Choosing (and Using) Your Neutrals

 

In the past year or so I’ve been drawn to neutrals when I’m browsing through the clothing racks or rummaging through my closet suitcase. Don’t get me wrong, I love color, and I wear a ton of teal and purple, but major clothing items like pants, skirts, basic tops, coats and outerwear, and shoes… I’m going neutral.  I just can’t get over how cool it feels to wear all black, or all grey, or even a purple dress with flesh toned heels and matching belts and purse.

There are some great ways to mix colors and patterns, but for me, nothing feels more pulled together than going almost monochromatic, and it’s easiest to do that with neutral colors.

I think a lot of people think neutral colors = boring.  And I think a lot of people think neutral colors are limited to black and brown.  But I disagree.  For me, neutral includes, black and brown, yes, but also white, cream, beige/fleshtone or nude (for me anyway), and of course the love of my life grey, but also navy and olive.  Maybe navy and olive aren’t strictly neutrals, but for me they fall in the same family. 

Here’s the thing about neutrals: they are supposed to be without color, but, other than plain old black and white, they’re not.  That beige could have a yellow tone to it, or it might feel more peachy.  Brown can look sort of orange, or it can go all they way to a deep purple.  What’s more important about neutrals, for me, is that they combine with other more saturated hues easily.  So navy and olive work because I can wear my olive cropped blazer with my plum colored frock but also my tangerine halter top, and my navy cardigan goes nicely with an aqua tank but also some forest green pants. (BTW, if you still don’t buy navy as a neutral, think about jeans and how your darkest denim is the most versatile… yeah, because it’s navy, right?)  I also find that neutrals mix well together, with different shades of the same neutral, but also with each other. Greys and navies.  Olives and blacks. Creams and Browns. Or blacks and tans like the photo above.

The exception is blacks and browns. I know I’m supposed to be liberated and that this is 2012, but it still takes me just the right situation to let myself mix black and brown.  But that is for another post…

Anyway, if you’re looking for something polished and pulled together, think about creating an outfit entirely of neutrals.  Maybe just one for a monochromatic look, or maybe mixing a few neutrals like navy, olive, and cream.  Or maybe you want to showcase color…. like your bold multi-colored scarf or your neon yellow shoes.  If pairing bold items like that with more color is initimidating, then layer it into a mostly neutral ensemble.

I have more to say about neutrals, but for now, I leave you with some of my favorite neutral inspiration for outfits:

Source: polyvore.com via Krista on Pinterest

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Source: mochacafe.net via Krista on Pinterest

Source: polyvore.com via Krista on Pinterest

 

What are your neutrals? 

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