Like many of us, I’m hesitant when it comes to color – somewhere between lazy and anxious about not buying anything that doesn’t easily blend in with the rest of my wardrobe.
And there’s one more thing, if I’m being very honest. After decades of hanging out on the fringes of high fashion, I’m still a little bit captivated by the cult of black and gray; the sophisticated non-colours fashionistas used to live in because they were flawless, cool and (when worn from head to toe) slimming.
Well, not anymore. Like the female clothes buyers in the country, in recent years I have gradually turned my back on black and switched to pink (for blouses), colorful print (for dresses), blue and ginger (for blazers) and smoky blue and khaki ( for jumpsuits).
These days I have almost run out of black in my wardrobe (not a moment too soon – black and gray exhaust almost everyone over 50) and while I still don’t feel completely comfortable with color, I am off the beginner slopes, the shift the intermediate category and work on it. Because it’s worth it.
Like the female clothing buyers in the country, I have gradually turned my back on black in recent years. In the photo: Lila Grace Moss Hack wears red on the catwalk
Every complexion benefits from a color: the eyes are brighter, the smile is lifted. This little detail – you look better and younger in flattering colors – shouldn’t be ignored, and this fall fashion has made it hard for us not to embrace color.
Across the board, designers have sidelined black and now almost everything looks more modern and desirable in color.
Last week I bought an emerald green velvet blazer from Zara. Had I considered buying it in black? Never, and more so, there was none on offer (a first I’d say).
Color is what’s cool right now. The future is bright and not so bright, carried all the time without thinking about it.
So, here’s what I’ve learned so far…
Color from head to toe in different shades
In fashion, this is called tonal dressing, and it really works because it looks sleek without being too uniform, and it’s so simple.
Just pick a color in a few different shades – say a bright blue sweater over a silky navy dress from Autograph at Marks & Spencer (£59 and £99, marksandspencer.com).
Add some ink blue boots and you’re good to go.
Swap black for stylish camel
The first step to making color work easily is to swap out your neutrals; black for camel or cream, khaki or navy. Camel, for example, goes beautifully with navy blue, red, emerald green and pink.
Pink sings with khaki (and automatically looks more mature); rust looks fresh with cream and dark blue; not to mention indigo denim, which flatters everyone and goes with everything.
Black is no longer the main event
Wear a black satin camisole under a bright green trouser suit, not the other way around.
(You may recall that Phoebe Waller-Bridge showed up early for the press night of her solo show Fleabag in 2019.)
Wear a black satin camisole under a bright green trouser suit, not the other way around. Phoebe Waller-Bridge was there early for the press night of her solo show Fleabag in 2019
Try a vibrant sleeveless sweater
This is a great way to add a strong color — like cobalt blue or strong coral (£59, coststores.com) — and spice up or brighten up an outfit.
If you want to start with something simple, team your navy pants with a cream stripe with a white shirt under an ivory V-neck sleeveless jumper (£29.50, marksandspencer.com) and you’re suddenly in brighter territory without even flinching. to attempt.
Then you can add a pop of color: some red flats or lipstick; a coral bag strap or earrings.
Don’t know what that means?
Combinations that look particularly good right now are cherry red and aubergine (try an aubergine tank top with a red blouse or polo neck), pink and red, orchid purple and red, mauve and emerald green or coral and khaki.
Of course there is always print. Winter prints are most versatile when they include some black, like Reiss’ silky scarf-print shirt dress (£248, reiss.com) – they’ll work with your black shoes and boots.
Put on a colorful outfit
Surely it’s better to buy a neutral pantsuit, otherwise we don’t run the risk of looking like the Joker? No no.
If there’s one thing you should buy, it’s a colored blazer or, better yet, a suit. This is the year of the colored pantsuit – for work or leisure.
It can be dusty pink or deep red or butterscotch (£59.99 and £27.99; £69.99 and £29.99; £59.99 and £29.99, zara.com) or emerald velvet (£89 .99 and £59.99, zara.com).
I now wear the emerald green blazer separately with a pink shirt and jeans. A suit with a black background pattern can also look great – with a solid dark top underneath.
Remember, no turning back.