Men have always had an uneasy relationship with colour.

As the stereotypes go, men who stay within the lines of black, grey, navy and white are somehow more solid and trustworthy and macho than their colourfully attired brothers.

Somewhere along the way, men became accustomed to living without colour and never developed skill at the play.

For decades, menswear has planted its flag in a barren desert of hues — bland, beige and monotone.

So it was greeted with some surprise when designers, in their collections for this summer, went wild with bright saturated colours.

The retail colour revolution has started slowly and rather inconspicuously. In the most staid of department stores, next to the utilitarian white Jockeys and black McGregors, are graphically patterned and wildly hued underwear and socks.

The colour wheel is spinning in other subtle ways, as well. The simple polo shirt, a summer basic for the average Joe, comes in a wide array of shades at the Gap this summer.

And savvy retailers are zeroing in on the most likely customer: the young.

Men’s accessories such as tote bags, sneakers and hats make for easy targets, the theory being that bright colour is more palatable in small doses.

Shoe stores, such as Little Burgundy, sell sneakers in bright Crayola hues.