FASHION HONESTLY

The key to wearing cobalt blue is restraint

Head-to-toe bright, bright blue? What is this – the 80s, asks Stacey Duguid. Take it piece by piece and you'll look on trend, not off-key

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By Stacey Duguid on

The only photograph my grandparents (RIP) kept of me on their wall was one taken around the age of 11. I’m wearing a cobalt-blue jumper over a dogtooth-check shirt and, wait for it, a leather tie. Nice. As if that’s not mega-goofy enough, my fringe is flicked higher than Trump’s and hangs above my head like a mocking seagull that’s accidentally flown into a tub of cheap hair gel. I wore that jumper with Sweet Sizzle lipstick – who made that lip nectar? Rimmel? No7? – and finished the look off with some electric blue eyeliner. Et voilà – welcome to the 80s!

I remember owning a cobalt-blue cagoule around the same time and, even though I admire blue in all its many shades, the only blue I’ve worn in recent years is navy – as in a navy coat, navy hat, navy gloves, navy scarf, navy jumper. And, like many, I’ve even embraced navy blue walls at home, but cobalt? Would YOU wear it again? Fashion news just in: approximately 34 designers showed cobalt blue on the catwalk last September and therefore the high street is a sea of blue. So, guess what? We’ll both be wearing it come next month.

Take it piece by piece and buy one thing you love – wear a cobalt T-shirt with your favourite jeans; a cobalt dress would be lovely at a wedding

Never one to dismiss something on the grounds of "I wore that when I was a kid" – case in point corduroy flares – I popped to Zara to try the big “new” spring colour. "Oh, well, what’s the worst that can happen?" I think to myself, as I grab handfuls of blue stuff. I’ll tell you what’s the worst thing that can happen: piano ties and fingerless gloves, shudder. Thing is, when it comes to wearing this season’s blast-from-the-past hot colour, you’re supposed to – brace yourself, Mavis – wear it head to frickin' toe. That’s right – shoes, troos, bag, the lot. Pass the Slush Puppie, don the rollerblades, slick your hair back. Is that T’Pau playing on the radio?

Yep, cobalt blue – a colour I associate with Maggie Thatcher politics and Princess Diana’s skirt suits – is back and, as predicted, and as demonstrated by the goofy photo of the 11-year-old me, it doesn’t really suit me. Could it be my dyed red hair and ice-pale skin, or bad school-disco memories that are putting me off? Who knows, but if you dabble in some cobalt this spring, promise me this: promise you’ll ignore fashion folk when they tell you to wear it  – and the other two new-season primary colours that are also huge for spring – head to toe. I can’t imagine carrying a bright blue bag, wearing bright blue shoes, with a bright blue dress, jacket and coat. Take it piece by piece and buy one thing you love – wear a cobalt T-shirt with your favourite jeans, a cobalt dress would be lovely at a wedding (don’t match your shoes, though) and cobalt blue trousers would be fab on holiday.

In times like this, fashion often reflects politics. Maybe that’s why the high street looks like a party political broadcast. Maybe that’s why I’m avoiding blue. I don’t fancy red any more; as for yellow, get a grip. Green* is bubbling under as a trend colour this summer – maybe it represents the green shoots of positivity? I’m up for that. 

*To be continued…

Click here for Stacey's cobalt edit

@StaceyDuguid

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