How to pull off confidence-boosting colour

Photo: Claire Pepper

Once wedded to her black skinny jeans, Stacey Duguid has come over all colourful. But how, exactly, do you wear rainbow brights?

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By Stacey Duguid on

Hardly anyone I know, including me, wears head-to-toe black anymore. When did that happen? What was once a wardrobe failsafe feels like it’s slipping out of favour – the British high street is currently a miasma of colour, and sales of brights are up. John Lewis reports that sales of bottle green dresses have overtaken black dresses. As colourful clothes creep into our wardrobes, are we finally giving up on black, navy and all things neutral?  

Acid-trip brights were all over the catwalk and, as a result, John Lewis, Zara, Boden and Mango, to name but a few, are jammed to the rafters with clothes and accessories in zesty, mood-boosting colours. But, still, I’m not quite willing to totally leave my comfort-zone black on a permanent basis. I mean, nothing comes between me and my black jeans; I feel confident in them, I don’t worry what I look like in them, I just get up, put them on and go. Still, I wouldn’t wear black jeans with a black top – not since bold, bright colours made their way into my wardrobe and I discovered that colour looks softer next to my fortysomething face (ditto, metallics – see last month’s blog). I can’t get enough of splashy tomato-red and am coming round to the green mixed with lilac combination that seems to be everywhere at the moment. Having said that, I will continue to dodge the putrid purple that reared its semi-ugly head at some point a few months ago. Too Charlie And The Chocolate Factory.

Speaking of Colours I Never Thought I’d Wear, I haven’t been able to get enough of yellow, ever since Amal Clooney wore it to the royal wedding – and I’m not the only one. Net-A-Porter has noticed sales of yellow dresses increased fourfold since the royal wedding. “We don’t see the trend for yellow dresses slowing down, sales at Net-A-Porter have increased significantly since last year and out of all the dress colourways available on site now, yellow styles have seen the largest growth this year,” says Net-A-Porter’s fashion director, Lisa Aitken. But where I can’t pull off canary yellow (it left me pale and washed-out), mustard yellow, I’ve found, is far friendlier. Looking incredible in a pale pink Stella McCartney dress, fellow wedding guest Oprah echoed a sentiment felt by many across the world – we can’t get enough of pink. With it’s new-found power-status, thanks to the “millennial pink” boom and the anti-Trump pussy-power hats, plus the fact that it’s all over the new collections, I can’t see pink leaving our wardrobes any time soon. The fact there is a pink to suit most skin tones is truly poetic.

When I am in the mood for a blast of colour, what better way to show the world how you feel than in a pair of trousers as colourful as a stick of rock?!

Could this mean women will finally turn their backs on neutral workwear, I wonder? Wouldn’t that be great? I just love the idea of women wearing WHAT THE HELL THEY LIKE to work. Bright red suit, anyone? Number one on my September wish-list is a gorgeous green trouser suit, available to buy from Jigsaw this autumn. I’ve often wondered why women’s “workwear” always looks the same, it’s all so zzz. Bring on the ballsy bright tailoring, I say.

Women of all ages are embracing colour, including my mum, who looks smashing in the bright yellow trousers she bought from M&S in spring. Mum, who turns 70 in January, and looks fantastic in royal blue, pale pink and emerald green, told me the other day: “I’m having the best year of my life”. Judging by her newfound love of bright trousers, I can tell. Mum wore navy blue for years and has slowly introduced colour by mixing colour-pop trousers with a neutral top. I think that’s the way to do it. I really do. Slowly, one item at a time – that way you can avoid making expensive mistakes. As I said, I love bright tailoring, as it’s a great way to introduce colour to your wardrobe, even if it’s a just bright jacket worn with jeans or bright trousers worn with a white T-shirt. Personally, I’m on the look-out for a grass green dress, a colour I’ve never worn that was all over the catwalk this season. I’ll probably wear it with gold shoes, as black might look too harsh. Although saying that, I just bought a pair of mega-bright fuchsia wedges that would zing with green.

Whatever you buy now can be worn again throughout winter, because colour is here to stay, so expect some winter cheer coming your way (for once). I won’t be saying “bye” to my most reliable hues, I love black and navy and, as for pink pants three days before my period, no thanks. But when I am in the mood for a blast of colour, what better way to show the world how you feel than in a pair of trousers as colourful as a stick of rock?! Colour is everywhere, and the high street’s never looked so bright, so wear it your way and with confidence. It’s all ours for the taking.

Click here for the best colourful pieces – and how to wear them 


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Photo: Claire Pepper
Tagged in:
fashion advice
fashion honestly
shopping fix
Stacey Duguid

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