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Summer 2011: Colour
This season, beautiful bright colours ruled the runways. Gucci, Prada and Burberry all showcased bold look-at-me hues. We checked in with Robin Keeler, fashion director at Toronto’s Yorkdale Mall, to find out how you can wear these bright shades to your best advantage.
The Look:Rainbow stripes
Real Way: A.P.C T-shirt Pullover $135 USD, at usonline.apc.fr
Bright stripes are a fun and playful trend and when done well, can look flattering on anyone. “Vertical stripes give an elongated look to your body,” says Keeler. “Vertically striped pants or skirts can make you look taller. Horizontal stripes can be a bit tricky, as they add width, so go for a narrow to medium thickness stripe.”
The Look: Orange
Runway: Max Mara
Real Way: Steven Alan Renada Double-breasted Silk Blazer, $385, at net-a-porter.com
“There are huge variations of the colour orange,” says Keeler. “A red-orange is a great place to start when wearing this colour. Most women can find a shade that suits them especially if they look good in red.” If you prefer a bright but softer look, try coral. “If your skin is pale, it can wash you out so avoid wearing it too close to the face,” says Keeler.
The Look: Blue
Real Way: Roksanda Ilincic Kingfisher Washed Silk-satin Pants, $1050, at net-a-porter.com
“Bright blue is good for most skin tones and hair colours, which makes it very wearable for most women,” says Keeler. Pair this colour with rich metallic or neutral accessories for an instantly fab look.
The Look: Yellow
Runway: Michael Kors
Real Way: Alice Olivia Josephine Stretch Cotton-Poplin Dress, $370, at net-a-porter.com
While the hue is sunny and upbeat, it can also be loud and (gasp!) tacky. “Yellow radiates the light and really gets you noticed but it is important to find the right shade,” warns Keeler. “General rule: If you have a lot of contrast in your skin, hair and eyes, you can wear a stronger shade of yellow. If not, stick with softer yellows.” Yellow flatters darker skin tones, she says. “A yellow bathing suit is quite attractive when worn against sun-kissed skin.”
The Look: Green
Runway: Jil Sander
Real Way: Kate Spade Chrystie Street Large Anisha, $445, at katespade.com
“As with all bright colour this season, unless you are colour blocking – a little goes a long way,” says Keeler. “Punch up your neutrals with bright green separates such as a jacket, cardigan, or blouse or with accessories such as a bag, bangles, scarf or shoes. “Green looks good with black, khaki and brown or with aqua, coral or white.”
The Look: Pink
Runway: Jil Sander
Real Way: Splendid Cotton and Modal-blend T-shirt $46, at net-a-porter.com
What’s more feminine than pink? But pretty pinks can go from happy to hideous if not worn the right way, warns Keeler. “For grown up women, avoid cute candy floss pinks and stick to something stronger such as raspberry, watermelon or fuchsia. These shades warm pale skin tones and contrast well with darker complexions, she says. What to pair it with? Keeler suggests orange or with green and white for something fun and fresh.
The Look: Neon Green
Real Way: Banana Republic Lightweight Wrap $68, at bananarepublic.ca
Certain trends aren’t meant to stick around for too long. Case in point: Neons. So, Keeler’s advice? Invest wisely. “Neon colours can be fun, but use sparingly,” she says. “A little neon goes a long way. Keep everything you pair with neon green simple. As with other bright colours, anchor neon green with neutral colours such beige, khaki, navy, black and white.”
The Look: Mix ‘n match
Runway: Aquilano E Rimondi
Real Way: Zara Zip Trouser $49.90; Zara Studio Frill Top $69.90; Zara Short Blazer $119.00, at zara.com
“The best way to ‘rock the colour block’ trend – is to stick to solid colours of the same brightness or intensity. A bright pair of capris or jeans paired with a complimentary bright top is a fun, casual way to start with this trend.” But, she says, this trend is not for the faint of heart.
6 tips for wearing bright colours
Ready to make your wardrobe colour wonderful? Robin Keeler offers up these tips:
1 Invest in a bright coat. It looks on-trend when paired with an all-neutral outfit, and can make your old standbys (T-shirt and jeans) look stylish. A colourful coat also adds some flare to more conservative work attire.
2 Wear more red. It’s the only colour that’s both bold and classic, and every woman can find a shade that flatters her. If you are not used to colour, red is a great place to start.
3 If the thought of head-to-toe colours has you a little panicked, pick one beautiful bright to start. Accessory item or clothing, one piece will surely pop when toned down with neutrals.
4 Pay attention to color tones. Pastels work better with other light colours, while saturated colours work well together.
5 Trust your instincts. If you think it looks bad, it probably looks worse than you can imagine.
6 Don’t be afraid to break the colour rules that you might “know.” Every woman can find a shade of pretty much every color that will look good on her. The more shades you try, the more colors you’ll find that will make you look fabulous.
Natalie Bahadur is the Senior Editor of styleathome.com and is a contributor to ElleCanada.com