Saturday 10 November 2012

The New Neutral

Favourite Megan, this post is for you.

I have been pondering what is considered "neutral" in style ever since this comment:

"I think I like the sweater over top because it shows off your rockin body better than the blousy look and I think it is a better balance for your skinny jeans. But, take this with a grain of salt because I am your friend who prefers monochromatic, is afraid of animal prints and does not think yellow is a neutral. ;)"

It really got me thinking!  I absolutely love my yellow pants and my mustard everything and my teal necklace, and I think they go with almost everything.  I absolutely hate matchy-matchy looks - this stems from 1985 when I wore alternating pink and purple from head to toe.  I have destroyed all photo evidenceBy "matchy-matchy," I mean "too carefully coordinated," which I see all the time in stores and in the world around me.  And yes, even on me from time to time.  Since I'm so up on fashion, I am aware that wearing matching tops and bottoms is a current trend.  Not sure if I will go there or not; depends if something crosses my path at VV Boutique!  In the meantime, I set out to educate myself about neutrals.  Now, get your coffee and prepare for the most epic post to date. 

Defining Neutrals

Neutrals are not just black and white!  In fact, though this common colour com
bo often evokes clean classic style, I usually feel like a waitress server (does that make me sound less old now since I made a date reference to when many of you weren't even born?).  Many people have primarily black and white in their closets, and some even intentionally stick to those basics for their own intriguing reasons.  As for me, I love colour and always have!  I am so happy to discover that neutrals include a broad range!
Most of the time, neutrals can be safely intermingled!  This is a great strategy for layering!  I think my yellow pants fall into the colour-block trend (more on that later!) and are best treated like a neutral so I used them to demonstrate some of the "new neutrals" in my closet.
Gray looks good with everything.
I heart stripes.
Never hurts to have variety.
And thus concludes the stripe demonstration.
I've also worn this purple/navy gingham with my cobalt pants!
My inaugural StyleMint purchase...
 Banana Republic red polka dot (looks better with a belt!)
Jones tuxedo blouse demonstrating small print as neutral!

My bottoms are mostly solid colours with my skirts bringing in the small print neutrals.
I don't exactly know how to determine if a print is "neutral" or not (assuming it is colourful!).  My developing theory is that if the print is large or bold enough to distinguish one or more colours, it probably isn't a neutral.  That being said, many of the stylish looks I see on line and IRL do mix bold patterns.  See Rule #5 below. 
We are not neutrals.

I didn't layer or accessorize here which is why these outfits look incomplete!  Suffice it to say that I am blessed with a great selection of neutral pieces to mix and match for a variety of looks! 

Now, as for colour blocking, anyone else out there heard this term, put it into practice yet not really know what it means?  Well just in case I'm not the only one, let me share a fabulous must-watch video that will explain everything!  Don't worry about taking notes because I did right below!

*Colour Blocking Basics
  • wear pieces from neighbouring spots on the colour wheel (the monochromatic trend would fall here)
  • wear pieces from opposite spots on the colour wheel
  • pair colour blocked pieces with neutrals
  • if using three colours, pair 2 neighbouring colours with something from the opposite spot on the colour wheel
  • use neutral accessories OR use accessories to bring in that third colour
Pinterest is of course a great source for all things style, and lots of style bloggers have mastered the use of colourful pieces in their wardrobes!  Because I am dedicated to playing dress up to avoid cleaning the cause, I pulled up a colour wheel and tested out the colour blocking basics:
Yellow and orange are neighbours.  I don't have orange so tangerine will have to do.
It works!  I wore this in the summer and could add a neutral cardi for colder weather.
Yellow and green are also neighbours.
With my green Talbots sweater $10 VV Boutique...
I think I look like citrus.
I like it better with a pink-lemonade infusion from the opposite side of the wheel!
Fuchsia belt $4 VV Boutique
Red and green are opposites on the wheel, which may be why this sweater looked so nice with the Bordeaux blazer.
But take caution in wearing them together.  Ho ho ho.
Pink and Bordeaux neighbours...
  Pink and red neighbours...
 Being neighbourly...
 This is a big neighbourhood in my closet apparently!
Adding an animal print neutral... 
 Giving my cobalt pants a go with neighbouring greeny-blue...
 Adding a camel layer (looked better IRL and was cozy!)
Green and blue are neighbours, and orange (tangerine) is opposite.
This is too much, even for me.
You're welcome for sharing anyway.

Blue and purple are neighbours.

And looks who's opposite!
 A variation on blue/purple - just up top!

 I really would wear this!  Like, tomorrow.

In conclusion, I leave you with some Neutral Style Rules:
  1. It has to GO, not match.  In fact, avoid matching too carefully. 
  2. Even if you're wearing all neutrals, look for interesting details and texture - ruching, trim, hemline, print, etc.  
  3. The monochromatic trend is an easy entry into colour blocking!  Just throw on a scarf in a neighbouring hue or variation on the same colour! 
  4. Mistakes happen, but experimenting and having fun with your wardrobe is worth the risk!  Just be sure to think and talk nicely about your clothes, your body, your style no matter what happens!  You're the only you there is so be nice!
  5. Go forth with attitude!  A good attitude makes up for almost anything!
That was fun!  Not all of these pieces today were from VV Boutique, but no doubt VV Boutique is a great place to get great pieces to try out the New Neutral!


  1. Great blog today Nicole! I am learning! Must get me some leopard print. oh - and you are looking skinnier and skinnier. Meanwhile my clothes are getting tighter and tighter. Bleach!

  2. Ok ok ok. I got it, I will refine my ways. Maybe I'm just jealous because I don't have yellow pants. But here's the next point to consider... we are often told to use darker colors to downplay the parts we don't like or want to de-emphasize. So while the beautiful yellow pants look great on you (read: because you have a nice tiny bum, hips and thin legs) I'm not so sure I (who is your polar opposite on the "shape wheel") can pull off yellow on the bottom. I do like color on the top however, and have a very yellow top to prove it. So color blocking for me, I think works on the top with a neutral like denim, but not with a color on the bottom. Weigh in?

  3. hee hee... I heard that about lighter colours but I think Rule #5 takes precedent AND I actually think a nice mint green or pastel would look nice on any size on the bottom - saw some mauve jeans with a cobalt sweater in the Gap window display that I loved! If you are skeptical, why not try a deep teal, purple or green on the bottom and a lighter colour (or typical neutral!) on top. Go cheap then if you don't feel comfortable, it hasn't cost you much! I had no idea I would love those yellow pants as much as I do and they were $18!!! Plus, girl, you are shrinking weekly and deserve to celebrate your progress with some adventurous bottoms!!


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