There is nothing that feels more chic to me than a touch of red. I have a few torn-out pages of Victoria magazine from the late 1980s showcasing the French girl’s classic style. Of course she wore a Breton top in one picture and a white cotton shirt with navy blazer in another, but her red lip colour was what drew the whole look together and made her look so ‘French’.
I also remember a home I saw photographed in Elle Decoration UK. Like my Victoria pages it was many years ago (the nineties this time, I’m moving up the decades!). The living room which caught my eye had off-white walls and simple mid-toned timber, giving a modern light and airy effect. What made me tear those pages out were the pair of red sofas surrounded by all that neutral. They weren’t bright red, but a liveable soft red. I’d happily have that room today from the memory of it.
I love Ralph Lauren’s casual Americana style too, and a soft, weathered red is a feature of this aesthetic (such as inthe beautiful barn image above). The red, white and blue of a vintage American flag or a red and white hand-pieced quilt; there are so many ways for red to enhance a look.
Having a touch of red could even become what you are known for, not in a costumey way but rather a subtle dash. It could be kept in your secret garden, in that you are the only person who knows about your love for this flourish. I’m thinking of a touch of red in home décor, what you wear, in your garden.
My favourite décor colours are tones of caramel, crème, soft-white, beige, ochre, taupe, linen and many other permutations of warm neutrals. A perfect addition to these beige and cream shades is a small amount of red. I love this Instagram image from Distant Francophile, and her evocative description of the use of red in Paris.
Here are some ways to include small touches of red in your life:
- Red geraniums in a terracotta pot
- A beautiful scarf in a shade of red that becomes you. There really is a red for every skin-tone: true blue-red, warm orange-red, deep plum, soft pink-red. In the summer your red scarf could be fluttery silk or a crisp cotton print, in the winter why not choose a cosy wool knit.
- My mum wears mostly neutrals, however when she needed to get reading glasses last year, she chose a pair of red frames and they look très chic on her.
- Red shoes with an otherwise neutral outfit. I love how red shoes really liven up the classic combo of jeans and a black top.
- Red lipstick – ‘proper’ lipstick in red is not for me now, but I love to wear a sheer red, or use a normal red lipstick after applying lip balm such as Burt’s Bees which creates the same effect.
- A cheery, classic red on short fingernails or if red fingernails are a bit much for you, paint your toes red. My preferred red at the moment is a pink-red or orange-red to look au courant. Classic red will always be there though.
- A vintage-looking deep red Persian rug in an otherwise neutral room.
- Tea-towels and dinner napkins in red and cream striped linen or cotton fabric.
- Red capsicum (bell pepper) or cherry tomatoes to brighten up a dish such as a simple green salad or creamy chicken pasta.
Are you a fan of a touch of red? How do you like to wear, decorate, garden or cook with red?