Don’t Shy From Lilac Gray This Spring

Pantone named Lilac Gray one of its Top 10 Colors for Spring 2016. A combination of medium dark gray and light blue-purple, Lilac Gray is the neutral in Pantone’s seasonal palette. However, the slight pop of purple also makes it a color that can stand out on its own.

Spring, known for its bright candy colors and floral prints, hardly seems the time to be wearing gray at all, but many think that gray can be the neutral that ties a look together. The color, especially in darker shades, has always been one a bestseller for Staton Corporate & Casual (asi/89380), says Lea Robinson, vice president of sales. “It’s also a nice detour from your basic white and black,” she adds.

Gray appeals to many markets and is always offered in new styles, but it does especially well in uniform markets, says John Perez, marketing associate for Tri-Mountain (asi/92125). The color is also in high demand in the athletic market, Robinson says. “Because gray is a neutral color, it can be worn by both men and women,” she adds.

Decorating gray apparel might present a challenge, though, especially for clients with full-color logos. “There may not be enough contrast for it to stand out,” says Perez. “I recommend a single-color logo on a gray garment. Full colors tend to look best on white or black styles.”

If your clients, however, want a color that resembles May flowers rather than April showers, lilac might be a good option. “It’s a year-round shade that brightens a winter wardrobe and complements a spring and summer look,” says Margaret Crow, director of marketing for S&S Activewear (asi/84358).

Lilac is popular among runs, walks, resorts, dance groups and health clubs, but “distributors should tap into corporate markets with this color to add some life to black,” Crow says.

“Buyers of corporate uniforms may not think of lilac, but if you show them a whole look so it doesn’t sound so risky, it’s hard for them to resist,” Crow says. “For example, put a lavender sweater with a black woven button-up shirt, or a black T-shirt with black pants and a coordinating scarf for women and a black or tan sweater for men, and it shows them that adding a lavender option to a basic mix is not that crazy.”