Because it’s so easy to build outfits from black, brown and navy blue clothes, it’s only natural to get stuck in a neutral-color rut. Our closets become a sea of muted colors as we begin to shy away from brighter tones. Why buy a bright red pair of shorts that only matches one of your blouses when black shorts match all your shirts, right?
Not anymore! These outfits will help you transition from a muted wardrobe to the colorful wardrobe of your dreams! Each ensemble contains one or two pops of color that are just eye-catching enough to make your friends say, “Wow, you look great today! You should dress like this more often!”
And these aren’t the kinds of statement pieces you only wear a couple times and then forget about— they’re versatile enough to wear every day of the week! Just wear your usual black, navy blue, or gray clothes, and add one of these pieces for a bright hue that will pull your entire outfit together. Are you ready to discover the love of bright colors you never knew you had?
Here are 7 outfits that will help you break out of your style shell.
Summer Outfit No. 1
The colorful star of this outfit is its dress (Wellfleet Dress, Available at Reformation, $218 at time of publication), which features a white-and-blue pattern that mimics the style of ancient Eastern porcelain. It has a V-neck, front slit, and two back cutouts that show just the right amount of skin.
To complement this bold patterned dress, we’ve selected a tan wicker handbag (Marisol Tote, Available at Anthropologie, $68 at the time of publication) and slides (Carrie Forbes Salon Raffia Slides, Available at Moda Operandi, $300 at the time of publication) that are neutral enough to keep all the attention on your striking dress and perfect for wearing with a low ponytail and minimalist gold jewelry. This gorgeous ensemble is the perfect way to add a little piece of the sky to your outfit while still keeping your relaxed, boho vibes.
Summer Outfit No. 2
This outfit features an industrial pin-striped romper (Urban Outfitters Carmen Romper, Available at Urban Outfitters, $69 at the the time of publication) and buckled leather booties (Express Bowery Boots, Available at Express, $60 at the time of publication), but the real standout piece is its bright red, chevron-stitched crossbody bag from Anthropologie (Chevron Stitch Bag, Available at Anthropologie, $58 at the time of publication), which adds a mod-like pop of color to this cute but otherwise ordinary outfit.
Add your favorite pair of shades and a sun hat for the perfect summer-casual look, or wear it with any neutral-colored clothes for an instant transformation. If you’re feeling bold, you can even add red-rimmed chunky sunglasses for a second standout pop of color!
Summer Outfit No. 3
This outfit exudes strong, vibrant confidence with its cropped, tie-front blouse (TopShop Jacquard Tie-Front Top, Available at TopShop, $68 at the time of publication), clean-cut shorts (Rag & Bone Lora Short, Available at Rag & Bone, $120 at the time of publication), leather sandals (Franco Sarto Griffith Sandal, Available at Nordstrom Rack, $40 at the time of publication), and cat-eye sunglasses. Of course, its main piece is the ruby-red blouse, which features balloon sleeves and a pattern with a touch of velvet iridescence.
Swap the shorts and sandals for jeans and booties, and the blouse is versatile and breathable enough to be rocked year-round. Wear it with any high-waisted jeans, trousers, or culottes, and you’ll instantly look Instagram-ready. Leave out the accessories for a more laid-back look, or don those Alexander McQueen shades for a fierce accent (Alexander McQueen Glasses, Available at Moda Operandi, $345 at the time of publication).
Summer Outfit No. 4
Red, white, and blue aren’t just for the Fourth of July! This outfit combines a plaid bodysuit (Ursula Plaid Bodysuit, Available at NeedSupply, $54 at the time of publication) with bright vermillion shorts (Nicholas High Waisted Short, Available at Shopbop, $148 at the time of publication), chunky sneakers (Cairo Chunky Trainers, Available at Topshop, $65 at the time of publication), and a navy Patagonia dad cap (Patagonia Trad Cap, Available at The Reformation, $29 at the time of publication) to create a preppy-sporty fusion that will remind you of warm summer days.
It’s casual enough for picnics, baseball games, and carnivals, but also perfect for a lunch out or a music festival when paired with your best pair of hoops. Wear your hair tousled or in a loose, low ponytail for a stylish-without-even-trying look, or add a bandana and leather booties for a country-chic look!
Summer Outfit No. 5
Have you spotted a pattern in these outfits yet? Red goes great with every neutral color, so use it as much as you can! But unlike the others, this outfit features two pops of color— a red bucket bag and a red graphic Moschino tee (Oversize Scribble Tee, Available at ShopBop, $325 at the time of publication). Don’t let the faux leather biker shorts scare you (Faux Leather Biker Short, Available at Urban Outfitters, $25 at the time of publication)— wear them with a half-tucked tee, and you’ll understand what all the hype around biker shorts has been about.
Pair this super cute outfit with a short Chelsea bootie and you’ll be ready for rain or shine (Jeffrey Campbell Waterproof Chelsea Boot, Available at Nordstrom Rack, $30 at the time of publication). Replace the bucket bag (Lancaster Paris Bucket Bag, Available at Forzieri, $137 at the time of publication) with a red nylon fanny pack for a more street-style, androgynous look, or dress it up with gold hoops, a bracelet, or a necklace.
Summer Outfit No. 6
Don’t worry, we’re giving yellow some love too! If you’ve never even considered wearing a bright mustard-yellow top, look no further than this blazer-blouse hybrid from Express (Banded Bottom Collar Top, Available at Express, $30 at the time of publication). No matter the weather, its vivid yellow hue will have you thinking of sunny days. Wear it with jeans of any shade and leather heels (Huxley Western Boot, Available at Topshop, $150 at the time of publication), and you’ll have a casual yet professional-looking warm-weather outfit.
Swap the jeans (Remy High Rise, Available at ShopBop, $168 at the time of publication) for trousers, and this sunny ensemble even becomes work-appropriate! Since the bold colors in this outfit speak for themselves, you don’t need flashy accessories to seal the deal— a geometric hairpin will add a subtle finishing touch (Mini Margot Hairpin, Available at Urban Outfitters, $12 at the time of publication).
Summer Outfit No. 7
Don’t let this bright magenta crop top scare you back into wearing neutral clothes! Even if you haven’t worn pink since middle school, we promise this top will turn you into the pink fan you never knew you could be! Although it may seem intimidating, this ruffled blouse (Ruffle Cropped top, Available at Topshop, $55 at the time of publication) won’t cross the line into “flashy” territory with the ideal accents.
Pair it with slate or light-wash jeans (Levi’s Skinny Jeans, Available at Nordstrom Rack, $35 at the time of publication), tan heels (Thick Essex Heel, Available at Express, $42 at the time of publication) and gold hoops (Large Metal Hoops, Available at Express, $9 at the time of publication) for a look perfect for any weekend outing. For a more formal, look appropriate for weddings and brunch, replace the jeans with a long, flowy skirt, and to add a boho touch, add a gray or pink scarf to your hair.
Even though this list is over, your fashion journey doesn’t have to stop here! Build your own outfits by selecting solid neutral colors and picking a main piece, whether it be a patterned handbag, brightly colored top, graphic tee, or even a cute pair of socks to peek out of your loafers!
If you decide you want to branch out even more, construct color palettes for your outfit by building it around pastel colors, jewel-toned colors, or cool/warm tones. And don’t underestimate the power of bold makeup— a bright red lip or blue smokey eye can take your outfit to the next level!
If you’ve tried out color experimentation and still aren’t feeling it, don’t sweat it! Bright colors aren’t for everyone, and wearing neutral colors doesn’t make your style boring. Change it up with different textured fabrics, neutral patterns, or even wear all solid black— whatever makes you feel happy and comfortable is just fine!
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