How to Wear Eye-searingly Bright Colors

6 years ago

Big, bold brights are on the docket for spring, and I'm guessing that scares the PANTS off some of you. And even if you don't care about trends and are, therefore, still in possession of your pants, I've got some tips for ways to wear fabulously bright shades without looking like a Rainbow Brite doll.


Yes, I love to wear intense, bright red right next to my face. It is my favorite color, after all. But in this outfit, I've paired it with a dark navy dress, which turns that blaring brightness down considerably. Utilize dark jewel tones, deep blues and navies, or really any deep shade to tamp down your brights.


Already Pretty outfit featuring Frye Veronica

Sure, that sweater is bold, but it's the brightest color in an outfit that is otherwise comprised entirely of neutrals: Brown, white, tan, and chestnut. Even the striped scarf is muted. It's got a touch of yellow to tie everything together, but also includes dusky mustard, more white, and a few shades of brown. Choose browns, grays, ivories, and other neutrals to create a mix that will calm down your brights.


This tunic features both neon pink and neon yellow. And it's still pretty wild, but the fact that both colors are broken up by a pattern makes them so much less jarring. Solid brights can be overwhelming, but a pattern that includes one or more extremely bold shades is generally easier on the eyes. Go for a bright-inclusive pattern that will break up those intense hues.


This pink dress is REALLY PINK. And although the zebra-print cardigan is itself quite bold, it's a print comprised of non-colors: Black and white. And those desaturated tones combined with the way the sweater frames my figure and the pink dress means that the intense color feels less intense. Frame your brights with non-bright colors and patterns to keep them tame and manageable.


Of course the simplest way to add some brightness to your life is to go for boldly-colored accessories. Belts, scarves, shoes, and jewelry in shocking shades feel less risky than pants, skirts, dresses, and blazers. And they are! If bright colors just feel overwhelming to you but you're interested in experimentation, try wrangling them in accessories.

Are you a fan of bright colors? Do you feel like some brights are easier to wear than others? If so, which ones? Do you use any of these techniques to make eye-searingly bright colors feel more wearable? Any others to suggest?



Sally McGraw writes daily style and body image blog Already Pretty, which provides tips and advice for women who want to look and feel fabulous every single day.

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