Something old, something new and definitely something blue pretty much captures the essence of Pantone’s recently announced color of the year for 2020: “Classic Blue.”
Unlike its 2019 predecessor, “Living Coral,” the color authority’s pick for this year is both a throwback and modern, “emblematic of heritage, but at the same time, highly contemporary,” according to the company. Laurie Pressman, vice president at the Pantone Color Institute, touts the shade as “a reassuring presence instilling calm, confidence and connection.” Leatrice Eiseman, the executive director, calls the color “a boundless blue, evocative of the vast and infinite evening sky.”
Truth told, despite the flowery descriptions, at first glance, you might consider it rather, well, blah. It is after all, not particularly dramatic, though the hue is livelier than navy and indigo, softer than cobalt and much deeper than cerulean blue. “When I first looked at it, it seemed kind of boring,” says Phillip Bloch, a celebrity stylist from Seaford who has dressed plenty of leading ladies including Halle Berry, Jennifer Lopez and Lupito Nyong’o. But upon further consideration, Bloch says, “while it [is] a very familiar color, not a scary one like last year’s coral, this blue is unthreatening but still bold — a strong, predominant color on its own.”
Bloch likes it for both men and women. “It’s a very good color for guys and it won’t scare them off. I love it in a shirt, with jeans and it’s a great sneaker color.” For women, he says, “pair it with white and for evening; I like it with silver and gold. Wear a whole dress in this shade and it’s like “bam!”
For the home, "Classic Blue" can be found across the boards, in kitchen appliances, accessories, paint and upholstery. Port Washington-based designer Keith Baltimore is a fan. “We use it a lot. It’s very popular and it’s not tired,” he says.
According to the designer, the color straddles the fence between, “beachy, casual and relaxed and regal, stately and elegant.” He suggests either using it as a neutral in a room like a library on moldings, paneling or ceilings and offsetting it with a chandelier, which he calls “a classic, sturdy stable look with a good feel.” Or, says Baltimore, pair it with fresh white for a beachy look. As for blue accessories, his faves include blue and white Asian pottery set against the solid shade, but he warns, “not every accessory has to be blue. It should be strategically balanced and not in your face.”
To mix it up, Baltimore recommends accent colors such as gray, beige and even pops of lemony yellow and hot pink, which, he says, can feel “very yummy.” And like Bloch, he suggests dressing up a very blue room with metallics — “chrome, copper, gold — all the metals work very well.”
Best news of all is that it’s an easy, approachable color no matter how and where you use it. An exhibit dedicated to the color, albeit various shades, is even on the way to the Nassau County Museum of Art, in Roslyn Harbor, this March in efforts to show how "the power of blue transcends" art and history.
"Classic Blue" is a "good way to add color and very safe without jumping too far in,” says Baltimore. Bloch adds, “just about anyone can wear it without having to think about it much.”