Monday, February 11, 2013

Know Your Neutrals

I'm forever encouraging my readers (and my friends and family) to be bold with their wardrobes and wear more daring colors. I've been known to wear head-to-toe color, whether monochromatic, prints or contrasting solids. However, I know that not everyone is comfortable in that much color and it is far more reasonable to pair a bold color with other neutral items. The question remains, however- which colors work best with which neutrals? There is no doubt that some choices are better than others, so why not try some of these combinations next time?

The most common neutral of all is obviously black. It is slimming and appropriate for just about anything- work, date night, cocktail party, formal event, etc. To make black even more bold, pair it with a jewel tone:

Black + Jewel Tones

As you can see, the jewel tones really pop against black in a way that no other neutral can quite achieve. I love how it works so well regardless of how dressy or casual the outfit. Amethyst jeans or emerald satin- it's all fabulous.

Probably the second most popular neutral is beige. Whether in the form of a pair of khaki trousers or a camel trench coat or nude shoe- beige is everywhere you look. It works with just about any color of the rainbow, but for added impact, pair it with a primary color:

Beige + Primaries

Sometimes beige gets a bad rep- it's too preppy or too dull or just too... beige. A bright primary like royal blue or even a secondary color like kelly green makes it fresh, youthful and dynamic.

Some people (like me) prefer a richer color than beige for their favorite neutral. Chocolate brown, or any darker, richer brown than basic beige pairs beautifully with bright pastels. It's a surprising combination, but very harmonious:

Chocolate Brown + Bright Pastels

Chocolate brown is probably the trickiest neutral because you really do need just the right shade for it to really work. A true pastel washes out next to rich chocolate brown, while jewel tones have a tendency to compete too strongly with it. But combine the two into a bright, jewel-like version of the pastel color and you have the perfect compliment to chocolate brown that is also bold and daring.

Grey is perhaps the best neutral color out there. It can be warm or cool, and it is essentially season-less. The best way to make grey daring and exciting is to pair it with a citrus:

Grey + Citrus

Grapefruit, lime, lemon, tangerine- any of these bright citrus-y colors are the perfect match to just about any shade of grey. They obviously work well in the spring and summer, but try wearing them in the cooler months and you'll find they're actually very versatile colors when paired with grey.

Finally, one of the most difficult neutrals to wear: white. I prefer a cream or ivory version, unless I'm going for a very stark nautical look. But to make it work for everyday pair it with milky pastels:

Cream + Pastels

True pastels shine next to a milky white and are just so darn feminine. It may not seem as bold as some of the other combinations above, but wearing a lot of white is actually quite bold all on its own. Pastels can soften a harsh white garment like no other.

I know what you're thinking: "She forgot navy!" It's true- navy is one of the most popular neutrals we have, so why didn't I specify exactly which type of color works best with it? Well, simply put- it works with everything equally. Navy can handle jewel tones, primaries, bright pastels, citruses, and true pastels! Check it out:

Navy + Anything!

What can I say? It's the magical neutral! Take a few minutes tonight and go through the neutrals in your wardrobe. Try to find a different combination with some of the bright colors in your wardrobe and see what you come up with! You might discover a new outfit you didn't even know you had!

Have a great day, everyone and as always, thanks for reading!

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