New Ways to Wear Neutralsby Kristin Golden on 06/25/12
Friday, April 27, 2012
New Ways to Wear Neutral
After meeting with some clients today, I realized that one of the biggest qualms for women as far as wearing color is knowing what to wear that color with. I'm not necessarily talking about the uber-trendy bright colors, but more like Khakis, Navy, Gray, and even Olive Green. Many of these are colors I consider "neutrals" - as in interchangeable with black and brown for the most part, but how do you make the most of these neutral colors and what do you wear them with to keep your outfit from being so "neutral?"
Here are some suggestions:
Color message wise, I love navy. If you are interviewing for a job, GET A NAVY BLAZER NOW! navy says "confident, reliable, dependable, honest, etc." - all good things that an employer wants to in a job candidate. Studies have shown that wearing the color navy really does impact employers' decisions as to whether or not to hire a candidate (obviously it is more of a sub-conscious thing).
Here are some great colors to pair with navy:
- Orange: No you won't look like a Bronco's player if you do it right - more navy, less orange. Orange is a great accent color to navy as it is vibrant and can really pop against the dark shade that navy comes in.
- Bubblegum pink: vibrant colors of any kind will really help navy to do it's job - lend a supporting role, while being neutral enough to work with these bright colors and not "compete for the spotlight." Plus, navy is softer than black so there won't be such a stark contrast between the bright color and the navy. Try a navy trouser with a hot pink blouse. You'll be surprised at how "wearable" that hot pink blouse really is.
- Turquoise: Another bright color. It pops against the navy but also blends well enough to give you that "put-togehter" look that we all crave.
- Kelly Green: This bright shade of green works well with navy because it is a very basic (yet bright) color. I wouldn't necessarily put it with a bright blue (too many primary colors), but the navy is subtle enough to let the green shine and still look classy.
This neutral shade is a great option - especially for those with warmer skin tones. It looks surprisingly feminine when paired with "girly"colors, yet helps those colors from looking too "frilly." It's a great neutral to help break up color while keeping black from causing too much of a contrast.
Great colors to pair with olive green are:
- Cantaloupe (light yellow): This color, paired with olive green looks feminine and flirty. Still, it doesn't look over the top girly and still is able to shine against the subtle background of an olive green staple piece.
- Petal pink: This is one of my favorites to mix with olive green. Usually such a frilly color, "baby pink" is usually reserved for weddings and Easter Sunday. I love this color paired with olive green because it is allowed to be girly and the olive green provides a nice compliment which makes it a little more wearable on a day to day basis. No one will be expecting that you are looking for the wedding party when you pair these two together.
- Hot pink: In a similar way that the light pink works with the olive green, so too does the bright pink. Once again, the olive green is a grounding color, allowing pink to stand out in all it's glory, but keeping it from looking too over-the-top girly. This is a perfect combination.
Ivory isn't quite as flexible as white as far as being able to be paired with any color. Ivory demands crisp color pairings, otherwise it runs the risk of looking boring and somewhat "blah."
Some colors that will keep the ivory looking great:
- Forest green: This bright color pops against the ivory and as expected, the neutral color of the ivory keeps it from looking so startling as it would if it were paired with white.
- Crispy baby blue: Although this isn't a bright color, this color works when added to ivory in a CRISP fashion (say a crisp blue shirt). This lets ivory take center stage, yet ads interest.
- Hot pink: Because of the bright pop that hot pink brings, it works with ivory to keep the interest coming. Rather than looking washed out, the pink helps the ivory to do it's job - work as a base for the pink to take center stage. Even if you are wearing an ivory suit (which can look very sophisticated), a hot pink shirt underneath will steal the stage away from the suit but, the suit itself will look very appropriate and beautiful, rather than dull thanks to the pop of pink.
- Light yellow: Again, like the baby blue, this color works really well with ivory when paired in a crisp fashion. The yellow brightens the ivory and also shows that the ivory really is that - ivory, not a dull or washed out version of yellow.
Gray is a neutral color that I consider appropriate for almost all occasions. As a softer version of it's counterpart (black), it meshes well with a wider rage of colors because it is a more muted version. This color can be played up two different ways - you can wear it with similar muted tones such as sea foam green and light purple or you can pair it with a bright color such as cobalt blue. Both work with this neutral color.
Some of the best pairings are:
- Cobalt blue: This color will really pop against the muted gray. If the blue was being worn with black, it would almost have to compete for attention (although it does look good with black). With gray, the blue takes center stage. The gray is the perfect counterpart for this startlingly beautiful color.
- Sea foam green: This tends to be a more muted color but it works well with gray because the two help to enhance each other. Gray does not overpower the green so it is allowed to shine in all of it's glory, yet the outfit is still subtle and subdued.
- Lavender: Again, a more muted color, it works for the same reason. The overall outfit will be a more subtle or neutral outfit, but the lavender will be able to shine more against the gray backdrop.
- Lemon yellow: Yellow is a great color this season and it works well with great because it is a bolder color and the gray allows it to pop, without creating too much contrast. Sometimes I am hesitant to pair yellow with black because I don't want to run the risk of looking like a bumble bee. Gray is the perfect answer because it is neutral, yet still powerful in color and the yellow allows both colors to be their best.
While you can obviously wear more than just these suggested colors with the neutral colors being featured, this is a good start to help you find some different ways to wear those colors that you already have in your closet - and is a good way to help you to start looking at colors a different way when shopping for them.
Xo, Kristin @ Kristin Golden Image Consulting