I have had quite a few comments over the past few weeks complimenting me on my use of bright colours in my outfits. So many people have been telling me that they would love to try wearing bright colours, but they don’t really know how to go about it, or they don’t have the courage. I thought that I would write a guide to incorporating bright colours into your wardrobe.
I used to have a wardrobe that consisted mostly of black and grey items. I loved gothic fashion in my teenage years, and tended not to wear a huge range of colours. As I got older, I began to experiment with different colour combinations and wild prints. I feel a strong pull to the fashion trends of the 1960’s, and in particular the mod fashion trend, which used a lot of block colours and wild, psychedelic prints. The more I branch out with my personal style, the more I seem to acquire brightly coloured items into my wardrobe.
Colour is a great way to spice up your wardrobe. It is really quite simple to wear, and it’s a brilliant way to set yourself apart from the crowd. I find that, in the city, a lot of people tend to stick with blacks, browns, greys and neutral shades. It can be a lot of fun to be the lady in the red dress in a sea of black and grey outfits.
The first step to experimenting with colour is to work out which hues suit your skin tone. Stylists use a seasonal classification system for deciding which shades look best with which colourings. There are four loose categories of colourings, that are classified as ‘Summer’, “Winter’, “Autumn” and “Spring”. Your ‘season’ is determined by your skin colour, your eye colour and your hair colour. To determine what season you are, you will need to stand in front of a mirror in natural light. Take a piece of blue or pink fabric and hold it up to your face. Then, take a piece of yellow fabric and hold it up to your face. One of the fabric swatches should make you look radiant and glowing, whereas the other will make you look a bit sallow and washed out. If you looked better against the pink or blue fabric, then you have blue-based skin. If you looked better against the yellow fabric, then you have yellow-based skin.
If you have blue based skin, you are going to be either a ‘summer’ or a ‘winter’ colouring.
Summer girls have pale pink skin, and are often natural brunettes or blondes with blue eyes.
Winter complexions are pale white, olive or quite dark, and are generally natural brunettes with deeply coloured eyes.
If you have yellow based skin, you will be either a “Spring” or an “Autumn”.
Spring ladies have creamy white or peach undertones, and often have red hair, freckles, rosy cheeks and green or blue eyes.
Autumn ladies often have brown or red hair, with golden brown eyes.
Once you know what season you fit into, you can select which colours will suit you best:
Summer: lavender, plum, soft blue and rose pink
Winter: White, black, red, navy blue, shocking pink,
Autumn: camel, beige, orange, gold and dark brown
Spring: camel, peach, golden yellow and golden brown.
Don’t fret too much if your favourite colour isn’t on the list for your season. The colours that are best suited to your skin tone really only matter for the garments that are closest to your face, such as blouses and dresses. If you love bright red, but it doesn’t really suit you, why not try wearing a bright red skirt or a pair of crimson heels?
Once you have acquired a few garments in bright colours, there can be some dilemma about how best to integrate them into your wardrobe. Here are a few ideas that I love to employ:
– if you are a bit hesitant about jumping into the world of bright colours, why not experiment with bright accessories? Add a hot pink belt, a pair of blue shoes or a bright yellow handbag to an otherwise neutral outfit for a subtle splash of colour.
– Black is an ideal backdrop for brights. Pair one brightly coloured item with a black ensemble for a pop of colour.
– Buy a dress in a bright hue. Make sure that it fits well and has a relatively simple cut. The dress itself doesn’t have to be too spectacular if it’s a stand-out hue. Accessorise with simple, classic items and let the dress do all the talking.
– If you are a denim-loving lady, invest in a pair of brightly coloured jeans. They make a nice change from basic blue, are super comfortable, and can be worn with an array of tops and shoes. It’s a great way to experiment with colour without straying too far from your comfort zone.
– As summer is approaching, your toes are likely to be on show as you slip into cute sandals and thongs. Paint your toes a zany neon hue.
– Invest in a gorgeous, bright lipstick that suits your skin tone. Go to a reputable makeup counter and ask the makeup artist there to help you. Keep the rest of your makeup neutral and make sure you apply with precision. M.A.C have the most fabulous range of lipsticks.
– Choose one colour and wear it top-to-toe, in varying shades.
– Experiment with coloured tights. They are cheap and cheerful, and really add interest to your outfit.
– Use a coloured garment to highlight your best body feature. If you have gorgeous legs, a pair of coloured tights or jeans will draw the eye to them. Wearing a bright item on a feature that you are proud of will boost your confidence.
– Look at the types of garments that you wear most often, and buy a few in a couple of bright shades. For example, if you find yourself in pencil skirts quite a lot, invest in a bright red or emerald green skirt. If you wear a suit for work most days, pick up a few bright blouses or colourful pairs of shoes to wear with your basic suit. You will be more likely to experiment with colour by adapting your favourite garments to this trend, than by buying a colourful item of a type that you don’t normally wear.
The key to wearing brights well is confidence. When you live in a world where most other people are kitted out in blacks and greys, you will stand out when you choose to outfit yourself in wild colours. Selecting a garment that fits well, in a colour that suits you, will help you to walk out the door knowing that you look fantastic. If you know you look brilliant, you will walk with a little bounce in your step, and everyone will have their eyes on you.
Most of all, have fun with colours. Whether you want to fling yourself headlong into colourful dressing, or slowly incorporate it into your wardrobe, make sure that you retain a sense of humour and fun with your style.