Here come the rainbow warriors

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The forecast for summer is bright. Only the brave will wear head-to-toe hues – but anybody can add a flash of colour to their plumage, says Lee Holmes

It's an unspoken rule in menswear, that designers don't dictate new trends as quickly as they do in womenswear.

Luckily for us, menswear themes tend to inch along more slowly, and once they arrive – say the recent revival of the double-breasted jacket – they usually stick around for a while in subtle variations, before disappearing off the radar again. However, colour can be the exception that proves the rule, often changing radically from season to season. For this summer, Calvin Klein showed colour blocks of blues and oranges, and Paul Smith's models walked down the runway looking for all the world like an army of rainbow warriors in turquoise, purples, blues and reds.

But look around at the men you know, and it's easy to spot that most, if not all, of us have a somewhat uneasy relationship with bright clothes. Colour doesn't seem to be very, well, macho and British men seem to have the greatest of difficulty in embracing it, unlike our Mediterranean cousins.

Admittedly, colour blocking is a challenge – a total look in orange is never going to work wonders for you unless you're auditioning for a revival of the Tango advert. And although yellow allegedly helps to lighten the mood, if worn from head to toe you'll end up looking like Big Bird from Sesame Street. Tweet! Tweet!

So the key for most of us is to mix our colour with neutrals. Orange or red shorts with a grey T-shirt will work. A yellow T-shirt with an aqua jacket is just about passable if worn with black jeans. And don't forget that one of the great things about menswear is that it's simple to incorporate a splash of colour into what we wear. Do this with a bag, or coloured socks worn with cropped trousers – just a flash of colour – and its a subtle but well-intentioned nod to the summer. If you work in the City, a coloured pocket handkerchief in a dark suit, or a matching coloured tie and shirt under a grey suit, will lighten your mood. However, if you do earn your crust in the square mile, here's a word of warning. Bright-coloured suits are a no no. They are unenlightened and scary, and quite frankly ruin the look for the rest of us. Plus there's always the added horror of being mistaken for Jonathan Ross.

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