NEW YORK — Everyone knows that black is the fashion world’s favorite color, except in the spring — especially this spring.
After a winter that pummeled many regions with snow, ice and cold, the chic set has agreed that it’s time to break out the daffodil yellow, grass green and sky blue.
“When the concept of spring came to fruition, it was the dead of winter,” says J. Crew’s head of women’s design, Marissa Webb. “Everyone’s mood is just waiting for warmth and the color that comes with it.”
Joanna Coles, editor-in-chief of Marie Claire, has been eyeing a bright blue cobalt jacket, and maybe an orange or green scarf. The scarf alone allows you to update an outfit and feel good at the same time, she says.
Meanwhile, Elle creative director Joe Zee is considering breaking out a tropical-hue tie. “I’m a guy who wears black, navy blue and gray every day, but I’m waiting for that ray of sunshine. And I’m waiting for that girl to step out on the street in a yellow skirt and white T-shirt so I can tell her she looks great.”
The girl in yellow might be on to one of the season’s trends: Both Webb and Los Angeles-based designer Trina Turk say cheerful yellows are an important color family.
The thing to remember, Webb says, is that sunshine is delivered in several shades. Find the one that works best with your skin tone, or, if you’re still wary of a color that isn’t typically easy to wear, move it away from your face.
Turk loves to see sun-streaked Southern California blondes in yellow — especially when they pair it with crisp white. But, she says, it can work for other hair colors and climates as long as you embrace the optimism and wear it with confidence. “Customers are responding to it because it makes them happy.”
Brights are a signature of designer Matthew Williamson, and, he says, women are ripe to wear them this year as they look to tap into an uplifted spirit in a bohemian shape. He’s launching a limited-run line with Macy’s next month, and it’s a party-girl palette, he says. “This collection is linked to ‘summer is coming,’ so it’s lighthearted approach.”
Turquoise, pink and red are signs for an “instant buy,” according to Macy’s vice president of ready-to-wear Nicole Fischelis. Shoppers will buy a new basic T-shirt just because of the positive vibe attached to it, she says. “If it makes you smile on a rainy day, you see it, you want it, and it works.”
The best-bet value, says Coles, are brightly colored cardigans. “They’re very doable, very manageable and you’ll wear them every day,” she says. (They also are easily worn over any LBD or LWD — little black dress, little white dress — already in the closet.)
Turk ships new stock to stores each month, but a whole season’s worth of styles has a complementary palette so it all looks good together on the racks. Inspired by Palm Beach for her current collection, she has a mix of the yellow, swimming-pool blue and coral.
More subtle, sun-washed shades are part of J. Crew’s heritage and are offered this season as always, Webb says, but she’ll be wearing the more intense greens, purples and reds.
“You can mix almost any two colors together, although it all depends on your style. I like to see a pop of neon with a bigger statement in a bright color. But, you don’t want to clash,” she says.
Some of her favorite bolder pairings are pink and red, yellow and green, and purple with green. You won’t catch her in pink with blue. “That’s a personal thing, and other people might love it, but I personally never put those two colors together.”
Blue, however, is a consistent favorite of shoppers, and mixing intensities is popular, adds Fischelis. No-fail versions are ready-made ombre, batik and tie-dye pieces.
Looking ahead to fall, Fischelis says the emphasis will be on jewel tones and colors associated with the rainforest, including acid green and tangerine, both of which look good against brown, moving back into the darker neutrals that inevitably come after Labor Day.
J. Crew’s Webb says she hopes that cycle eventually will break, though. “I wear red pants all winter. Yes, I mix it with camel or gray, but living in Manhattan, it’s a very gray background in the winter, and you see so much black. … It would be nice if you could wear color all year long.”