Fashion challenge: pop with colour

I catch the train to work. Everyday, I look forward to my morning observation of what women are wearing. It’s something to do with the fact that I spent 8 years in fashion.  There are days I miss it because nothing made me happier than a woman walking away feeling great about herself.  I don’t stare at people, but I will casually glance around as I read my book.

Almost every woman looks the same, the women on the bus, the women walking to work, waiting at the bus stop or standing in line for a coffee.  It’s like we are wearing a unified black uniform.

If you love to feel and look good, or if you’re in need of some cheering up, keep reading. If you’re a woman who loves attracting attention, read, read and read some more and if you’re bored of the way you dress every day, you should read all of this.  Because from today, I challenge you to try something different. Something that will remove you completely from your comfort zone. It’s called colour.

I can hear the screams and I can picture the hands in the air waving in madness, rejecting the notion. Yes I’ve heard it all before, “no no no I’m not dressing like a clown,” “that’s for young girls,” and my favourite,  “I will look like a pumpkin in that.”  A pumpkin? Why? Are we shopping in supermarkets now?

I’m not going to bite my tongue anymore, I’m just going to say it. Why are we so obsessed with the colour black?  Why do we continue to look boring? Dull and wait for it…no don’t block your ears. OLD! That’s right. OLD! There I said it.  I’m now anticipating a 6-foot deep grave as I imagine the crowds of women rounding up with shovels in their hands. I didn’t say you look old, I said your choice of clothes and colours, make you look old.

This topic seems to be so sensitive to women.  I’ve always wondered why that is. I’m not the Fashion Police, so I’m not going to walk around fining you, though I bloody wish I could.  All I’m saying is I’m not sure we appreciate colour as much as we should.

Paula Joye says: “If you’re scared of super bright colours you can try colour toning. Similar to blocking, it uses shades within the same family. Michelle Obama does this look really well. Try royal blue and purple or pale green and lemon pastels – it’s sophisticated and makes the trend a little more conservative and grown-up.”

Take a minute now to look down at what you’re wearing today. Now be honest. Have you incorporated any colour into your outfit?  It can be as simple as nail polish, earrings, a necklace (always my favourite), a scarf, a cardigan…whatever.  One thing I learnt about women while working in fashion, is they’re always looking for ways to feel better about themselves. Look different. We love change but we don’t really do anything about it.

Maybe it’s time to try something new like colour blocking. Paula explains it: “The colour-blocking trend began about a year ago and it literally means an outfit made up of ‘blocks’ of solid colour. The secret to pulling it off is sticking to simple shapes – think classic shifts, maxis, pencil skirts  – and choosing shades that are the direct opposites on the colour wheel. Try clashing pink and yellow, orange and blue, green and black to create the most effective blocking effect.” Orange ‘urges you to get out into the world and create something grand – it’s a very high energy colour.

I recently went out and I did what Paula calls a “colour pop” She says: “One colour, on one item in your look. Try a pink shift dress, a yellow bag or an aqua shoe. This is a way of dipping your toe into the trend.” I unintentionally attracted so much attention not only from guys but from girls as well. I wore a bright Turquoise pleated dress. As I looked around the room I noticed every woman blended with the rest of the crowd and that’s because they were all in black.

Finally, I don’t want to hear this common excuse: “I work in a corporate office and I can’t dress like that.” Well that’s not true because I’ve also worked in corporate offices where the attire was very formal and strict. However, I still managed to incorporate a red cardigan here and there, or an Aqua blouse and even coloured accessories. I’m not suggesting you change your entire wardrobe to colour, all I’m saying is let’s add some colour so that we still maintain an interesting look, not an old one.

Do you incorporate colour into your wardrobe? Are you wearing any today?