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Ask Chris Black: Ideas for Colorful (Wearable) Clothes to Brighten Up My Closet?

Photo: Eric Chakeen

If you’re looking for the most powerful hair dryer or the handiest chef’s knife, those things can be easy enough to find. Other objects of desire are a little more taste-based. What’s the next status water bottle or hand wash, for instance? Chris Black (he’s a partner at brand consultancy Public Announcement) is here to help in the form of a regular column. If you have a burning question about the next fanny pack or Noah rugby shirt, drop us an email with the subject line “Ask Chris” at

My boyfriend has recently expressed he wants to start wearing more colors. Like real colors: yellow, red, pink, green. Do you have recommendations for logo-less tees for men in real colors? Or any other colorful — wearable — men’s basics

I traffic in a muted color palette most days, but I get it. Sometimes you feel like making a statement!

A T-shirt is the most approachable option for injecting color into an otherwise dark wardrobe, though you can apparently also do so with sweaters (more on those below). Scott Sternberg’s Entireworld — the brand behind some of these striped tees also makes some great colorful T-shirts in solids, too. This organic-cotton boxy tee is described as “slouchy, not sloppy” and comes in a variety of fun hues. I am partial to the pink and yellow.

The 6.5oz garment-dyed T-shirt from Los Angeles Apparel is a certified hit. Perfect weight, great fit, and it comes in a full rainbow of colors. For $24, you can experiment!

Acne always has fun with color, and not just on top. These green track pants are very wearable and not your basic black. Their pink jeans are an advanced move, but if done right, could be a very cool look.

If your boyfriend decides he ultimately just want some color to peek out, socks can offer the perfect element of surprise. Wigwam’s Balsam Fir Sock in the ice-blue “Biscayne Bay” hue would get your ankles some much-deserved attention. So would this multicolor dip-dyed pair from Stussy.

With fall weather arriving, I’m looking to refresh my sweater collection. What are some styles you like?

As it turns out, I recently have been on a hunt for some sweaters, a category of clothing I overlooked for years. What was I so afraid of? I will ask my therapist. Anyway, I came to embrace them and haven’t looked back.

My first suggestion is this perfectly pale-pink wool number from Acne. This color really speaks to me, and would look great with jeans (but maybe not the pink jeans I mentioned above).

If that’s too boring, this Easter egg-y multicolor mohair one is more of a statement piece. Burn a cigarette hole in the mohair for the full ’90s effect.

Or, go full MUSTARD MAN with this ribbed crewneck from Albam. It will make people smile.

When it comes to a more basic option, I usually go with the simple Uniqlo cashmere sweater in navy. It’s well-priced and fits like it should, not too tight, but not too baggy.

Antwerp-based brand Howlin’ knocked it out of the park with this made-in-Scotland, color-blocked wool crew neck. It just SCREAMS aging creative director in the best way possible. Don’t pair it with your white Common Projects. :)

I cannot forget to suggest a proper turtleneck (a.k.a. roll neck, m8). This marled version from RRL will have you daydreaming about a bonfire in Santa Fe.

A classic fisherman knit looks good on almost everyone, even if you aren’t trying to catch lobsters in Maine. The OG version from L.L. Bean is priced right, and brands don’t get more classic than the Bean.

Curious about the Chris Black Kitchen™. What sort of appliances or cookware (pots, pans, etc.) do you use, and are there basic things you think any kitchen should have (whether or not someone cooks a lot)?

Lol, I do not cook. I live in New York City baby, the land of restaurants. I can get anything by walking a few short blocks! The reality is, I am a freak. I hate the smell of food lingering in a home, so I avoid it altogether. I have lived in my apartment for three years and haven’t cooked once; I don’t even own a pan! Luckily, I have friends who are experts in this field. I called upon longtime friend of the brand, DJ, podcaster, strategist, and known home-cooking enthusiast Jason Stewart, a.k.a. Them Jeans, to help. Jason will take it from here!

Unless you’re a professional sushi chef who drives an Audi, there’s no real need to buy a crazy-expensive knife. The maintenance is a bit much, and you’re never going to keep it sharp for long. This Japanese blade looks unique, is sharp as hell, and costs less than $100 (for $10 more, you can also get a slightly longer eight-inch option). Whenever I take this in to get sharpened — which you should be doing twice a year — I always get compliments from the #bladehive.

You may be able to get away with buying an affordable knife, but I wouldn’t recommend skimping on the cutting board. The most satisfying feeling I can get in the kitchen is a good knife on good wood. Any board within the John Boos brand is industry standard; this one comes with a “Juice Groove” to collect any meat drippings (Chris’s worst nightmare). But you can just as easily shop around and get one without it. Take good care of this and it will last a lifetime. And a tip: If yours slides around too much while chopping, put a kitchen towel underneath.

The generic plastic containers that your shitty Postmates’d ramen gets delivered in are the same ones Rene Redzepi fills with pickled deer lungs. What I’m saying here folks is that these plastic cups are the Bottega Veneta of kitchen storage. They’re reusable and disposable at the same time, so when you bring that lame farro salad to your work wife’s baby shower, just leave the cups there for her actual husband to deal with.

Most at-home-cooks mix and stir in bowls that are just way too small, then stuff flies out, and you’re not able to really spread your wings and fly. The Oxo brand is known for making great kitchen stuff, and these bowls are no exception. They’re heavy, sturdy, and have a rubber grip on the bottom to keep you from sliding around while whisking. I love using them to toss root veggies in olive oil and salt before roasting them in the oven, or just for mixing a simple salad for two. It can be hard to find cabinet space for big bowls, so get some nice-looking ones you wouldn’t mind having out on display.

Obviously cast-iron skillets and stainless steel All-Clad sets are amazing pieces to pass down to your kids. But don’t sleep on a solid nonstick pan for everyday cooking and easy clean up. Use it to practice your French omelette flipping, nut toasting, and slow-cooking salmon fillets (skin side down.) Since it’s inexpensive, you can bang this around and replace it when needed — just remember to keep it out of the oven.

Everyone has a sheet like this in their kitchen right now, and it’s probably covered with years of baked-on sludge you’ll never get off. That’s why I recommend buying new baking sheets every couple years if you can’t be really good at keeping them clean. These are essential for roasting veggies, baking galettes, or for cooking anything else you’d throw in the oven. If you do mess one up, soak it overnight and hit it with the Le Labo and a steel pad.

Not necessarily a cooking utensil, but you’ve got to put something clean in that stinky Nalgene of yours. Berkey water filters are the undisputed king of overpriced countertop conversation starters. This “travel sized” model is expensive (and looks pretty gigantic), but once you hop on the Berkey train, it’s hard to get off. You can find a chic ceramic or wood stand for it, and make your bone broth taste even better with pro™-quality water that will make the stuff Chris drinks taste like tap water at Souen.

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Ask Chris: Ideas for Colorful Clothes to Brighten My Closet?