For too long the color beige has had a bad rap. The same is true for camel, ivory and variations of the unfortunately named off-white. To some naysayers, a neutral palette is thought to be uninspired and wearing those shades has been dubbed a bland fashion choice. Not so! Who starts this propaganda, Chiquita Banana? The Grinch Who Stole Christmas? I'm here to dispel these rumors right now.
On a regular basis, I can be seen wearing head-to-toe ivory - or ivory and white. I imagine exotic, jewel-tone-clad masses peering into my closet, calling it boring, accusing me of failing to commit to a ‘real’ color. But I beg to differ. My outfits of total ivory and tan are favorites, bought specifically for the neutral colors.
Sure, sometimes basic black ensembles are essential uniforms and yes, a splash of red definitely makes a statement that will get any woman noticed. But dressing in soft, neutral tones is about the woman rather than the clothing. There is a quiet strength in a style statement that doesn't demand attention.
This season's neutrals are especially elegant and urbane and yet even for the most sophisticated woman, care may need to be taken so that we don't fade into our own color choices.
Here are tips for maximizing and overall look while wearing only neutrals.
Metallic Accessories - a camel sweater and white jeans are given energy by adding bold, silver-tone necklaces or a slew of bangles, glimmering and chiming on one arm. What works with beiges and tans are metallic footwear and handbags and bold statement jewelry. Example: gold espadrilles + camel pant + camel/ivory animal print top = fashion perfection. Go for large, architectural jewelry rather than small, demure pieces to add visual interest to soft neutrals.
Play with Texture - Mix silky pieces with nubby knits to keep an outfit interesting. Layer chunky, boxy shapes over sheer, wispy layers tray move as you walk. Linens work with silks, denims pair well with jersey - the best part is that the ability to mix shapes is almost unlimited since all the neutrals work well together.
Enhanced Make-Up - For women with warmer skin tones, neutrals are effortless but, for those of us with lighter coloring, this is a time to take an extra sweep of bronzer, smudge eyeliner to create a dramatic, smoky effect and choose a lipstick that has a bit more color than you might otherwise wear. Remember, this look is about the woman, not the wardrobe, so it's an opportunity to draw attention to that shining face.
Actually, ivory, camel, beige and white all go well with other neutrals, like... champagne, oyster, cognac, pearl... so find your Neutral Territory and celebrate in elegant style.
By: Elisabeth Cook