Color Play

Something’s happened. It’s like a switch has been flipped in my brain; after years of gravitating toward a palette of serene neutrals, lately I’m finding myself absolutely craving color. I’m experiencing this as almost a physical sensation like thirst, and find myself drinking in colors in shop windows, gardens, or anywhere a bright hue draws my eye. Color fires my Happy neurons.

And it’s not the usual earth tones I’m now most drawn to, but brighter, clearer, candy-store colors. While I still can’t do head-to-toe color or color blocking, I’ve been having fun experimenting with mixing hues. One subdued and one bright, with some neutrals to ground the ensemble feels very visible and scratches that color itch, but isn’t overwhelming.

J.Crew is ringing my color chimes these days. While many of their selections are a bit too neon bright for me, there are some that look very wearable. Cardigans can be a relatively low-committment way to incorporate some color into a neutral core wardrobe.

J.Crew Cashmere Boyfriend Cardigan
J.Crew Jackie Cardigan
(Love this green – great for redheads!)

More options:

I’ve found colored pants surprisingly easy to wear and build outfits around. The NYDJ Sheri Skinnies are a favorite. (I’m wearing “Aubergine” in the top picture.) And pants are a great way to incorporate a color you’d otherwise love but prefer to wear away from your face.

NYDJ Sheri Coated Skinny
NYDJ Marilyn Sueded Denim Jeans (Plus)
J.Crew Matchstick velvet jean
Gap cords

If you’re wanting to shake up your neutrals a bit but aren’t ready to take a technicolor plunge with main wardrobe pieces, or if you’re looking for some bright and colorful gift ideas, accessories are the way to go. Scarves are my favorite way to brighten up a neutral palette, as well as providing warmth during cooler months.

L’affaire cashmere – Red Roses On Snow Wool Stole
Red Ombre Cashmere Silk Stole
J.Crew Cashmere Snood
(I always thought a “snood” was something you wear on your hair;
this is a new definition for me.)
Gap Bright Plaid Scarf
Hermés Vintage Paris Proues
Bags are another great option to add bold colors in small doses. A red bag is always classic…

kate spade new york Shoulder Bag

As is blue…

Marc Jacobs Quilted Shoulder Bag

But it’s the secondary (green, purple, orange) brights that are my favorites.

kate spade “mansfield” satchel

J.Crew “Biennial” Satchel

Or what about some bright bangles?

Alexis Bittar “Dust” small hinged bracelets
kate spade “Locked In” bracelets

How do you feel about wearing color?  Do you stick to small doses or go all in?

Linking up with Patti’s Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style.

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  1. Like Lynne said, this post is heavenly to behold! I am also dabbling with more color, and just adore the JCrew cardigans you’re showing, as well as the green satchel and the velvet jeans (I think those would be perfection for the holidays). Thanks so much for sharing these beauties with Visible Monday.

  2. I am usually a non-color person. However, for the first time I wore emerald green this past Friday…an emerald green Equipment blouse with a snake print on it! It made up for lost time 🙂 I don’t know what got into me…emerald green AND snake print?

  3. Your figure looks fab. How to say this? There are many witty, colourful pieces and everything fits you, but it’s like a come-as-you-are party; the pieces do not support one another. The scarf clashes with the pants, or it might be the colour on my monitor? Colour is wonderful (even though I wear it sparingly) but this is too much mash up for my eye.

    1. Duchesse, thanks. I actually like the slight clash of the coral red with the aubergine, but agree that there are probably too many focal points at work here.

  4. I adore colour, whilst I do wear neutrals I do always try to inject a bit of colour where possible, even if it’s just a bright red lipstick. Purple’s my favourite colour, I could happily surround myself in it.

  5. It must be the short days and your whereabouts.
    Though our days are short too and the nature is quite colorless, I could not think of wearing anything bright.
    Gee, someone might spot me, and I´m not ready for that.
    Please enjoy the colors you have found!

  6. Me too. I’m looking for some nice V neck light weight sweaters in a variety of color choices. Suggestions?

  7. I love it that you are gravitating towards color…balance is the key for all of us. I have bought great fitting, colorful V Neck sweaters and shirts at Kohls…the Dana Buchman line fits beautifully and is affordable! Have a great week!

  8. Love the stripes with the leopard booties, great pattern mixing. No real color here either, or whatever there is, is grayed down. You look terrific and full of confidence.

  9. I love the quest for colour, the best advise I received this year was to brighten up my colourscheme, and ever since then, my casual wardrobe has been revived and is received with compliments. Like to hear that when you’re over 40! Wearing brights is like experiencing fashion nirvana!The print on print also just seems to work so well!
    Nice post, and very inspiring!

  10. I love color and usually add it in the form of a layering t-shirt or a cardigan.

    I used to wear all sorts of bright colors all the time (my skin tone and the climate allows for this), but lately I’ve been toning it down, and I’ve been feeling more of a need to ground my colors with neutrals.

  11. Color.
    This is a fashion hot button issue for me. I like my black contrasted with white. I feel that it suits me and I’m comfortable in it. I feel myself. I like clear, clean color when I use it. The colors that you show in your examples. These colors arent’ always around so I will purchase a few items in these colors to be used in the future. When anything trends, I retreat. Color is trending just now and it makes me oppositional. Just the way I am. Friends encourage me to wear more color but, like lipstick, I feel clownish. Small bursts of color when not expected are my preference.

  12. What an eye-pleasing post! I noticed immediately that you were wearing slim pants and a well-tailored jacket – so glad you’re spotlighting your terrific figure. I love wearin colored skinnies, and bright scarves, too.

  13. I have the same Sheri skinny jeans. They are my favorite and fit better than any others. I love color even though I really haven’t shown it recently, I have been wearing a lot. I adore your outfit. The scarf is gorgeous. The green colors you showed would look fabulous on you. Even your phone case is colorful!

  14. So interesting to see you move back to this after watching you show your ability to play convincingly with the supposedly more sophisticated neutrals. I love the play you express here, more of the eclecticism I associate with what I know of you. Fascinating to feel the pendulum’s swing become more defined, beginning to settle. . . reassuring also, though, to know that it doesn’t stop . . . we can still shake it up a bit.

  15. Black with a touch of white or beige was my entire wardrobe for about two decades. I finally grew tired of the Italian-widow look and tested the water adding a sapphire blue top a couple years ago. Now I walk into my closet and am greeted with a rainbow and I love it.

  16. I’m so glad to see this is working well for you (you do look great!) as it’s a great time of year for a little mood boost! I’m coming off a color spree that I regret just a little … pretty to look at but not on me. I’m compromising with at least a little color amid mixed neutrals. You just carry off the brights so comfortably!

  17. Interestingly, I went the opposite direction. Used to have lots of color and pattern in my wardrobe, and I began to feel everything was simply too much. The colors have been weeded out , save for a few favorite pieces and colorful and patterned shoes. I feel more calm and less frazzled getting dressed, but I am sure I’ll weave color back in with the greys, navy’s, black and white eventually. I admire folks who can wear color and pattern with aplomb. I am not one of them right now.

  18. We’re clearly on the same wave length–recently I’ve gone crazy for purple and mulberry shades, and am now sporting so many pops of color (purse, scarf, fingerless gloves) that I’m starting to worry that I look like Moby Grape!

    I’m also with you on colorful corduroys. I loved cords in the 70s but got tired of the way they’d shrink in the wash and bag after I’d worn them for a while. A touch of spandex appears to have taken care of both problems. I bought a pair of mulberry colored cords at Banana Republic that I adore, and I’m now eagerly awaiting the arrival of two more pairs.

  19. Pops of color around my face and soft colored tops mixed with my usual neutrals are a staple for me. The color brightens my naturally pale complexion. And I think that as I get older, the addition on color is youthful, not to mention that it brightens my spirits.

  20. I’m loving color more now than ever too! There are so many fun, vibrant and cheery colors to choose from these days….the possibilities are endless.
    You look fantastic in your stripes and floral print. It’s my favorite pattern-mixing look.

  21. I’ve been feeling the same way lately, after always wearing grays and blacks. I’ve gone crazy with cobalt, which I hope I won’t regret next year when it screams “2012!” I am just really attracted to it for some reason. Usually the colors that are trendy, or any colors at all, don’t appeal to me. Maybe it’s getting older? Who knows, but it’s definitely happening.

  22. I stay with neutrals toooooo comfortably especially in the winter. Pops of color here and there is about the best I’ve been able to pop out so far! You do give many options and when my shopping ban is over I’ll take a look at those colored jeans.
    I remember a few post back you wrote about wearing big clothes to hide under. Good golly! You don’t need to hide anything. You look great!

  23. I agree with Duchesse – some nice colors, but the pieces seem too random.

    BTW, I love the orangy-red lipsticks on you, I’m inspired to use my red lipsticks more often. My lipstick seems to come off after a short time, but I haven’t found an extended-wear lipstick in the right color, they’re all too blue. So, I guess I’ll have to get used to really frequent re-application.

  24. The exact same thing is happening to me. After years of nothing but black and navy, suddenly I’m mixing and playing with colors.

    Is it in the California water?