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10 Easy Ways to Wear Color


How to wear color

I recently received an email from a reader wanting to know how to add color to an outfit without channeling the psychedelic 1960’s or Bozo the clown.

In truth, color is severely lacking in many wardrobes, and it’s such a shame. Wearing color can do amazing things for your skin tone, hair color, and overall appearance. While basic black will forever be a wardrobe staple, adding in a few more shades can spice up your wardrobe and add interest to your look.

Colorful clothes are also a hot spring trend, so wearing color is something worth learning how to do. Even if you think you can’t wear bright clothing, it’s much easier than it seems.

Here are ten easy ways to add some color to your outfits.

* Start small and work your way up.
If you don’t normally wear lots of color, don’t dive in head first by throwing on the first five bright pieces you see. If you go this route, you’ll likely hate your look and swear of colors all together. It’s better to start small with one colorful piece and build from there.

* Trade in basic black for a different neutral.
I’m not knocking the color black – it’s one of my favorites and makes a chic base to any outfit. That said, I don’t believe in using any color as a wardrobe crutch. If you wear black because you can’t think of anything else to wear, then you need to find a new neutral. I’m a fan of navy blue and nude lately, but gray and brown are perfect options too.

* Choose colors that work with your skin and hair.
If you haven’t already, use my guide and find out what colors are most flattering on you. Once you know what looks good on you, it’s 1000 times easier to wear color without fear. Remember: start small. Incorporate one or two of those colors into your wardrobe, get used to them, and build from there.

Colorful shoes

* Wear a neon shoe.
This is one of my favorite ways to wear color lately. I just bought a pair of neon pink ballet flats from Forever 21, and have been wearing them every chance I get. The great thing about bright shoes is that they jazz up even the most boring outfit, and they always stand out in a crowd. Red shoes with a little black dress or hot pink heels paired with jeans and a top – either way, you can’t go wrong.

* Add a bright handbag.
Bright bags also a hot trend and another simple way to make your outfit more colorful. While black and brown handbags are super popular because they “go with everything”, bright ones are just as versatile! The trick to picking the right colorful bag? Make sure the shade meshes well with the rest of your wardrobe. A cobalt blue purse would be perfect if you wear lots of cool colors like gray and lavender, while a marigold bag would be a great choice if you normally rock shades of brown and other warm tones.

* Wear a multi colored dress.
If you’re totally clueless when it comes to putting colors together, find a colorful dress and let it choose your color palette for you. Just pair your frock with neutral shoes and a coordinating bag. The dress will be the focus of your outfit, and you won’t have to worry about mismatching.

Colorful Jewelry

* Sport colorful jewelry.
If you watched the Oscars, you must have seen Angelina Jolie’s emerald green earrings. They were strikingly beautiful against her all-black ensemble. This is an example of expert styling at work. Paired with a neutral outfit, a bright piece of jewelry can really stand out and be seen. Try this yourself by choosing one colorful piece – perhaps a chunky turquoise bracelet or bright cocktail ring, and wearing it with a simple top/jeans combo or a little black dress.

* A bright top + denim = love.
I love colorful tops. They are one of the easiest ways to experiment with color, and they’re fairly inexpensive as far as clothes go. When paired with denim, a colorful top has met it’s perfect match. This spring, try a hot pink tunic worn with skinny jeans and heels, or a drapey one-shoulder yellow top with denim shorts.

* Two words: colorful accessories.
Bright accessories rock because they’re cheap and easy to experiment with. A bright red belt over a black dress would look adorable. What about a cerulean scarf paired with your favorite neutral spring jacket? Bright tights are also a fun way to enliven your look, and they’re very on-trend as well.

* Just have fun!
My final tip is to use color to express your personality and add some fun to your look. While it’s nice to try and dress well, when you wear color, experiment and enjoy yourself! Even if you don’t match perfectly, at the end of the day, it’s just fashion. We’re not saving lives here. ;)

Well, you’ve seen my tips for wearing more color – now I want to know what you think! Does your love for everything technicolor rival Rainbow Bright’s, or are you a basic black kind of girl? What colors do you wear the most?

Posted on on March 26, 2009 / Filed Under: Fashion Tips / Tags: , , , ,

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25 Responses to “10 Easy Ways to Wear Color”

  1. 1
    March 26th, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    Awesome post!!! My wardrobe has lots of color (mainly t-shirts though)….colour wise……i cant choose because ive got too many colours…

  2. 2
    March 26th, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    Love love this ! i always love color but sooo confused how to use it :) thanx xx

  3. 3
    March 26th, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    How about bright nail polish? My nails are bright pink right now (the bottle says “Pink Promenade Creme,” but that’s not really helpful). They’re so colorful and happy! I wore a yellow shirt today because I was excited about the sunshine.

  4. 4
    March 26th, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    When I go shopping, I usually am at a complete loss when it comes to color. So I stick to black, and usually like to spice it up with one bright and perky color. Before I knew it, it became my style.

    Top 3 Combinations I <3 :

    Blacks/ Graphites to go with bright sunshine yellow
    Whites/ lighter Greys to go with parrot greens or turquoise blues
    Browns/Beiges/Cremes with Pinks and Magentas.

    So a majority of my wardrobe is neutral, and a few brightly colored pieces. I love to mix and match here, so no two outfits resemble each other- but then, that’s an illusionary trick I swear by!!

  5. 5
    March 26th, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    I have been waiting for this post. My mom gets so mad when I pair two bright colors together. I love to pair hot pink and a bright blue cardigan. My signature however is black with a splash of hot pink. I do this trough purses, belts, jewlery, shoes, and cardigans.

    My favorite way to add color is purses, I own one in almost every color. I am still looking for the perfect purple one though…

  6. 6
    March 27th, 2009 at 5:58 am

    yay thanks for posting this article so soon : )
    i really like the tips! im going to try the replacing with neutrals, i’ve also been liking tan, navy blue and grey lately! and i can’t seem to part with my black boots, so maybe i’ll try brown/tan…though it may be too hot to wear boots anyway : (
    alsoooo i’m going to try to the accessories one and bag , and bright shoessss <3
    thanks! i never wear straight up black, but i just have too much black or i tend to wear too much neutrals together which is Getty bland and boring w/spring coming in.

  7. 7
    March 27th, 2009 at 10:32 am

    I’m usually a black-grey-blue person, but I do like colors in moderation.

    I like bright shoes, but not necessarily heels. I stick to flats or sneakers for most days.

    I hate purses, but I love scarves. They’re inexpensive and come in every color ever.

    Any time I wear a t-shirt, I ALWAYS wear a tank top underneath so it sticks out a little around my hips. It’s an easy way to add color without going overboard or looking tacky.

  8. 8
    March 27th, 2009 at 11:11 am

    I LOVE wearing lots of color!

    Totally random, but I got SO mad when I was watching Ugly Betty and her boss Daniel told her that if she ever wanted to make it in the world of fashion she needed to stop wearing so many colors. And then, when she dresses in all black her family gasps and tells her she looks “almost fashionable.” Helloo – color is in! :) sorry for extreme rant.

  9. 9
    March 27th, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    I LOVE COLOR!!! and to Anna lol I thought the same thing but Ugly Betty is still awesome!

  10. 10
    March 27th, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    No no. I’ll stick to my all-black. Thankyou.

  11. 11
    March 27th, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    Great post, I love colors. My favorite is blue, I have tons of outfits in blue and I am starting to think that I should start wearing other colors too like green and pink. Also for the summer yellow is very trendy, because when the skin is tanned it looks super sexy. I heard long time ago that in order to look stylish a woman should not combine more than three colors on her outfit.

  12. 12
    March 27th, 2009 at 10:48 pm

    great article! I would have to say I love my neutrals black and gray but I still love a pop of color. Lately I’ve been wearing a lot of white as a base color, it’s a refreshing change from my darker winter wardrobe and the best part is anything goes! I just bought a pair of aqua green (ugg calls it “pool”) slouchy sweater uggs…at 50% off (only 70 bucks) they’re an awesome way to add color compared to the basic, neutral colored regular uggs I’ve worn.

  13. 13
    March 28th, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    This has come right on time, I seriously need to start wearing some more color. I’m your basic classy black/grey/cream girl. What’s weird is that I actually have one gigantic pop of color- my fire engine red coat. And I always have red nails (it’s like my signature trademark thing), but I’ve had that coat for so long it feels like it doesn’t count anymore.
    I just needs to get other bright colors than red! When I read the thing about shoes I realized the only bright-colored shoes I have were my, typically, red peetoes.
    My summer wardrobe’s mostly basic cool tones like dark blue, green and white while my winter’s all beige and cream and grey.
    Seriously I’ve bought one hot pink shirt but I just don’t know what to wear it with! It’s really tshirt like, which is also so not me, and has a print, which is also a first for me. With some jeans it’d just look too… boring high-necklined or something. I’m used to shirts in varying styles, but no tshirt-necks! Was thinking about my balck pencil skirt or black shorts, but I dunno…

  14. 14
    March 29th, 2009 at 11:32 am

    i like dark colors, mostly grays, navys and blacks. all my skirts are brightly colored or patterned and i use that to infuse color in.

  15. 15
    March 29th, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    Great post!
    Adding colourful accessories is a great idea…definately a good way to spice up an otherwise basic outfit.
    But having just having fun with colour is probably the best piece of advice!

  16. 16
    March 29th, 2009 at 10:41 pm

    I can never pull it off with the bright colors! DAMN IT!

  17. 17
    March 30th, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    how do u feel about skinny jeans with bright heels and a bright shirt? should one just be neutral? different colors? or different shades of the same colors?

  18. 18
    March 30th, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    Love the suggestions! I’m a huge fan of bright colors; they really brighten up an outfit. I usually wear it in my shoes/accessories or another fun way is withnail polish!

  19. 19
    April 2nd, 2009 at 11:25 am

    I love the idea! I usually wear colorful tops with black skinny jeans and neutral colored shoes (since jeans and shoes are rather expensive, unlike tops which are a lot cheaper) :)

  20. 20
    April 13th, 2009 at 11:57 am

    well one other way that i love to wear bright colours is getting a cardigan (not a long one) in a bright colour that suits you and wearing it with a pretty but neutral coloured top, however keeping the cardigan opened so it sort of rolls and you can see the top. you can wear almost anything even a tank top under it, and then skinny jeans and cute flats to go with that.

  21. 21
    April 17th, 2009 at 12:55 am

    Thanks for all the wonderful tips. I am loving all the colorful jewelry and bags that I am seeing in stores now. They are an easy way to add color to your outfit without being to flashy or out there. Also, I love summer time when all the pretty and colorful dresses come out.

  22. 22
    June 29th, 2009 at 9:32 am

    thanks for the tips ! I’ll try them as soon as possble :)

  23. 23
    October 16th, 2011 at 3:12 pm


  24. 24
    December 16th, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    This is a good post on how to match colours using the colour wheel, I used to worry about matching colour til I read this..

  25. 25
    June 20th, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    I find it is particularly important to wear color after 40. It’s easy to fall into a black hole because black is easy and slimming, but it really accentuates dark shadows, lines and wrinkles, so I always advise clients to wear color at least up by their faces.

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