A Fearless Approach to Color Drenching

For years, green has been somewhat of a signature color for me. I love it in every shade: pear, pickle, pistachio; emerald, seafoam, mint…even the controversial chartreuse. But...being reliably drawn to the same color can cloud my judgment when it comes to curating a personal style. Noteworthy transgressions: my pre-teen, lime bedroom walls that practically glowed in the dark (likely affecting my long-term sleep patterns and the resale value of my childhood home). The moss-colored pea coat I rocked through 9th grade (until my crush threw me a bemused, “Hey, Ya!”). The time I splurged on a floor-length, emerald evening gown for what turned out to be a more casual New Year’s Eve gathering at a barbecue joint. And most recently, my infatuation with a colossal, green velvet sectional—which would have clashed with every other piece of furniture in our one-bedroom apartment, had my husband not forcibly removed it from my online shopping cart.

Thankfully, this lifelong affinity for one color is apparently normal, and most of us have a go-to shade that makes us feel happy or confident when we wear it. Whether it prompts a reliable stream of compliments, reminds us of our favorite food (did I mention my other favorite color, wine?), or has simply become part of our style uniform over the years, gravitating toward the same hue over and over is by no means a bad thing. It makes matching outfits easier in the morning, and can reportedly make us more “iconic,” a la Steve Jobs and his black turtleneck (or in my case, Outkast and their green jackets).

However, as I survey a closet that’s starting to look devastatingly monochromatic, even I can admit that too much of a good thing may just be overkill. And when it’s time to add some variety, what better season than summer, when there are so many different bold colors to choose from? "What made the spring/summer 2018 runways so unique was that colors took shape in head-to-toe form across the board," says Elite Daily. "Whereas they typically might appear in the form of a skirt here, a shirt, or a jacket there, this time, they constituted entire looks — and lots of them. Wearing one solid color is in itself a trend this season, which is even more reason to know exactly which hues you should be eyeing on any upcoming shopping sprees."

It may seem obvious, but psychologists agree “our sartorial tastes come from a subconscious place,” which means branching out to try new shades really requires a conscious commitment in the fitting room. So think about it: what color have you always shied away from, for whatever reason? Did you write off red years ago because you felt like it was too bold, or purple because someone told you it wasn’t your color? Try that color again in a silhouette you’re comfortable with. You may actually fall in love with something you never thought you could.

Red tailoring always looks sharp.

Red tailoring always looks sharp.

Our sartorial tastes come from a subconscious place.

Wondering where to start? At the end of the day, everything from your skin undertones to your eye and hair color influence what colors will be flattering on you. Helen Venables, the MD at House of Colour, says, “Wearing colors under your chin that you absolutely know suit you is vital. The effect of color so close to the face can be surprisingly powerful—slimming, enlivening and health giving, or aging, adding weight and making you look as if you are exhausted.”

In other words, you don’t have to overhaul your entire wardrobe to make it more exciting or varied—start by trying a few accessories in more saturated hues to get a feel for which brights you love the most.

I say (and hear), "I could never pull that off!" all the time while shopping, usually regarding something that falls outside my typical color palette. Which is why I appreciate that when Violet owner Julie Egermayer senses a woman is closing herself off to something that will actually look great, she encourages her shoppers to just try it on, or think about what preexisting notions of personal style or body image may be holding them in a fashion rut. "I was inspired to name the store after a single color that symbolizes strength, femininity, power and boldness," she says. "But continuously experimenting with color, cuts and combinations is what Violet is all about."