I had reader Gemma email me with her dilemma:
I find a lot of what you say about accepting a quiet life very comforting. I often feel I should be doing more, going further and that people look at me and think I do nothing and go nowhere.
I love this suggestion, because I have been a bit off scarves lately and so I have had to look to other ways to feel pulled together and accessorised. You can see my spring wardrobe here (it has just come into spring in New Zealand) – you can see that I have a few coloured items, but overall my wardrobe is very neutral.
I find that just wearing the clothes doesn’t feel as polished as when I add a little extra, but scarves for me feel frumpy at the moment. I even have a few lightweight cotton infinity scarves but I still don’t feel like they are me right now, as much as I love them on others. Still, I like to go with the flow and not force things. I’m sure I will come back to scarves later.
In the meantime though, here are some of my favourite ways to add colour into an otherwise neutral outfit:
Coloured nails: I don’t often paint my fingernails, but when I do I love the pop of colour it provides. If I paint them, I tend to go for bright or dark, say a crème (no sparkles or shimmer) tangerine or red-orange, or dark burgundy. I trim/file my nails very short when I do this because to me it looks more modern than long, coloured nails (that’s just my personal preference) plus I find they last longer without chipping because I’m not tapping the edge of my nail when I am typing etc. I have my nails so short that you can see the edge of my fingertip beyond the nail. They look so good painted this way!
Coloured shoes: Aside from my neutral coloured shoes, I seem to always have a pair of red shoes, and I love how these lift up a neutral outfit – jeans and a navy top with red shoes is one of my favourite combos. There are shoes in any colour you’d care to name now, and if you keep yourself from being scared of ‘a shoe that won’t go with everything’ you might find it is a good way to get a little bit of colour into your outfit. If you wear mostly neutral clothes anyway, a shoe colour that you love (such as navy or teal) will still go with everything. I don’t know if this is just a New Zealand thing because I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard in our shoe store ‘I really like that cheery orange, but I’m just going to go with black – it’s far more practical and will go with everything I own’. Other coloured shoes I have are nude and plum patent ballet flats, which I love to wear as well.
Pretty makeup: If I do have a totally neutral outfit on and no coloured accessories, I can to add colour with my face. At the moment I am loving a sheer, blushy spring makeup look where I apply BB cream with my BeautyBlender (I have had it for a few months now and love it! My poor foundation brush has been cast aside) and a light dusting of loose powder. Then I add a glowy pink blush, sheer pinkish-orange lipstick and gloss and a sweep of bronzer over my eyes and around the edges of my face and just mascara, no eyeliner. If you like bright lipsticks, that might provide a good amount of colour to your look too, or a coloured eye with nude/low-key lip colour.
Jewellery. I usually wear my classic, everyday jewellery of a watch, my rings and some studs in my ears (CZ or pearl), but if my outfit is totally neutral I might add a necklace – I have a gold coin and also a few chunkier statement necklaces. Coloured chunkier pearls are nice too. Even if the slightly more out-there accessory you wear isn’t a colour, it still provides a finishing touch. I have some silver oval hoops that are twisted and very shiny. I love to wear those sometimes because it feels different to my usual studs and with my understated style they provide enough of a kick.
Handbags. My current handbag is a tan leather Michael Kors, and I know that tan is still a neutral, but I love the way it lifts a black top and dark jeans nicely. Maybe I’ll go nuts and find a scarf to tie to it handle.
I had a bit of fun with my lovely friend Barbara's poodle Zoey as the image for this post - Zoey is modelling her pop of colour wonderfully. Barbara, Zoey and I had a long overdue ladies catch-up this week. I almost managed to 'acquire' Barbara's gorgeous Prada handbag by offering to carry it for her when we were leaving. She wasn't giving it up though :)
Can you add to this conversation on adding colour in ways other than scarves? Do you love to wear neutrals and accessorise with colour? Or is your wardrobe itself a riot of colour? Please share!
Wishing you a wonderful week,