Afraid of colour? How to wear sunny shades and gorgeous prints

Choosing the right tones for your skin makes you look brighter, fresher and younger

Sunshine shades lift the spirits and dispatch wintry black opaques into the cupboard

Sunshine shades lift the spirits and dispatch wintry black opaques into the cupboard

 

It’s easy to make an impact with colour when it comes to what you wear. Think of Ruth Negga in that sweeping red Valentino dress or Rihanna in the voluminous yellow gown by Guo Pei at the Oscars. But for everyday wear it’s often a simple flash of colour or print that can elevate an outfit. 

In the gloomiest weather, sunshine shades lift the spirits and dispatch those wintry black opaques into the cupboard. While neutrals still have the power to flatter and, thanks to Burberry, beige is no longer boring, elsewhere, choosing the right colour can make your whole look stand out.

Last year it was ultraviolet; this year Pantone has decreed coral the colour of 2019. “It is animating and life affirming,” it says, “and symbolises our innate need for optimism and embodies our desire for playful expression.” Got that? Playful and warm coral may be, but when it comes to clothes it doesn’t suit all complexions and doesn’t work for all skin tones. So how to wear it?

The colour specialist Maria Macklin says that black suits only one in four of us and that primary red is the only colour that suits every skin tone

According to the colour-specialist image consultant Maria Macklin, some of us have yellow-based warm pigment in our skin while others have a blue-based cool pigment. Coral is a warm yellow-based pink and will suit those with warm skin tones better than those with cool. “When you wear the right tones for your skin, you will look brighter, fresher and younger, but warm colours on a blue-based cool skin undertone appear sallow and slightly blurred,” adds Macklin, who argues that black suits only one in four of us and that primary red is the only colour that suits every skin tone.

Each of these outfits paints a different colour: the soft red patterned wrap, the combination of two tones of yellow in an asymmetric dress, the brightening up of a neutral print pinafore with a lime T-shirt. More dramatic is the denim all in one, another way to wear the world’s favourite colour with matching blue kitten-heeled mules.

For the fearless, try a boldly patterned coat dress with a cut-out trench motif; and, with gingham back in fashion, there’s a new more oblique take on its traditional hues in waspy black and yellow in this puff-sleeved spring boho number for a look that’s fresh and buzzy.

 All clothes are from the second floor of Brown Thomas in Dublin.

Photograph: Andrew Nuding
Red floral wrap dress €360, Rixo; flower drop earrings €230, Marni; leather bucket bag €350, Stoud
Photograph: Andrew Nuding
Marigold asymmetric dress €899, Rejina Pyo; gold leaf earrings €185, Marni; Luna cross-body bag €370, Cult Gaia; leather pool slides €195, Sandro
Photograph: Andrew Nuding
Clear check trench €225, Maje; neon rib top €125, Sandro; floral slip dress €690, Acne Studio; gold leather sandals €245, Sandro
Photograph: Andrew Nuding
Denim dress €320, Marques Almeida x Seven for All Mankind; denim mules €695, leather logo mini bag €1,390, both Balenciaga
Photograph: Andrew Nuding
Floral inset trench €690, blue and white ruffle dress €695, both MSGM; denim mules €696, leather logo ba €1,095, both Balenciaga
Photograph: Andrew Nuding
Yellow and black gingham dress €320, Rotate; large resin ball earrings €245, Marni

Photographer: Andrew Nuding, assisted by Fiona Fitzpatrick
Model: Laura Sorensen @Le Management
Stylist: Darren Feeney, assisted by Roisin Haines
Hair: David Cashman
Make-up: Amy Lowry for Mac@Brown Thomas

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