I get quite a lot of comments about the bright colours that I wear, and from what you say I know that many of you would like to know how to introduce colour to your wardrobe. I tend to forget that the days of wearing head-to-toe black (with a touch of navy or grey) are not behind us, and some women find it hard to break out of the black rut. The choice of styles and colours available to us these days is huge, but finding where to start and change the habit of a lifetime can be hard.
How I broke out of my black rut
About 10-12 years ago I made a decision to stop wearing and buying so much black. I always wanted to be the sort of person who was known for wearing a lot of bright colour (okay, okay - I wanted to be noticed), so I simply started to introduce the odd bold, bright item to my wardrobe. It wasn't so much of a shock for me nor my family and friends to introduce colour gradually, and it was easy to get used to it. Now I wouldn't dream of wearing all black (except maybe for formal evening wear, I do love LBDs), and I feel so much better - and somehow happier - for it.
So I thought I'd share a few tips of how to wean yourself off the black and get some colour into your life using examples of some of my more neutral outfits that feature a pop of colour (or two)!
1. Introduce colour with bright scarves.
Scarves are the quickest and cheapest way to get a bright pop of colour into your outfit. Both these outfits are smart/casual and are made up of black, grey, olive and denim (all neutrals), but having a coloured scarf at your neck will brighten your face. The one on the left was a magazine freebie(!) which I twisted and knotted, and the one on the right is actually two snoods wound round together. There's no need to stop at just one - make them even brighter by styling two together or adding a sparkly brooch... or do both, as below:
Try one of these scarves to get you started with some bright colour:
2. Replace your everyday black bag with some bold, bright arm candy.
Most of us girls love ourselves a great handbag, so there's no need to use a black one as your everyday, go-to bag. Buy one in a super bright colour - if you're wearing mostly black and neutrals then really it should go with everything. I rarely "match" my bag to my outfit - I usually use it as an excuse to add yet another colour as I did pairing a magenta bag with my (fairly safe) sweater and jeans outfit, as right. But I might use a particular bag to pick out the colour of a pattern, as with the patterned dress on the left. Having several colours in a print means you have more chance that your bright bag will match at least one of them.
And just to prove that a super-bright, mustard yellow bag will go with (almost) everything, here's a selection of outfits where I threw in the yellow bag for an extra oomph of colour. I've either picked out yellow from the prints I'm wearing, added another accessory in yellow to tie it in, or thrown caution to the wind and added the extra colour - matching nothing!
Try these bag brights to complement your neutrals:
3. Wear a pair of brightly coloured shoes.
This is a great trick for a bad hair day or when you're feeling off colour: wear bright shoes and all the attention will be on them, not your face (and they'll cheer you up, too). Never before has there been so much choice of shoe colours; I can remember in my twenties having a hard time trying to find shoes that weren't black. Both the outfits above were head-to-toe neutral, but they deserved a bold shoe.
All the coloured shoes and boots you could want are right here, including wellies! Why buy black?
4. Invest in coloured denim.
Jeans are a staple in most of our wardrobes, so if you want to introduce colour to your everyday outfits there's no better way than to wear coloured denim. I've been building up my collection over the past few years, and now have them in red, blue, olive, purple, white, neon yellow, lemon yellow, teal...! Start with a more muted colour like deep red or teal in a great fit and you should eventually come to think of them as a neutral because they're just jeans, aren't they?
Want to see some fabulous coloured jeans?
Getting colour into your wardrobe is all about slowly bringing in one or two coloured pieces that complement your neutrals. Try one or more of these ideas and you should be able to gradually get yourself on the road to brightly coloured sartorial happiness ;)
Let me know if you find it hard to get yourself off black and navy - and if you're willing to try these tips, I'd love to know if they help!