Wearing Primary Colours (Like a Grown-up)

Whether you learned about it through multiple screenings of The September Issue or scored top marks in elementary art classes, you’re likely already familiar with the wonder of colour blocking. And since much of spring 2011’s colour palette is made up from the shades that defined most grade one classrooms, it’s only fair that we refresh your memory so that the art of primary colour mix-and-matching isn’t one that escapes you. So in the spirit of spring, sunshine and all things synonymous with bright, here’s how to wear yellow, blue and red.


Despite its so-called happy qualities, we all know that yellow can be downright scary. Why? Because unlike cool shades like blue and purple (or warmer tones like red and orange), yellow doesn’t contrast anything “ it simply stands out and relies on you to do the rest. Luckily, there is a way to wear it “ provided you wear it boldly.

Before anything, you need to come to terms with the fact that donning bright or neon yellow will result in turning heads “ and not in a bad way. Thus, instead of looking to infuse it into your wardrobe, bring attention to it by pairing it with a bright pink skirt or trousers like in Nina Ricci’s Spring 2011 show, or don a trench coat with red rubber boots to keep colour blocking as easy and day-to-day as you can.

S - Nina Ricci SS11 300x400


Wearing red is easy “ just ask anybody heading to holiday parties from November to Christmas Eve. However, there’s a difference between festive red and springtime red, and as proven by Jil Sander’s pleated trousers or Max Mara’s bold jacket/pant combination, there’s brighter shades that evoke the freshness of spring without the drama of winter tones.

Thus, while mixing red and green would normally evoke the magic of holidays, a cherry red jacket worn along a vivid “ fresh “ green button-up (and blue trousers) will simply maintain the seasonal obsession with vivid colour blocking instead of painting you as a living Christmas card. And if you’re really concerned, stick to light fabrics or mix with purple and yellow to prevent any holiday connotations.

S - Jil Sander SS11 300x400


It makes sense to save the easiest for last, but the key to remember that even though blue is often considered a neutral (at least in terms of navy), in order to execute colour blocking effectively, you can’t be afraid to mix an indigo shade with a bright green or an orange “ especially if you’re wearing a dress or a pant suit.

Combining the likes of Burberry’s clean-cut, bright blue button-ups and Marc Jacob’s fuchsia wide-legged trousers is the perfect way to add extra dimension to one of the spectrums safest tones, while Miu Miu’s sheen-tastic (albeit colourful) dress covers all the blocking bases with the likes of neon green, blue and black that are represented in only one piece.

S - Miu Miu SS11 300x400

Sympatico Image


Tags: blue, Burberry, colour blocking, colours, Fashion, jil sander, Marc Jacob, Max Mara, Miu Miu, neon, Red, spring 2011, trends, yellow

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