With no income tax, zero unemployment and the world’s highest life-expectancy rate, Monaco has a lot to offer. This spring, designers will be channeling that picturesque principality — although not directly — with Monaco Blue, the season’s leading color for women and men, according to Pantone Color Institutes’s executive director, Leatrice Eiseman.

This story first appeared in the September 6, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Not a dark navy, Monaco Blue has more of a maritime cast to it, but it is also a practical purchase for any wardrobe, with more than half the population listing blue as a favorite hue. “It speaks to the practicality that we are seeing in society. You have to realize there is still concern out there for the economy,” Eiseman said.

In fact, the top five spring colors for women — Monaco Blue, Dusk Blue, Emerald, Grayed Jade and Linen — are all shades that can be easily blended into consumers’ existing wardrobes. Noting how Dusk Blue has “kind of a quiet, calming sense of serenity,” Eiseman said, “There is sort of a stop-the-world-I-want-to-get-off feeling. People want dependably stable colors.”

That being said, there is still room for more Pop Art-inspired hues, with Poppy Red, African Violet, Tender Shoots, Lemon Zest and Nectarine ranking sixth through 10th, respectively.

NEXT: Top 10 Men’s Pantone Colors >>



1. MONACO BLUE 19-3964

Percentage of designers who used this color: 15.2
Navy is known to be the no-brainer, foolproof color for spring, but this shade has a bit more life. That said, it is still safe enough for guys to try out, especially in these topsy-turvy financial times.

2. ALLOY 16-3915

Percentage of designers who used this color: 13.6
This reliable midtone gray is a safe bet for guys who are always willing to add some grays to their closets. “It is kind of a shoo-in color that has a lightweight feeling,” Eiseman said.

3. DUSK BLUE 16-4120
Percentage of designers who used this color: 12.1
Hushed as it is, dusk blue invokes the calm of an evening sky, but it works as both a staple and a new neutral. “You wouldn’t expect that kind of softness to be that high up on the men’s color palette, but it is dependable and stable,” Eiseman said.

4. EMERALD 17-5641

Percentage of designers who used this color: 11.4
“Emerald is a wonderful color. We see it hanging on as a member of the green family for a while. But this really is a new direction for the green family,” Eiseman said.

5. GRAYED JADE 14-6011

An extension of that continued interest in green is this shade, which men can adopt without attracting quite as much attention to themselves as its bolder brother emerald. “Grayed jade really is a novel neutral that is not just another gray, beige, taupe or white — end of story.” Eiseman said.

6. POPPY RED 17-1664
Percentage of designers who used this color: 9.1
Dynamic and exciting, Poppy Red will play a leading role on men’s fashion trends for spring and summer. While women were first to appreciate this bold shade, now men are taking to it, too, according to Eiseman.

7. TIDAL FOAM 14-0210
Percentage of designers who used this color: 7.6
Reminiscent of the sea washing on the shore, Tidal Foam will be evident in collections like Elie Tahari’s. As far as neutrals go, it is a little more complex than most and it has more of a grainy undertone, Eiseman said. “But it feels a little newer than other dependable colors,” she said.

8. LINEN 12-1008
Percentage of designers who used this color: 7.6
Men’s interest in this “very enhancing” shade indicates a movement away from everyday neutrals to a more interesting choice. Eiseman said.


Percentage of designers who used this color: 6.8
Bright as this is, it is a natural progression for men who have shown a good deal of interest in orange over the past few seasons. It also mixes well with Tidal Foam, Monaco Blue and other spring colors.

10. SUNFLOWER 16-1054

Percentage of designers who used this color: 6.1
Sunflower is another newcomer to the scene that women were the first to gravitate towards. But this earthy, dijon-like shade offers a fresh option for men. It also can be combined with Monaco Blue or Emerald to kick up their spring wardrobes.


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