In corporate and business casual work environments as well as in academia, traditionally colors are either neutrals or at least muted. When these colors are a problem for you – and in deed they are for many of us – read how to look on top of things, and fit. In this post, stylists, fashion bloggers and color consultants spill some of their tricks how to look effortlessly stylish in colors.
Why You Need to Add Your Colors to Your Outfits
“Add colors to your outfits to not look dull” sounds like an easy solution, but many of us weren’t trained that way. Therefore, we look pale and sick and feel uncomfortable in our own skin and clothes wearing the work appropriate neutrals. Consequently, dressing in the morning becomes a duty rather than a great, fun start of the day. Our closet seems like a nightmare rather than our happy place. On top of it, we feel like wearing a uniform in our work clothes.
Our clothes send a message about us. Obviously, this fact can a great problem for us (and maybe our career) when the message is wrong. Now what? How can you dress in colors of your palette that are not “mainstream” office tints? Or at least, not the expected shades in your profession?
How to Look Effortlessly Stylish in Colors
In this blogger round up, I asked fashion, style and color experts
What is your secret to create colorful outfits that are effortlessly stylish?
and they provided some great solutions. In the following, I shortly introduce these experts. Then I post their answers on how to look effortlessly stylish in colors. For your inspirations, they also provided photos as examples of their tips. You can wear multiple tints in one outfit without looking like a box of crayons.
Imogen Lamport from Inside Out Style Blog is a certified style and color expert. She is also the author of a style book called “Your 5 Step Formula for a Fabulous Wardrobe“. On her blog and in her book, she shares easy style solutions for the everyday woman. Here is her response on how to look effortlessly stylish in colors:
- Wear colours that flatter you. The colours that work with your complexion will light you up and make you look more youthful, rested and radiant. Knowing which colours they are (out of the millions of available colours to choose from) will have you looking your best every day.
- Don’t be scared to wear colour. The easiest ways to wear colours is to choose similar colours to your lips, eyes and hair and put these together in an outfit. These are what we call signature colours and will light you up from the inside out.
- Work with the 60/30/10 rule – 60% of your outfit in a base colour (or neutral) let’s say your pants and top, 30% in an accent colour, let’s say a jacket or cardigan, 10% in a highlight colour let’s say a scarf or necklace.
- When in doubt, find a multicoloured scarf and repeat the colours in it in your outfit.
- Got similar coloured eyes, and hair? Then just wear one colour at a time either in a monochromatic (shades of the same colour) palette or back with a neutral.
I could go on and on as colour is a passion of mine.
Nancy Baten is a 50+ Dutch personal style blogger who formerly worked in the broader fashion industry. On her blog Nancy’s Fashion Style, she writes about fashion, and all the things women like. She gives the following advice:
I haven’t gotten a secret, but I wear what feels good to me. For me the important thing is to feel completely myself in my outfit. There were times or events when I wore what was appropriate, but it wasn’t me. I can’t feel comfortable if I am not myself. I remember that in my teenage years I had a very distinct style, but I felt wonderful in it and that’s the most important thing. With colors it’s the same, if I like it…I will wear it!
Pamela Graham the color expert at Style Yourself Confident. When you are a regular reader of my blog you have met her already twice: In our giveaway for our books and online color and style makeover, and the makeover of the winner. Pamela offers analysis of your personal tints for flattering style. She wrote the following:
I may spend a great deal of time working on Color Analysis but there are no hard and fast rules – color is here to be enjoyed in whatever way you see fit!
I know the colors that make me look good and feel good but my whole approach is quite conservative. Navy plays a major role, particularly in the Summer, because it makes me feel comfortable and there are so many fabulous bright shades that I can happily use to mix and match. I’ve just packed for vacation and navy and white takes precedence then I add hot pink, jade, perhaps purple to ring the changes.
I use color to add life but also to flatter my body shape. If I wear separates it’s darks on the bottom and brights on the top because I’m pear shaped and, because I’m petite, I’ll try to lengthen my body overall or just add a splash of color high on the body.
Color comes into everything unconsciously. Pearl earrings are a must because they bring light to my face and as long as my nails are the right shade of pink then I’m happy!
Samantha Blair is a scientist and the blogger at Fake Fabulous. She not only posts great looks on her blog, but also encourages women to be a little brave and “fake” confidence, when it is needed. In response to my question, she stated that there are
4 Easy Ways to Wear ANY Colour Combination
1. Love it!
You have to really love the colours you choose, not just wear them because they’re on-trend, or ‘supposed’ to suit you.
Only put on your body colours that make you smile from ear to ear.
If you really love something it shows, and you will automatically look great!
2. Make it work for you.
If the colours are completely wrong for your colouring try upping the makeup ante.
Once any sallowness (or redness) in your skin is neutralised (and you add a good lippy) ANY colour can look great!
3. Mix it and Match it.
When clashing colours try to find similar intensities, and they will sit together easier… e.g. pastels with pastels, brights with brights.
Try to match tints, tones or shades at the same level of intensity and your outfit will
appear more harmonious.
If the colour you have chosen is hard for you to wear (draining, or unflattering to your skin) try adding a touch of a colour that you know looks good on you.
Even a tiny splash can help make the harsher hue work.
4. Ground it
Add a grounding neutral like black, grey, tan, cream (or even metallics) to make the colour feel more wearable.
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The most important thing is to feel good and have fun.
That’s what fashion is all about!
Suzanne Carillo is a 40+ blogger sharing adventurous style solutions for the uncommon woman. She is the voice of the blog with the same name, a vintage reseller, and a pug lover (so cute). Read what she has to say about looking effortlessly stylish in color:
My background is illustration and pattern design so it is natural that I am drawn to colour and choose to dress in colour. I often wear vintage clothing from the 60s or 70s which is already very colourful. Colour reflects my personality and communicates joy to those around me. Creating colourful outfits is like colouring was to me as a child, a form of grown up play time. Allowing yourself the freedom to experiment is the key to dressing your heart’s desire. Colour expresses so many emotions, learn to let go of preconceived ideas and allow yourself to wear what speaks to you. There are no right or wrong combinations, there is just you wearing something that makes you happy.
Sheela Goh, the voice of Sheela Writes – I have Things to Say, has a very eclectic personal style. I have never seen an outfit of her that I didn’t like and that wouldn’t have been recognizable as hers even when you wouldn’t see her face. On her blog, she leverages on style, beauty and wellness to propagate female empowerment and self-love. She strives to unearth the best version of oneself. My long-time readers met her here already twice in a blogging mother-blogging daughter roundup on fashion over 40 and a beauty over 40 post. Sheela wrote:
I used to design and create jewellery, and one of the ways I’d put together colour combinations was to place different gemstones next to each other, on a flat white plate. I wanted to see not only if they went well together but also the emotion they evoked in me. For instance, pink rubies with citrine and emeralds was one of my absolute most faves because the overall palette made me feel happy and hopeful. When it comes to clothes, I apply the same methodology. I hang all my garments by colour. The blues together, the reds, the oranges, the yellows. And when I want to create a colourful look, I look at the various rows in my wardrobe, and start pulling out individual pieces, placing them on the bed. When I’m satisfied with the “mood”, voila. My rainbow outfit is done 🙂 of course, mind you, there are days when I throw different shades together just cos, and hope for the best!!!
Anne M. Bray, aka Spy Girl, is a great artist. You may have seen her great sketches of fashion bloggers on IG and FB. Perhaps, you may even own one of her cups, or Tees of your favorite fashion/style blogger. My hubby owns a cup and Tee of his favorite blogger, me. 😉
One of my Color Secrets is I use the color prompts offered by Mercedes @COTDstyle on Instagram. I’m wearing: sapphire knit tunic from discount Chinese internet seller, leggings from Society6 of my own design, vintage stripe scarf bought in Portland, OR years ago, red Dansko clogs, purchased on Poshmark.
Skip the fashion colors that don’t flatter your complexion. When a color’s undertone does not go well with the undertone of your skin, it will wash you out and would let you look like you are sick. Did it ever occur to you that some colors are called “old people colors” because they wash out everybody? To look great, healthy, young and hip, pick those fashion colors that suit you. There is no point in wearing a color just because it is the color of the year!
Remember: Nobody can afford to buy the full palette of Pantome colors for color coordinated looks. However, you can learn how to fake colorful Pantone outfits.
When you are new to wearing color, start small. Try to add colorful scarves for style.
Another easy start is to use use a neutral bottom and add a fashion color of your palette. You can wear bold fashion colors at any age applying the tips in the linked guide.
You can wear color at any age. And yes, you can look effortlessly stylish in colors. However, it’s important that you love to wear them, that they flatter you and make you feel confident and great about yourself. Most importantly, have fun with fashion colors. You can even look great with more than three colors in one outfit.
Photos: Courtesy to the featured bloggers
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