay in everyone’s closet and works well for any image apparel program.”

While blue is often regarded as a safe color with neutral capabilities, the expansion of options highlights its unique characteristics. It’s a step beyond black and gray in that regard, says Yeung. “It’s a color that offers various shades equipped to stand out from the crowd and create a unique identity, yet neutral enough to suit different outfits/uses.” Plus, the color has staying power all year. “Adding a nice variety of colors will allow for blues to have some seasonal options but a larger year-round pallet,” says Ashley Nielsen, marketing manager of S&S Activewear (asi/84358).

Edwards Garment offers a variety of blues. Light blue and French blue are featured in dress shirts, while casual shirts and polos come in light blue, navy, royal, French blue, denim, sapphire, marina blue and slate blue. “The wide assortment of blue provides promotional product distributors the ability to change an event color, without changing the style,” says Lloyd.

And, the trend toward blue apparel has mass appeal. “For example, many organizations may choose these various shades of blue to match their company, team or event logo. I also see the trend driven by customers that are interested in active apparel,” says Yeung. “Some of the brighter shades of blue are commonly requested by technology companies or a younger demographic.”