Colourful outlook: How to go boldly in a bright coat

— by Alyson Walsh

Photos: Claire Pepper


I’ve never really bought into all the guff about seasonal shades and what one can and cannot wear. Those rules are old-fashioned and restrictive. Each colour comes in a whole spectrum of different hues, so there really is something for everyone. As I continue to experiment and figure out what goes with my grey-ish hair, occasionally I’m a bit alarmed when I see pictures of myself in brighter shades (the slouchy, head-to-toe orange outfit made me look like I’d been Tango’d). In the photographic studio last year, this eye-popping turquoise, belted coat from Reiss grabbed my attention. On a clothes rail full of wintry colours and everyday neutrals, it was the standout piece. Much as I love the many shades of blue, I’ve never worn turquoise. How then to go boldly in brighter colours and not feel like an impostor?

One way to work bold colour into an outfit, is to surround it with softer neutrals. Introducing a new item or tone is always easier when you team it with the clothes and colours you wear on a regular basis and feel comfortable in. Gently does it… Paired with my favourite camel trousers and stompy, hiking boots, the bright coat doesn’t freak me out. To add contrast, I’ve even introduced a colour-clashing tangerine cardigan. (Really going for it on that day!) Consider opposing shades of the colour wheel if you want to take a ‘clash course’.

As a magazine fashion editor, I quickly learnt how an eye-catching item lifts an outfit and looks strong on the page, and this effect does transfer over into real life, and Instagram. As well as considering sympathetic shades, the key to making high-impact hues part of a winning combination is to choose a much-loved silhouette. This bolder-than-usual coat is a relaxed, single- breasted cut, in a below-the-knee length; it’s a style I wear on a regular basis and hence I feel comfortable and positive. One of my wardrobe essentials amped up in a mood-boosting bright. Oh yeah, I’m getting older and bolder…



More on colour combinations HERE.



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Striped roll neck top, Lavender Hill. Balloon trousers are an old pair from Kin at John Lewis. Cardigan from Aligne (similar at Whistles). Suede Nanette Boots from Grenson (try The Outnet for Grenson’s at a reduced price). The turquoise coat from Reiss, is almost sold out. All items, apart from the trousers, loaned for the shoot and returned.



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  I’ve never really bought into all the guff about seasonal shades and what one can and cannot wear. Those rules are old-fashioned and restrictive.