It’s Time to Make Some Colorful Statements with Your Attire
By Kate Vishnyakov
When it comes to clothing for the professional woman, practicality wins over trendiness every time. With that said, regardless of profession and what you are able to wear for work, this season’s obsession with color can help brighten up your look.
If you’ve been flipping through magazines, watching news networks, or taking in a fashion show, you’ve seen that the big, bold, color is everywhere. Vibrant color palettes range from fuchsia pinks to sea foam greens, lemon yellow, citrus oranges, and deep Laguna blues — remember “the bolder the better” is the season’s mantra.
So one may wonder why local offices, banks, and law firms are full of the proverbial ‘women in black’? The endless uniform of un-color is on the streets, at coffee shops, meetings, and more. The safe, ubiquitous black is everywhere. In a day and age where blending in is not highly desired, the row of black jackets, dresses, and suits hanging in your closet are not helping you stand out.
Adding a splash (or even a smidge more) of color can help you stand out, while still having a professional, polished image.
A Crash Course in Color
Are you wondering what the secret is to successfully pulling off a bright look without looking like a fashion victim? One simple and easy step is to go bolder with a color similar to what you usually wear. For example move from black to navy. If you regularly wear navy or gray try cobalt blue and indigo. If most of your wardrobe is brown, take a look at coral. And last, but not least, trade in the power red for the very ‘in-season’ fuchsia pink.
Other suggestions include keeping the rest of your outfit neutral and accessories minimal. Use a light color shell or a blouse. And for shoes and bags, consider light brown, tan or camel color.
Go Bold, or Go Home
If wearing bold color head-to-toe is too big of a leap, keep bright colors close to your face and wear darker colors on a bottom. Color combinations that work well together include navy and green, coral and tan, golden yellow and gray. The safe proportion is 75% of one color to 25% of another in any outfit. Remember, you don’t need to be an extravert or attention seeker to wear color to stand out a bit.
Seek out jewel tones on your next shopping trip. Some call them “the grown-up way to wear color.” As Kelly Ayotte, U.S. Senator from New Hampshire says, “wear a pastel jacket and you might look too girly, wear a bold primary hue and it can be too brash. But opt for a rich, saturated jewel tone like amethyst/orchid shade, and it’s hard to go wrong.”
Another important key to wearing color is a fit. The slim silhouette is important when you wear bold colors or print. Straight, slim leg pant, preferably an ankle length, or a pencil skirt will go well with a longer jacket-and-pants look, or a shorter one-button jacket with a skirt. This rule will work for both petites and fuller women. Keep the volume on a top or on a bottom, but not both to avoid the kitschy look.
Dresses Mean Business
Meanwhile, have you noticed a plethora of brightly colored, arm-baring sheaths on many powerful women? From the likes of First Lady Michele Obama to ABC’s Dianne Sawyer, to the head of International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde, it is clear that dresses are ‘in’ at the office.
Stylist and blogger Susan Wagner of WorkingCloset.com says, “black dresses are usually too ‘date night’ for the office, but in other colors, frocks are fabulous. Once you find the silhouette that works for you and your office’s atmosphere, you will love the ease of wearing a dress.”
Just remember keep the fabrics and formality consistent with your work environment and observe conservative to-the-knee hemline and classic fit.
What’s Top 10 Now
1. White Blazer
2. Pencil, full, A-line skirts
3. Day dresses in bold colors
4. Slim leg pant
5. Silk button-down
6. Large black and white mod-style looks
7. Candy-colored leather as a day jacket
8. Pointy-toe shoes
9. Neutral wedges
10. Bright tote bags
All good things in fashion recycle themselves. More or less, everything is “in.” Sparkling dresses from the Art Deco ’20s, mid-calve lengths from the ’30s, the ’40s’ chunky heels, full skirts of the ’50s, the ’60s’ mod dresses, ’70s’ hippy chic, ’80s’ suits, and ’90s’ grunge.
Each day you can live your decade of choice and wear what pleases you the most. There are endless ways to add color and style to your life this season. Please do it. Let’s make the world a more beautiful place… one woman in a time. Here’s to a season filled with beauty, growth and fresh possibilities.
Kate Vishnyakov is owner of Kate Gray in East Longmeadow; (413) 525-2895.