How to add color to a neutral wardrobe

We’ve all been there.. Staring at our wardrobe unsure of what to wear for the day. Only to realize it’s another day of sporting head to toe neutrals; in my case mainly black.

When this happens several days in a row I start to wonder if I’m playing it safe. One way I like to spice up my look without much effort it by injecting color. This is a quick way for me to instantly feel more stylish and create an element of surprise to my outfit. 

That being said, here is a guide to adding color to a neutral wardrobe

Accessories (hats, bags, scarf, shoes, watch)

This is probably the most obvious, but really is one of my favorite ways to add color. 

When I was visiting NYC in September I noticed one thing above all else. Colorful accessories. The memory that stands out the most is of a woman wearing a mustard-colored scarf wrapped effortlessly around her neck. 

My initial response to her outfit was that it’s striking, and when I did a quick analysis I realized she paired this colorful scarf with a basic white t-shirt and blue jeans. Until that point, I had underestimated the impact a simple accessory can have in transforming the way we look and feel.

This magical lesson doesn’t stop with scarves.. It can also be added through your shoes. I personally think a red shoe is timeless and surprisingly pairs well with everything.

Handbags, hats, and watches should also be included here. While neutral handbags are the unspoken workhorse of most wardrobes; adding a colorful option to your collection will effortlessly add style to any look. If you pair said handbag with a matching watch then you’ll be approaching style icon status.

Statement Outerwear

A few years ago I came across a stunning red coat. I was not in the market for a red coat at the time, but it was too beautiful for me to walk away. 

This coat taught me a few unexpected lessons... Even though the coat was formal I could still style it with just about everything I owned, the color complimented my skin tone and it captured major interest at formal events where most people instinctually wear black outerwear. 

Overall I believe a statement coat in a gorgeous color will be an enormous asset to all neutral wardrobes. 

Lipstick

Experimenting with color through makeup has transformative power. Bold lip color can take your look from day to night, from casual to dressy, from last-minute to well thought out in a matter of seconds. In my opinion, it’s this practicality that has made the exploration of lip color a style go-to for many icons.

The first icon that comes to mind is Linda Rodin. She built her career by experimenting with makeup, even creating her own, and it’s no surprise her signature look celebrates all she’s learned. Her aesthetic is bold and modern, and her brilliant use of color is the embodiment of brave simplicity. 

Add a beautiful lip color the next time you find yourself wearing all neutrals and I guarantee you will notice the difference.

Monochrome Outfit

Now I’d like to challenge you a bit. I want you to imagine yourself dressed head to toe in one color. Dramatic I know, but I will explain my reasoning in a moment. 

Also, If you need a few ideas to spark the imagination, read this article on how to build a monochromatic outfit here. 

A few seasons ago I decided to create an outfit that was just that… head to toe one color. (for me back or white didn’t count) 

To do this I had to commit to one color and find the necessary compositions to create the look. This exercise was actually enjoyable because it gave me the opportunity to explore options I never considered before.

I also had to make sure all the pieces I selected worked well together because I was looking to create one cohesive outfit. 

Alright, I’m sure you understand why I decided to do this and how it has helped me.

I created this monochromatic outfit with the mindset that all pieces would be worn together BUT the bigger concept is that the outfit could be broken up so each piece could work separately with the rest of my neutral wardrobe.

This gave me endless options to incorporate color, coordinate accessories, or add a single pop of color for dramatic effect. I knew each piece would look great styled together and work harmoniously when styled with neutrals.

This alone has influenced the way I not only view color but how I incorporate color into my wardrobe.



Conclusion

In the end, wearing all black is probably still my outfit of choice, but I don’t think I have to be limited to this color alone. Adding color to my wardrobe has been an enjoyable and effortless way to add visual interest to my outfits. I also think this is a highly efficient way to take your personal style to the next level.


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