How to wear patterns and bright colors


Wake up your wardrobe with a few tips on how to wear bright colors and patterns tastefully. Your gurus are Jennifer Goodkind and Jayne Chase, co-hosts of "A Fashionable Life" radio.

How to wear patterns and bright colors
  • An easy way to introduce color into your wardrobe is to start with just one piece — a blouse or top perhaps.
  • If you’re wearing a bright colored top, use neutral tones in your makeup. Avoid color on your nails or toes. You don’t want to overwhelm.
  • If you wear a larger size, consider patterns with a predominantly black background.
  • Boldly colored prints are best for smaller sizes.
  • Wear only what you feel comfortable in; be confident and your clothes will look better on you.
  • If you’re addicted to black (as Jen and Jayne clearly are) try adding a boldly colored purse or pair of shoes. If that feels like too much, try color on your nails first. Get comfortable with color before purchasing a larger piece.

JEN:  Hello and welcome to a fashionable howdini.  I'm Jen Goodkind.

JAYNE: And I'm Jayne Chase, and we're co-hosts of A Fashionable Life Radio.

JEN:  We're going to talk to you today about color and print. It's everywhere, and you have to get used to it, so we're going to help you to build some coping strategies so when you see color and print you don't go crazy.

JAYNE:  So we’re going to start talking first about this purple blouse over here.

JEN:  Purple is also everywhere, and this is an easy way to introduce a little color and a little print into your wardrobe. It's a top; it's not a dress. Pair it with a pair of black pants, a pair of jeans; and it's a great way to introduce a little color around your face.

JAYNE:  And the other thing about this shirt that we really like a lot is that it's a little bit longer, so if you feel like you're a little thicker in the bottom and in your legs, this is a really great shirt to have in your wardrobe. You can wear it over black pants, over leggings, anything that you want to. And also, because of the nice feminine bow around the neck, one’s eye goes directly here, diverting it actually away from down here.

The next thing that we're going to talk about is this great black-and-white pattern. Black-and-white is huge everywhere, and what we like about this pattern is that it's predominantly black. So if you happen to think that you're a bigger girl, or a plus-size girl, this really is okay for you to wear because the background is black: It really has a slenderizing feel to it. It's a very strong graphic. What we also like about it is these buttons, which are also very trendy for the season.

JEN:  Buttons are everywhere. This is by one of our favorite contemporary designers Milly, and Milly uses vintage fabrics, so her particular patterns are always great and always eye-catching.

JAYNE:  You can also wear this dress casually, so it's great with the little flats for the season that you can find anywhere in your neighborhood, or with boots.

JEN:  Well black and white is great, but what's prettier than color, and here we have one of our other favorite designers, Catherine Malandrino's very, very strong ode to pattern and color. If you're afraid of pattern and if you are a plus size, you're probably going to want to stay away from these sorts of bold prints. But if you're not afraid, and you like a little bit of color, this is a great way to do it.

JAYNE:  The other thing that we like about this dress is because it's got its own belt with it. It cinches in your waist, which really gives you a kind of nice, hourglass figure. This dress, too, can be made casually. You can wear it with boots during the day, or wear a lighter opaque tight or a sheer tight in the evening with a pair of pumps, and you've got a great dressy dress. This is a beautiful print to start with, so don't be afraid because the pinks and the purples are so feminine for the season.

JEN:  The other thing that's great about prints is that it really is great for all seasons. What you can wear in the winter is really what you can wear in the spring and summer. It's all about how you would accessorize, and obviously you take the opaque pantyhose away and you would probably do a bare leg.

If you are going to bring color in, remember: lighter on the makeup. You don't have to have too much color on the face if you're wearing color on your body. And also remember if you are going to wear a bold print, know your body, know what's going to look good on you. And be sure when you choose your colors, that whatever you choose, you wear positively and boldly.

JAYNE: That's right, and even though this is a trend for the season, if you're not terribly comfortable with it, start small, start slowly. Get a great bag, add color to your nails, your toes, and once you're used to wearing color, you’re going to fall in love with it. Then you can add the great shirt, and the great print dress.

meet theexpert
  • Jennifer Goodkind

    Jennifer Goodkind Hosts, A Fashionable Life Radio Jennifer Goodkind began her successful career as an Accessories Editor at Vogue. She soon became a stylist to the stars as well as clients around the countr. In 2000, Jen started JL ROCKS fine jewelry in Greenwich and Westport, Connecticut. more about this expert »

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