It might surprise new readers to discover that up until a few years ago colour and I were not wardrobe friends.
I LOVED my neutrals. Particularly black, white and stone (a more fancy schmancy name for beige, don’t you think?).
And do you know what? That’s completely ok if that’s your current colour palette too.
I think you have to be in the right frame of mind to make a leap from neutrals to embracing the rainbow.
And I think it also helps to understand that that leap does not have to be a giant one. It can be as simple as just starting.
I started first by becoming really aware of what was in my wardrobe and then noticing what I kept gravitating to when shopping.
Then and only then did I realise I was ready to bring a little colour into my life.
And by little, I really do mean little.
I started small. With the colour red.
It was a colour I liked and worked beautifully with my existing neutrals. From there I added in more colours. Colours that “spoke” to me. Colours that made me smile when I wore them.
I’ve never had my colours “done”, nor have I done this for clients when I was seeing them on a one-on-one basis.
I hate fashion rules so I preferred that my clients learn to read the spark in their eye and witness how their whole face lit up when trying on certain colours or styles in the change room.
Change-room confidence is key to confidence in your everyday style.
Now, if colour is something you’d like to embrace more in your wardrobe but were looking for ways to start that without fear, you might be interested in a challenge that my blogging friend Vanessa at Style and Shenanigans is running this week.
Vanessa lives in Melbourne and defies the myth that all Melbourne people wear black. Colour is entrenched in her signature style. Each day she’s nominated a different colour to wear. Head to her blog each day for ideas on how to incorporate the colour of the day.
11 ways to wear colour
If you’re stuck with ideas on just how to do that, here are 11 ways to wear colour every day.
1. Do wear colour but don’t let it wear you. This is one of the key statements on the SY manifesto. I know some people who can wear all the colours of the rainbow all at once and look fabulous doing so. I know if I applied the same combination, I’d look like a clown. The colour would dominate and the real me wouldn’t know how to get noticed. It’s ok to not wear colour if you don’t feel confident in it.
2. Start with accessories. Accessories are the key to bringing an outfit together but they’re also the perfect add-ons if you’re wanting to bring colour to an outfit. This way you can introduce colour without it costing a bomb.
3. Arrange your wardrobe so that colours are grouped together. If if you think you don’t have any colour in your wardrobe, do this. I have a gazillion white tops and tees. They all hang together so I always know I’ve got something to wear. Ditto my grey and black tops. Colours are grouped too. That way I can see at a glance if I’m wearing a neutral pair of pants, which colours are hanging and ready to go. If you don’t have much colour in your wardrobe, take note of the ones you do have there. Chances are, they’re the colours that you should buy and wear more of.
4. Hold up coloured tops or dresses from your wardrobe near your face. This is about recognising how one colour lights up your eyes and your complexion and how another might leave you feeling flat. Go with that feeling. You can’t force a colour to get along with you.
5. Love a colour but your face doesn’t love it being near you? Incorporate it into pants or skirts. This is where my neutral tops come into their own. White always works for me, as does black because of my blonde hair. They distract my face while my bottom half is playing with the colour.
6. Head out to your favourite fashion stores and play. Minimal colour to play with in your wardrobe? Set aside an hour to go and “play” at your fave fashion store. Try on different coloured pieces in the change room and get used to the changes in how your eyes and face look with different colours near them. Create a short list of colours (photograph the ones that work for you if you’re not buying them) and keep them in mind when you’re out shopping in the future.
7. Start by adding colour to a neutral base. You can really make a colour pop this way. It’s how you’ll most often find me working colour into my outfit (unless it’s a frock of course). Strategically placed feature colour on a neutral canvas can really create an outfit that gets noticed for the right reasons.
8. Play around with working complementing colours in the same outfit. Remember the colour wheel from Year 8 art classes? Yep, opposites really do attract. A couple of years back orange was THE colour of the season. My fave combo was orange and navy – almost complete opposites on the colour wheel and almost like splashing a colour with a neutral. Navy can swing both ways as a colour and a neutral in my wardrobe.
9. Forget the rules – colours can clash. Blue and green can definitely be seen. Same goes for hot pink and orange or red. For me, done well these are some most striking colour combinations out there. Yes, they need an attitude to match but hey, if you’ve got it, then I say shows that colourful attitude.
10. Use colour to surprise. Work in a corporate environment? Why not wear red shoes or carry a yellow bag? That bag or pair of shoes will be an instant conversation starter in a sea of grey and black.
11. Start with one colour. Don’t let colour overwhelm set in. Feel your confidence grow as you adopt and wear one particular colour more often. From there, the colour world is your oyster.
1. Ollie & Max denim dress $149.95 | 2. Verily kaftan $69 (on sale) | 3. Ruby Olive necklace $45 | 4. Erstwilder earrings $19.95 @ Vintage Pip | 5. Zaket & Plover knit $129.95 @ Birdsnest | 6. Trenery pants $119 | 7. Top End wedges $149.95 @ Style Tread
What colours would I find in your wardrobe?