How to wear autumn's most popular colour 

Photo: Rex Features

From blouses to boots, the shops are awash with red right now. And, says Stacey Duguid, it’s not just for Christmas parties. In fact, it’s a trend with longevity

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By Stacey Duguid on

Apparently, women who wear red are more “sexually appealing”. Don’t shoot the messenger; I just read it on Wikipedia, so it must be true. Something to do with “The Red Dress Effect”, it says. “In nature, the colour red suggests fertility, in folklore and mythology, women were thought to have worn red lipstick as long ago as 10,000 BC to suggest sexual receptiveness.” Oh, that Chris de Burgh was on to something…

Running the risk of “sexual receptiveness” (Christ knows, it’s been a while), last week I wore red lipstick for the first time in ages. Truth is, I had a whacking great cold sore on my upper lip, which was agony. Desperate, I emptied out a bucket of make-up I’ve somehow managed to amass and whacked a load of red lippy on – and then waited for all manner of sexual advances. Just joking. Who cares whether other people liked it? It gave me a confidence boost. Not to mention no one noticed the achingly painful cold sore my upper lip.

Come February, all the red bits and bobs you’re buying now will still be “in”. I’ve never known fashion of this kind. We might as well make the most of it

In case you missed it, red clothes are ALL over the high street. Every shop floor, from M&S to Zara to Topshop, is a sea of red. And, like you care right now, red is also all over the spring/summer 2018 catwalks, so, come February, all the red bits and bobs you’re buying now will still be “in”. I’ve never known fashion of this kind. We might as well make the most of it.

I won’t lie, when I think of red clothes I think of red dresses and Christmas parties. But it is actually a colour that can be worn casually. For example, I don’t own a pair of red trousers, but I’d love to – I think they look fab with a simple, round-neck, pale-grey marl jumper and white trainers. Or, at work, I’d wear them with black patent court shoes and a smart brown coat thrown over the top. I have a red jumper which, next to my red hair, looks a bit Christmas elf, but still, I persist. Red jumpers look great with jeans and, if you have grey, blonde or brown hair (especially whitish-grey hair), look ace with red near your face. (Side note: red jumpers and black trousers feels a bit serious.)

Camel, a colour I once hated next to my pallid complexion – it was way too “morgue” with white-blonde hair – is, when worn with red, a match made in fashion heaven. Wear them together with black shoes and bags. As for red coats, I love a brave winter coat, but beware too-cheap fabrics – bright colours can end up looking dishevelled in lightweight polyester. Find the right red coat and you’re on to an absolute winner (I love this one from M&S); not only will a red coat go with more than you think, it’s the fastest way I can think of to cheer up an outfit. Well, apart from a slick of red lippy found at the back of an old make-up drawer.

Most of all, red looks AMAZING worn with leopard print and dark denim. In this scenario, I’d go for a brown-toned leopard-print coat, a red cosy-cashmere knit from M&S and a pair of dark, slim-legged jeans from Gap. Or a red coat, leopard-y jumper, dark jeans and leopard shoes. My next quest? A red suit – proof not all ladies in red have to wear a frock. Or slow-dance “cheek to cheek” to an 80s anthem. Thank God.

Click here for the best red pieces on the high street – and what to wear them with 


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Photo: Rex Features
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