I think my love of colour comes from my childhood where my mother forced me into some crazy outfits – my favourite was a matching shirt and happy pant set in a variety of colours that were cool in the 80’s. I don’t think I have a photo of me as a child in black and I remember growing up thinking black was such a faux pas (at the time, only goths wore black).
Even as an adult, I am still not drawn to black. The only time I’ll wear black is to work and out of the 657,000 dresses I own (exaggerating, clearly) I own about four black dresses (truth) and only one of them gets a regular wear (to work).
For those who love the idea of wearing colour but don’t know where to start, keep reading! I love seeing people in colour and want to live in a world where everyone embraces the options out there and experiments with their style – after all, life’s too short so escape ordinary and be extraordinary.
Pinterest is your best friend:
My friends always wonder where I come up with outfit ideas. The answer? Pinterest! Introduced to Pinterest by a friend, I am totally addicted. I always refer to Pinterest for ideas – whether it’s style, beauty, recipes and party planning ideas, this website is like the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Start by following some popular Pinterest-ers and build from there. I highly recommend the following: Brooke Williams, Look Who’s Looking, Bea Herzberg, Caitlin Cawley and Pennyweight (Elise Joseph). (You can follow me at Nur-Irdah Halik)
Know your colour wheel:
Pretty simple when you think about it, but most people don’t realise it. There’s a reason why the colour wheel was invented and is referred to by designers of all trades. If you know your colours and what goes with what then you’re ready to go shopping!
Don’t stick to one colour:
We all have that favourite colour we wear day in, day out but have you ever considered trying new colours? You’d be surprised by what suits you and it might become your new favourite colour! My general rule of thumbs are:
Red: looks great on everyone, especially olive/dark skinned girls and blondes. Like a red lipstick, it’s about finding that right shade of red. And yes, even redheads can wear red! Go with the classic red dress (tight of course), or ease in with a red belt, red necklace or some red suede pumps. My favourite red combo is red, leopard and black!
Green: looks the best on brunettes. This is a slightly trickier shade as it also depends on your skin tone and the shade of green you choose. Dark skinned girls look good in all shades of green (even neon green) and most people can get away with emerald green, especially redheads. I love green skirts, they’re just so flirty and fun but if that’s too much, try a green bag or some green flats. Because green is such a strong colour, keep it simple and classy with neutral colours and avoid prints.
Blue: there are so many shades of blue out there! From pastel, sky and navy your options are limitless. I think blue shoes scream sophisticated, especially in royal or navy blue (think Carrie’s Manolos in the SATC movie). Kate Middleton’s engagement dress? Pure class. People with blue eyes should definitely try to incorporate blue into their outfits (in the same shade is a bonus), and brunettes and redheads need to own at least one navy outfit. When wearing blue I recommend going with neutrals (blue belt with tan wide leg pants, blue dress with black bag) BUT don’t be afraid to break the rules! I’ve worn blue and green together before and have received compliments!
Purple: a beautiful colour that needs to be worn more often. I love purple shades, especially when they border on burgundy. If you have a killer purple dress, you don’t need much else – it’s such a statement that speaks for itself. Pair purple with nude, blue and if you’re really daring, red or yellow. Green also looks great with purple but don’t go overboard – you’ll look like a bunch of grapes! While everyone can get away with purple I really recommend purple for brunettes – it will just make you shine.
Pink: you either love it or hate it but every girl owns at least one pink item in their wardrobe. Anyone can wear pink – I’ve yet to meet a person it looks terrible on, even men can wear pink! To be cliched, blondes do look the best in pink and redheads should stick to soft shades. So how to wear it without being mistaken for Barbie? Don’t overdo it. If you want to slowly introduce pink then start with a soft, pastel shade (but not nude). Try a flowy top tucked into a black skirt or pants, some cute pink pointy-toe heels or a pink scarf. Do avoid light/pastel pink and nude together, it’s so blah. If you’re not afraid of loud colours then go straight to fuschia pink! Worn correctly it screams ladylike elegance – wear it to work with black pants and a black or white blazer (try a sleeveless, pussybow top) or be braver and wear a fitting pink dress. Pare bright pink down with nude or grey to keep it simple. I love pink and blue together (pink dress and blue handbag or vice versa) and pink and orange is just the best combination for lifting yours, and others spirits!
Yellow: only the brave wear this colour and I applaud them! Yellow doesn’t mean bright yellow, you can also get away with mustard which is a colour that’s been trendy for a few seasons. However you shouldn’t turn your nose at bright yellow, when you find the right yellow piece the world just falls into place. Bright yellow should really only be worn by people with tan/olive/dark skin – if you have pale skin, steer clear. Pair bright yellow with bright pink; or for a toned-down version always go with nude. On the flipside, anyone can wear mustard yellow and thanks to it being in fashion, you can find a lot of things in mustard. An item I think that will be hot is a mustard, suede A-line skirt so if you can find one, buy it! Team with a chambray top and colourful flats and you’ll make fashionistas green (or mustard?) with envy.
Orange: a tricky colour to incorporate, even for the most seasoned fashionista. Orange is coming back into fashion so you’ll see a lot of it around. Like purple and pink, wearing head to toe orange is for the brave so if you’ve got the confidence, please do it! Suitable for all skin tones but redheads should avoid at all costs (again, if you’ve got the confidence then go for it). I think blondes look great in all shades of orange and brunettes and olive/dark skin girls should stick to darker/brighter shades of orange. Pastel oranges do look good, but you’ll look simply amazing in darker/brighter shades. Carry off orange with orange suede flats (a personal favourite), orange crossbody bag, or even an orange belt (with navy blue pants/skirt/dress is on point). Orange looks fabulous with pink, red, blue and purple – avoid green as it’s far too citrusy and kitsch.
If in doubt, just do it!
Let’s be honest – unless you’re Miroslava Duma, Olivia Palermo or Blake Lively no one is really going to care about or criticise your outfit. You wear what you wear for yourself, not anyone else, so if you want to wear orange and green together, do it! If you want to wear pink, orange, yellow and purple together, do it! Green and yellow? Hell yes! No one expects you to be a walking talking style-opedia and they especially don’t expect you to look flawless everyday. If you make a sartorial faux pas, it’s ok – it’s likely no one will remember it the next day. But get it right? People will rave about it for days!
As all the iconic designers and stylists tell you – style is about expression of self and is not dictated by whether your co-worker thinks you look inappropriate. So be confident in what you wear and no one will dare question your outfit! (and if they do, simply flick your hair and sashay past because dah-ling, fashion fades but style is eternal).
Some great shopping sites to get you started:
- ASOS: www.asos.com
- Shopbop: www.shopbop.com
- The Outnet: www.theoutnet.com
- My Habit: www.myhabit.com
- Urban Outfitters: www.urbanoutfitters.com