Colors can be tricky. Too much and you can look tacky – too little and you can look boring. I’ve found that fashion now gives us the opportunity to find ways to easily integrate colors into our outfits without over- or under-doing it. Whether it’s a top, a pair of pants, shoes, belt or purse – there is always some way for you to add a bit of color to your ensemble.
Instead of reaching for the black item try and pick clothes and accessories that come in shades of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet (ROYGBIV aka The Color Spectrum). These are staple colors that can be mixed and matched with just about anything to create casual, business and dressy outfits.
I mentioned that I wanted do a piece on colors in my Irish Spring post so I’m excited that I was able to get one of my best friends, Jenny, to help me model various outfits incorporating these colors. You’ll notice that some outfits contain a lot of color while others are more subtle with a pop of color added to it.
With Jenny’s yellow dress I’ve added red heels and a skinny multi-colored belt. If I had added a large belt, the emphasis would have been on the belt. This dress fits her so well that I wanted it to be the center of the outfit, which is why I opted for a skinny belt. To play off of the colors in the belt – I added red heels and a small navy chain-link purse. Notice, that none of the other 3 accessories diminish the color of the dress – the key is to pick smaller accessories when you have a colored item that you want as the center of attention.
Yellow Dress – TJ Maxx, Multi-Color Navajo Print Belt – Forever 21, Navy Chain-Link Purse – Vintage, Red Satin Heels – Charlotte Russe
My floral dress is already very colorful with its red, yellow, white, and green flowers. I added a simple tan belt (thanks for the tip Menx), tan shoes, and nude clutch to complete the outfit. If the piece you’re emphasizing is already really colorful – go with a subtle color shoe/belt (tan, black, or nude) and add a simple color clutch to it as well. DO NOT wear matching accessories (i.e. – yellow shoes, yellow belt, yellow earrings, yellow bracelet – all in one outfit – this is SUPER tacky); you can however wear a yellow belt but wear nude or tan shoes. You want to break up the color schemes to make the outfit more appealing.
Floral Dress – Tucker Line – Target, Tan Double-Strap Belt – Forever 21, Nude-Petal Clutch – TJ Maxx, Tan Gladiator Heels – Forever 21
This is a great way to take a fun-colored summer dress and turn it into an outfit that you can wear casually or even to work. Adding a solid color blazer to a flowy dress like Jenny’s can immediately turn it into a work outfit (just remove the fedora and wear closed-toe shoes or flats). In this case, you can always take a solid color dress and throw on a colored cardigan for a touch of color.
Navy/Pink Brushstrokes Dress – Forever 21, Navy Blazer – TJ Maxx, Fedora Hat – Burlington Coat Factory, Chocolate Sling Purse – London, Gray Strap Heels – Spain
I know that what I’m wearing might be a bit too much for some girls but my point in showing you this is, that it’s okay to combine different colors together. The next months are made for mixing brightly colored pieces. Be a little bold and throw in some blue with you green, or purple with your reds – you might be pleasantly surprised at how refreshing and fun your outfit looks.
Yellow/Orange Floral Scarf – Burlington Coat Factory, Royal Blue Top – Banana Republic Outlet, Orange Skirt – Forever 21, Tan Chain-Link Belt – Primark – London
If you’re uncomfortable with mixing two bright colors together, you can always take a colored skirt, solid color black or gray top and add a belt or scarf. Another suggestion – wear an all black outfit and put on a colored scarf or belt – this breaks up the mundane look of the ensemble.
Everyone wears black to work so I got Jenny to wear a work-ready outfit. I mentioned before, that you can add a bit of color with just a cardigan and I did so with a burnt-orange sweater. I added suede/patent heels (even closed-toe black pumps would work) and some bangles to finish off her look.
Burnt Orange Rouched Sweater – Forever 21, Creme Top – NY & Co, Black Satin Floral Skirt – Forever 21, Gold/Black/Leopard Bangle Set – H&M, Black Patent/Nude Suede Heels – TJ Maxx
You want to learn how to play off of colors in an accessory (just like I did with the belt in Jenny’s yellow outfit). Here my inspiration is the feather on my fedora – its red and black with white specs. An outfit like this can be a bit tricky because you want to make sure that you don’t over-do it by adding too many things all at once; which is why I picked a solid color skirt, a subtle print top with a sling black purse and heels.
Black/Orange/White Polka-Dot Ruffle Shirt – Forever 21, Red Stretch Skirt – Forever 21, Black Floral Laser Cut Sling Bag – Charlotte Russe
If I wanted to go for an even more casual look I could have put on some nude flats. If you feel a bit overdone – take off one item (hat, jewelry, shoe, etc.) or replace a printed piece with a solid color piece. I could have worn a plain black tee here instead and the outfit still would have been cute.
Sometimes, color can be added by using just makeup – mainly eye shadows or lipstick. Here Jenny and I are both wearing long solid colored dresses in indigo and violet, but we’ve added red lipstick and she opted for silver-diamond earrings white I went a bit further and wore a gold statement necklace.
Either of these dresses would have worked with just a clutch and heels but it never hurts to go one step further by playing up your eyes and lips.
Indigo 3/4 Sleeve Dress – Marshall’s, Silver Earrings – Forever 21, Violet Rouched Dress – TJ Maxx, Gold Necklace – H
The next time you go shopping I want you to take a moment to look at what is in your hands – if you see that you’ve picked up nothing but black, gray, white or brown – STOP, drop those pieces and start over. Reach for the red belt instead of the brown one, go for a yellow clutch instead of the black one, buy a green top instead of the white one, or find a piece that mixes a few colors in it.
Learning to experiment with colors, finding inspiration in accessories and learning to play off of them will help you step out of your comfort zone. Fashion is all about taking risks and you never know what you’ll come up with if you don’t take a chance on something and try it out.
Green Blouse – Forever 21, Navy Ruffle Skirt – Forever 21, Leopard Print Clutch – TJ Maxx, Yellow Heels – TJ Maxx
Check out some more pictures from our colorful photo shoot below. I had such a blast doing this – thanks Jenny for all your help – you were awesome!