Pastels used to be a seasonal Spring thing, but that’s a dated concept. These days you’ll find pastel wardrobe items across all retail seasons. As long as the fabrics and silhouettes are seasonally appropriate, it’s stylish and modern to wear any colour at any time of year.
That said, pastels are still the most well represented in Spring retail collections because they provide a fresh change to the dark colours of Winter fashion, and reflect the crispness of Spring blossoms. Pastels are also thought to have Easter associations.
Pastels are a passionate topic, conjuring up both positive and negative reactions. Some of my clients love to wear pastels. Others like the idea of pastels, but feel washed out in them. Some wear them in the Spring and Summer only, and with caution, choosing their pastel pieces and support acts very carefully. Some wear pastels as accessories, footwear and in patterns, but not as solid clothing items. And some don’t wear pastels at all, thinking of them as twee, precious, juvenile, overly cutesy or pretty, or weak.
Generally, I’ve seen my clients open up more to pastels over time. Some of those who said “never” are eating their words with a grin on their face. Those who were dubious seem to enjoy them more each season. I think the change of heart can be attributed to a couple of factors. First, you need to find the right pastels for your complexion. You might prefer them more saturated, or cooler rather than warmer in tone. Second, you need to think outside the box when combining pastels in your outfits.
I think there are six main ways to incorporate pastels into an outfit:
- Pastels and Black: You don’t have to give up darks to wear pastels. Wear pastels with black, ink blue and charcoal if you want to temper the sweet and soft, and add the hard edge.
- Pastels and White: Wear pastels with shades of white and metallics for a fresh and crisp effect.
- Pastels and Other Pastels: Combine a couple of pastels in one outfit, and throw in some white and metallic accents. For example, combine blush pants with a light blue top and finish off the look with silver shoes and bag.
- Pastels and Tonal Colours: Combine a pastel with tones of similar colours. For example, wear tomato red and coral with pastel pink. Or ultra violet with lavender and lilac.
- Column of Pastel: Make a statement by wearing the same shade of pastel from head to toe.
- Pastels and Brights or Earth Tones: Remix pastels with all sorts of brights and earth tones. Lilac looks fab with emerald green. Cobalt looks nice with peach. Turquoise is fun with seafoam and mint. Ice pink is lovely with olive or burgundy. One of my favourites is to combine light blue and/or blush with citron and white.
I enjoy wearing pastels. I do not feel washed out, weak or twee wearing them. I wear blush and light blue the most, but I also like peach, aqua and seafoam. I like them best when remixed with white and sour brights.
Currently, these are the pastel items in my wardrobe. Note that a light blue denim wash counts as a pastel.
Over to you. Do you wear pastels, and how do you like to incorporate them into your outfits?