‘The best colour in the world is the one that looks good on you’
– Coco Chanel.
Whenever I post about injecting colour into a wardrobe, I always get questions asking how, where to start, what colours would work, and how to feel confident in wearing something brighter. If you are used to wearing similar shades every day, the thought of adding in new colour can often feel daunting – but it doesn’t have to be!
Alongside block colour, prints can be just as fun to add into your wardrobe, but sometimes it can be difficult to know where to start, or what would suit you.
It doesn’t matter what season we are in, you can have confidence in introducing some colour into your style, whatever the weather! Below I have outlined some essential starting pieces for your wardrobe, followed by my tips and tricks for getting the most out of colourful pieces.
Some Simple Wardrobe Essentials
The key when adding colour into any wardrobe, is having some good, simple, staple essentials to build from. These are often in neutral, black or navy tones, and are the starting point for your outfit.
1. A good pair of Denim Jeans
I am not necessarily a regular blue denim wearer, but I know a lot of other people are, and I think having at least one good pair of blue denim jeans is essential for any wardrobe. These don’t have to be hugely expensive, but diving into denim is a whole different world, so exploring and finding your ‘go to’ is definitely a journey. Try on several different styles and washes, get comfortable with what is available and what you think suits your look.
If you are looking for a pair of jeans that aren’t blue denim, then Teddy Edwards is a great place to start, I’ve linked them here.
2.A pair of white jeans
I know, I know, I’ve mentioned them just a couple of times in CCL blogs, BUT these ARE an essential. These are also the easiest thing to pair any coloured items with. I wear these all year round, and in my opinion they are definitely not just for the S/S season, so don’t hastily pack them away at the end of the Summer months, they can still be just as versatile during colder months. They are also not as troublesome as you would think when it comes to practicality. Don’t forget – you could spill anything on any colour, so don’t let them being white put you off! Although after recently discussing white jeans over on social media, I have managed to ruin my Holland Cooper pair with a stain that won’t budge – so caution is always advised!!
With these, I just recommend trying them on – you don’t want to end up with a pair which are see-through, as this will just ensure you definitely don’t reach for them when picking out your outfit.
3.A simple skirt
I have a black cord and tan cord skirt which are both really easy to style with brighter colours. I also have an oatmeal colour tweed skirt. These types of skirt are just easy to reach for, knowing they will go with everything. A plain black skirt will pair with pretty much anything, as will any neutral colours, so finding a skirt like this to build from is a really great idea.
Don’t forget, skirts are not just for Summer, and neutral tones can be paired easily with coloured tights and chocolate boots for a more autumnal look (e.g burgundy tights), and a black skirt is perfect for wintery days paired with black tights and black boots. Adding a colourful top or jacket to these looks is a great way to introduce colour.
4.Plain roll neck jumpers
During A/W I live in plain roll neck jumpers. I tend to buy white, black, navy, khaki and burgundy as my base colours. These then pretty much become the foundation of all of my winter outfits.
I don’t tend to heavily invest in these pieces. Unless you are buying cashmere/merino wool, I have found quality to be much the same across brands, in my experience. Many of my everyday roll necks just come from high street brands, I then have a couple of ‘nicer’ jumpers for dressing up a bit more. I have a couple from Holland Cooper, the hardware on these is absolutely beautiful and really adds to the outfit, making it look so much more luxurious. In terms of quality, I have actually found them to be much the same as others you could pick up on the high street.
5.A white shirt
A white shirt will take you from day to night, work to weekend, you will be able to get so much use from one of these, so adding one to your wardrobe will definitely be worthwhile. Often, one just isn’t enough, I probably own about 8 in all slightly different styles, but in reality, you only need one good one. There are lots of different styles available, so you will be able to find a fit that suits your look. This piece will be so simple to pair with brightly coloured coats or trousers.
Similar to the roll necks, I tend to have a stash of bodysuits for the Summer in plain black, white and navy, to use as a starting point for my outfits. I generally just find bodysuits a little nicer to wear than normal tops, as you don’t tend to get the bunching, creasing or bulk that you get with normal tops.
If you aren’t a fan of bodysuits, finding normal tops in similar colours will be a great foundation for you.
7.A plain jacket
Again, I would tend to opt for a black, navy or a cream colour. These are amazing to pair over a bold outfit, or bright dress, which will be key during the A/W months, but will also help to tone down your bright outfit if you are wanting to keep it a little more subtle.
Which colours will work for you?
Establishing if you have a cool or warm skin tone is a good place to start. This can be done by looking at the underside of your arm in daylight. Blue tinted veins will indicate a cooler skin tone, whereas green tinted veins will indicate a warmer skin tone.
Generally, cooler skin tones will suit blues, purples and pinks, whereas warmers skin tones will suit warmer shades on the colour wheel, such as reds, oranges and yellows.
This is just a guide, and should in no way limit which colours you experiment with, but may be a helpful for those of you starting out.
C O L O U R – Footwear & Accessories
I’ve had to start here with accessories and footwear, because this is probably the easiest place to start injecting colour into your wardrobe. Starting small and building colour with your confidence will be the best way to introduce colour.
Starting with a neutral base, add bags, belts, scarves and jewellery in brighter colours. This can be a subtle way to increase the colour palette of your wardrobe, without jumping in too eagerly to start with. Hairbands are also a really fun way to add some colour, and these are right back in fashion now.
I have to admit, I can find brighter shoes harder to style, I am still on a colour learning curve, just as much as the next person. If you are wearing a neutral or monochrome outfit, a colour pop with a pair of shoes can be a great finish to an outfit. I am a big fan of a LWD (little white dress!) and a pair of bright shoes can really finish this off well. I have some raspberry coloured wedges which have been a go to for me this Summer, adding a little pop of colour to a more simple outfit.
You can find accessories in any colour, and if you are working off a neutral, black or navy outfit, you will pretty much be able to add any coloured accessories to finish off the outfit. Start by matching a belt with another accessory such as a bag or scarf, for an easy introduction.
C O L O U R – Dresses & Skirts
I love dresses, they are probably my most worn item, whether it is Summer or Winter. They are effortless and easy – which for me is just what I want from the pieces in my wardrobe. Choosing colourful dresses may feel quite a big step, it is a lot of colour in one item, and can be harder to create a more subtle outfit. However, you can have some of the most fun with dress styling, due to this very reason.
A good starting point for a block colour dress is going by those skin tone colours mentioned above. This will help ensure that a colour doesn’t wash you out. Also choosing the style will be important, a full length maxi dress will have a very different colour impact to a mini Summer dress. During the cooler/Winter months, you can pair with a plain, simple jacket to change up the outfit. This will also allow you to create a more subtle look if required.
I don’t have too many colourful skirts in my wardrobe, purely because I personally tend to wear more tweed skirts than any other type. However, if you like the idea of adding colour, but don’t quite feel brave enough for a dress yet, why not try a skirt. More subtle colours such as lighter pinks, and burgundy can be a great place to start, and you can team with neutral or blacks to tone down the outfit. Look out for coloured cords, suedes and tweeds – these have a great finish when in a bold colour.
C O L O U R – Trousers
OK I don’t want to call myself an expert here (joking, obviously), but this is one area that I am particularly experienced in. Coloured jeans are a huge love of mine, and if you could see my jeans draw, you would probably suggest I seek some help, because rainbow doesn’t even cover it.
I just obsess over coloured trousers. I think because I don’t wear much blue denim, I just tend to keep on reaching for different colours. Now you can have these as subtle or as bold as you like. I have everything from the palest pastels, to the brightest pink and green – so you can really choose a shade depending on how bold you are feeling.
A great place to start in my opinion is actually with yellow jeans. You can get some very pale yellows, which are an easy transition away from white jeans. Red is also very popular, and is good for styling all year round. Burgundy and wine shades are also great for those starting out, as these pair perfectly with a neutral wardrobe.
You can team coloured trousers with bright colours to create a real statement outfit, or you can pair with simpler blacks, navy and neutrals to ensure you have a more subtle look.
My advice – you can’t go wrong with a coloured pair of trousers, so take the leap and try a pair! Most of mine actually come from Next if you are looking for a shop to start at, these are really well priced and wash exceptionally well.
C O L O U R – Jackets & Tops
A block colour jacket can be a really simple way to increase colour in your wardrobe, and can create as much or as little of a statement. This means you can continue to wear your neutral/monochrome outfits and styles underneath, but add your colour choice over the top. I got a couple of the longer Joules jackets at the start of the year which were bolder in colour, and pair beautifully over more simple outfits (see below!). Shades of blue, pink and red can be an easy starting point.
A bright top or shirt will pair effortlessly with black or white jeans. For me, everything goes with white jeans, so if I want to wear a bright or print top, I will probably always reach for white jeans first. Out of all of the colour in my wardrobe, it is probably tops that I own in the least amount of colours, I will generally wear a neutral or monochrome top, and complete the rest of my outfit with colour. If you are wanting to add prints to your wardrobe, naturally a top would be a great place to start though!
Well, that’s you all set to go now!
I hope this blog has been useful, and insightful into how your can incorporate some colour into your wardrobe. I know it can often be difficult at first to start to introduce colour, especially if you are comfortable with a neutral or monochrome wardrobe, and this is generally what you stick to.
My best advice, be brave and give it a go, even if it is just an accessory to start with.
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There is a new blog coming every day this week. These will launch at 7pm every night, so stay tuned!
See you tomorrow!
Lots of Love, Lucinda xo
‘People will stare, make it worth their while’Harry Winston
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