Katie Abson presents tips and tricks to help build your colour confidence this spring.
As vibrant and beautiful as it is, colour can be intimidating.
If you’re anything like me, colour can be a scary thing to reach for when you’re used to neutrals, blacks, and greys, formally worn to death this past winter. Neutrals can be a real comfort, especially when you know you feel relaxed and confident in your current colour pallet – and there’s nothing wrong with that!
But this spring, colour is all the rage and you might just be considering adding a splash of pastel, a block dye, or even neon here and there. Or, perhaps you are a rainbow-lover, but unsure of which colour clashes with the next and are wondering: how much colour is too much colour? (The answer is there is no such thing, by the way!)
However colour fits into your life, here are a few handy tips to know where to start.
START SMALL WITH ACCESSORIES
The key to slowly building up your colour confidence is to start small. It can feel a little harsh or awkward to go straight into something you’re not ready for, even with clothes. Building your wardrobe up step-by-step will help settle your nerves so you can continue with self-assurance.
Accessories are a great way to do this. Add a touch of colour to your outfit with a bright handbag, a pair of earrings, a watch, a hat, or even some colourful socks. If you can match all of your accessories together, you can create an original look without discarding your most beloved outfits.
BUILD ONE BY ONE
Start with a colour you feel comfortable in. Whether that be a favourite pair of black jeans, or a cherished beige jumper, pick an item you know you feel good in. You can then add a splash of colour with the contrasting top or bottom half. For example, slip on a pastel purple camisole with your black jeans, or a pair of bright green corduroy trousers with your favourite white blouse. That way, you can experiment with an unfamiliar colour without feeling completely out of your comfort zone.
There is no denying that a monochromatic outfit is a statement piece – and super easy to put together. If you find you have a lot of the same colour in your wardrobe, why not throw them all together to create a cohesive, put-together look? Mix different shades and textures to distinguish one piece from the other, such as a ribbed turtle neck or a velvet jacket over denim jeans.
A look that is sure to catch the eye is the formidable power suit. This combination, whether to walk down the street or to state your case in the boardroom, never fails to assert power and poise. Choose a powder blue power suit and pair it over the top of a white t-shirt, a blue bodysuit in a shade lighter, or simply nothing at all. Some of the most memorable power suits to have walked the red carpet require nothing underneath, the lapel of the jacket providing cover to obtain modesty, but cut low enough to embrace confidence in one’s sexuality. There is power in both coverage and nudity – the choice is yours!
If you struggle to find a top, trouser, jacket, shoes, and accessories all in one colour, there are other ways to achieve a monochromatic look. Jumpsuits are one of the easiest pieces of clothing to throw on and it achieves an all-in-one look instantly. All you need to think about is shoes – and if you don’t have them in a matching colour, pair the jumpsuit with white or black pumps, trainers or boots so the colour of the jumpsuit stands out.
THE COLOUR WHEEL
It is easy to assume we can all pair colours together with just one look at our wardrobes – but that’s just not true. It’s harder than it looks. However, there is a handy tool you can use when you’re unsure which colour goes with what: the colour wheel.
A colour wheel is used to determine the relationship between different shades. It was first developed by Sir Isaac Newton
multiple times since, used by artists and fashion designers all over the world today.
Use the wheel as a primary guide to matching colours, building upon them as you gain confidence. One way to use the wheel is to pick out colour temperatures, as shown on each half of the colour wheel. ‘Cold’ temperatures consist of blues and greens, colours associated with overcast light. Whereas ‘warm’ colours emanate sunset hues, such as reds, oranges and yellows. Start with a colour you feel comfortable with and select a shade to either side of the colour wheel to create an analogous look within the same colour temperature.
If you’re looking to go bold, select complementary colours on opposite sides of the colour wheel. For example, pair violet trousers with a yellow top, or a forest green skirt with a burgundy jumper. By selecting complementary colours, each shade stands out on its own, achieving an exciting, comprehensive look.
WHERE TO FIND ALL THESE GREAT COLOURS
Colours are everywhere if you know where to look. Right now, stores are bursting with vibrant hues, soft pastels, jazzy patterns and much more. Zara has a rainbow of colours in-store and online currently, featuring bright green wide-leg trousers, tinted blue and yellow satin dresses, and cut-out knit crop tops.
Asos also has a versatile selection of colours online, with an option to explore their Asos Design Must-Haves, featuring a tiger print jumpsuit, a lime green one shoulder long sleeve top, a bright orange blazer and a soft green smock dress. Make sure to select the responsible edit for clothes that are sustainably or responsibly sourced.
To take a more sustainable route, charity shops across the UK are a wonderful place to search for your next spring purchase. Spend time rummaging through the aisles of your local charity shops, usually organised by size and category. Or, if you fancy a day out, head over to Brick Lane, home of London’s largest and most diverse vintage market. This treasure trove is loved by vintage buyers across the country; you are sure to find a variety of colours to suit every style and need there.
WHY STOP THERE?
Colour can be expressed through any aspect of your life – not just through clothes! Create bold and vibrant makeup looks to contrast a neutral outfit. Dye your hair your favourite colour and mix and match your outfits to suit the shade. I could go on!
There are many tips and tricks out there to help guide you through the rainbow, but an important thing to remember is – at the end of the day, there are no rules. Colour is a form of expression, something to enhance and show off your personality. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable and confident – and you really can’t go wrong.
If you enjoyed this article, you can follow more of Katie’s work on Twitter via @katieawriter.