How to wear colour: know your neutrals

Helen Venables of House of Colour shares her advice for dressing in colour this spring.

Women in pink suit

Investment in core pieces

It is always sensible to ground most of your core investment pieces (suit, skirt, trousers, jacket) in a darker neutral and add your best colours for impact through your tops, jewellery, bags, lipstick, shoes or other accessories.

Neutrals are a wonderful foundation for work but colour is likely to make you more memorable than if you were in just black and white. Psychologists reckon you are up to 10 percent more memorable if you pick a colour, even in its neutral tone.

colour fabrics

Know your palette

If you’re a winter palette, consider silver, charcoal, indigo, navy, mole and stone. They are a simple but a fun variation to the typical black, white and grey.

If you’re a summer colour theme, pink beige, mushroom, rose brown, winter white, french navy, dark blue grey, light blue grey, airforce blue and burgundy. Burgundy also works wonders as a bold lipstick or can be blended into a smoky-eye for a change to typically bare-faced, work make-up look.

For those with an autumnal palette, pick dark brown, tan, oyster, coffee, camel, beige, khaki, lizard grey, dark olive, bronze and a marine navy – particularly for accessories like shoes, belts and coats. This will add diversity to a classic work wardrobe and help to make you stand out and increase your confidence at work.

Spring colour themes can be made neutral with choices like chocolate, beige, dove grey, light dove grey, bright navy, oxford blue, tan, honey, oatmeal and cream. Blues work well as flattering skirts or trousers and creams look lovely on top as a blouse, jumper or cardigan.

Pink scarve

Mix it up

Don’t be afraid to mix in current colour and fabric trends with traditional business wear as long as they fit within your style.  It’s all about adding your own twist to your outfit. Be confident and comfortable and be visible for all the right reasons.

When you want to add colour and make your outfit more memorable, a bright scarf or tie can add a pop of colour to a predominantly neutral outfit.  

A great way to inject colour and add impact is to wear your neutral seasonal colours but carry a statement colour tote handbag or bag.  See what reaction you get.

At work, perhaps wear a bold colour or pattern in just one item of your outfit. For example, without being over-the-top or flashy, you could pair a red dress with a neutral cardigan, tights and shoes.

Visit House of Colour for further advice on your colours 

Last modified: June 10, 2021

Written by 3:09 pm Fashion, Fashion & Beauty