Tuesday, February 14, 2012

How to Wear Color in Winter

{by Rachel Coker}

As the days grow colder and drearier, I’ve noticed a significant decline of color in the streets. Women all over are shoving their sunny and bright cotton dresses in the back of the closet and bundling up in shades of brown, black, and gray. Jeans and black sweaters have become the norm of the season, accented by a pop of gray here and there. It’s all about camouflaging—trying to survive the bleakness of winter until spring brings about the revival of color and happiness.

Well, I say no longer! Winter is dreary enough without everyone herding around in uniform shades of neutrals. With the change of temperature, women should be reaching into their closets for bright colors to cheery even the ugliest day. Imagine what a wonderful sight it would be to walk onto a city street in the middle of January and see swarms of pinks, yellows, and greens, instead of the usual black!

This winter, add some cheer to both your day and that of everyone who sees you. Bring back color, and bring back smiles to everyone’s faces. With a bit of strategically placed brightness, you’ll be looking fresh and happy all winter long!

So here are some tips to adding color to your winter wardrobe:

1) Add a Well-Placed Pop of Color
-        If you’ve invested in a beautiful neutral coat, but really feel like your winter outfit of greys and blacks could use some spice, try adding a pop of a vibrant color. Accessories like bags, shoes, and scarfs are easy ways to incorporate color into an otherwise boring outfit. Try picking one of your favorite colors, like sea-green, lemon, or fuschia, and mix it into your outfits. Try a little yellow beret, and add a matching bag. A scarf in a yellow and green pattern would add even more color and liveliness to your outfit. Think outside the box!

2) Add Tights
-        Your favorite colorful dresses don’t have to hibernate inside your wardrobe just because it’s thirty degrees outside. One thing I love to do is get my favorite sundresses out and pair them with simple black or grey tights and matching heels. Add a little jacket or cardigan and you instantly have an outfit that’s colorful and practical. And a colorful dress with heels is ten times more fun to wear than jeans and a sweatshirt!

3) Buy a Red Dress
-        If you feel like a silly goose walking around in a sunny yellow dress in the middle of winter, but still want to add some color to your wardrobe, consider investing in a red dress. Winter is definitely the season for red. Holiday parties, Valentine’s day…. The opportunities are endless! Add red lipstick if you really want to make a punch!

4) Anchor Color With Black
-        One of my absolute favorite skirts of the moment is a vintage lilac colored silk skirt, and one that I thought I wouldn’t have an opportunity to wear until the spring. Boy, was I wrong! Once I got home with my thrifty purchase, I found out right away that my purple skirt was the perfect piece to pair with black staples! I instantly came up with several different outfits, perfect for the chilly weather, that involved my new skirt. The soft lilac color looked terrific paired with black cardigans, black and white striped sweaters, and even my vintage black concert tee. Add some black tights and ballet flats and I had a great outfit with just the right amount of color!

5) Try Rich Fabrics
-        I first stumbled this photo of Emma Roberts in an issue of Teen Vogue I read on an airplane years ago. I immediately fell in love with the rich cranberry jacket, perfect for pairing over simple neutrals. I searched for a look-a-like everywhere for years (there was no way I was affording the real thing!) and finally found a spot-on copy in a vintage shop near my house. The burgundy velvet blazer was just the thing my winter wardrobe needed. Perfect for those days when I needed a little something special to do with a black dress or other neutral outfit. The reason why rich fabrics like velvets or wools work so well with bright colors is because they tone down vibrancy and increase richness. Even the most color-shy dresser in the world can find a way to wear a burgundy velvet blazer. Same goes for a sapphire pair of velvet pumps. Or a plum colored tweet jacket. Fabrics that are rich in texture are great backdrops for color in any wardrobe.

6) Colorblock
-        This is by far the boldest look in this collection, but if you’re brave enough, take a cue from this stylish lady and color block your wardrobe this winter. The key to color blocking is moderation. Take two pieces of similar color and mix together. No prints, no embellishments. Just a pink skirt with a red blouse. Or an emerald green dress with a blue sweater. Keep it very chic and tailored so you look put-together, not clownish. Pairing the whole look with something simple, like a pair of nude pumps, tones it down and makes it wearable for everyday life. Colorblocking is something I’ve been trying out this winter and have really been loving! It takes a lot of courage to add that much color to one outfit, but if you do it right you’ll be hearing how great you look all day long!

Well, that’s it, ladies. The abbreviated guide to looking fabulous and colorful all winter long. So put away your greige-ish basics for the next few weeks and try some of these tips instead. Remember, wearing color not only makes you look good, it makes you feel good, too!

~ Rachel


  1. Beautiful post, Rachel Coker! I loved all the tips. I think you (or someone on here) should do a post on where you get your clothes. I have a hard time finding lovely pieces like the ones in these pictures. Any advice?

    1. Thank you! These photos are not actually of me, but they are very similar to the way I really do dress. I buy a lot of my clothes on websites like www.asos.com or at stores like J. Crew. If you shop the sale section, you will find so many pretty, designer-like things at great prices! I also buy a lot of lovely things off Ebay and Etsy, believe it or not!

    2. Oh yes, you are the Ebay girl! Hehe. I have not heard of asos.com though, so I will look that up! Thank you!

  2. You have fantastic style.

    1. Thanks! These photos aren't actually of me, but they are representative of the way I normally dress (very colorful and put-together), so I guess I can still take that as a compliment. ;)

  3. I could NEVER wear pink with red, personally. It's a pet peeve. ;P

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