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How to Use the Color of 2019—Living Coral


The Pantone Color Institute crowns a new color every year and this time around, the color is a rather bubbly one: Living Coral (Pantone 16-1546). If you’re suddenly having visions of coral reef and other oceanic life, you are thinking on the right track.

The color appears pink, but Pantone depicts Living Coral as “an animated, life-affirming shade of orange, with golden undertones.” Whether it’s seen as pink or orange with a golden touch, Pantone is right—it is a spirited color that embraces life in a way that many others do not.

The Pantone Backstory

Within the design industry, Pantone is famous for its Pantone Matching System, a color matching system that was developed in 1963. It assigns numbers to each individual color based on lightness, hue, and saturation, and a variety of industries and professionals, ranging from print companies to hair stylists, use the system to identify colors. As a whole, Pantone products and services give a description and convey and oversee color ideas from conception to realization.

Pantone’s Color Promotion

Since 2000, the Pantone Color Institute, a consulting service within Pantone that forecasts global color trends and advises businesses on color, has selected a Color of the Year every December (for the upcoming year). Here is the criteria:

  • The color symbolizes the sociopolitical climate (at that given time).
  • The color’s influence is seen in art, entertainment, and politics worldwide.
  • The color is noted by design experts and professionals globally.
Bride and Groom in navy suit and coral tie

Unearthing Coral

To understand the significance of Pantone Living Coral and why it matters, it’s important to examine why it’s called what it is. For starters, think about coral and its function in nature. By definition, corals are considered invertebrate animals, and each individual one is called a polyp. Living in groups, these polyps form colonies (like reefs), and display an incredible assortment of colors, in many forms and sizes. It’s naturally beautiful, but aesthetics aside, coral reefs are home to millions of species. According to the International Coral Reef Initiative, “Coral reefs are the largest living structure on the planet, and the only living structure to be visible from space.”

Why Pantone Living Coral is so 2019

Now that you have an idea of what coral truly is and why it’s important to the lives of countless species under the sea, let’s put that into the context of color. Pantone Living Coral embodies life. It’s one that showcases energy, excitement, and heart and soul—all attributes of our existence and experience as humans.

More importantly, Pantone Living Coral sets the tone and intention for 2019. Its mood presents joy and optimism, allowing playfulness to enrich our lives in the age of social media and leap to in-person, daily interactions. Like Pantone’s vice president, Laurie Pressman says, “We’re looking toward those colors that bring nourishment and the comfort and familiarity that make us feel good. It’s not too heavy. We want to play. We want to be uplifted.”

Embracing the Color of the Year

Fashion-wise, we’re going to see Pantone Living Coral in almost every facet, stretching from everyday wear to auspicious moments like weddings. Since our goal is to ensure the right look, fit and choice when it comes to special occasions, we’ve put together a style guide to help you incorporate the color of 2019 with the appropriate ensemble.

Make a Statement

The biggest takeaway here is that you want to use Pantone Living Coral as an accessory color for your special occasion. Think bow ties, long ties, and pocket squares, and consider the formality of your event—this will help you choose between the two. If you’re getting married, grooms traditionally wear white or black neckwear (but don’t let that dictate your style). If you want to use Pantone Living Coral, select a pocket square or be daring and go for colorful neckwear.  If Pantone Living Coral is not quite your taste, we have other shades available.

Additional Shades of Coral and Pink

  • Sun Coral (Pantone Living Coral)
  • Guava/Sunset
  • Coral Reef/Parfait
  • Salmon
  • Petal
  • Bellini
Free swatches from Generation Tux.

Pop with Blue

When you match Pantone Living Coral with a blue suit, it creates a look that’s bold, vibrant and stylish. Possibly, the most stylish. There are so many different styles of blue you can go with too. From brighter shades, if you really enjoy pops of color. Or darker, more traditional shades for a more subdued look.

Thrive with Black

Paring Pantone Living Coral with black is another one of those looks that says hello loudly, but not in a bad way. For example, black is usually stiff, but with Pantone Living Coral, the tone changes to lively. Plus, with black, you can go less formal with a suit or ultra-formal with a tux.

Bride and Groom in tan suit

Go Gray or Tan

Wearing Pantone Living Coral with tan or gray tends to work best when they’re lighter shades. The lighter color creates an imaginary, romantic appearance that reveals a fun-loving side. But darker options tend to look more like black, which can be great, too.

The wonderful thing here is that if you’re still not certain about which suit or tux color would look best for your wedding (or with Living Coral), Generation Tux offers a free Home Try-On! Our goal is to help you find the right choice.

Want to see Pantone Living Coral in person?

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