I talk about neutrals and non-neutrals all the time, and take it for granted that you know what I mean. But neutrals mean different things to different people, so I’m going to share my definitions. For me, neutrals fall into three categories: pure, fashion, and personal.
Black, white and all shades of grey are pure neutrals. These neutrals do not show up on the colour wheel because they are absent of colour. So in the strictest sense, black, white and grey are the only true neutrals.
In fashion, black, white and grey are considered neutral, but so are quiet colours like dark blues, shades of brown, shades of tan, taupe, mink and beige, shades of olive, and blue denim. In fact many earth tones are thought of as neutral because they are frequently found in nature. When I talk about neutrals in blog posts, I am referring to fashion neutrals, and not just pure neutrals.
Because style is a very individual thing, I take the concept of neutrals a step further because there are colours and patterns that you might find extremely versatile and grounding to wear. Hence, they function like a neutral in your wardrobe and style. For example, bright red is “a neutral” for me because it works with everything. I wear it much the same way I would wear fashion neutrals like denim blue, white, and dark blue. I think similarly about pastels like blush pink and light blue. Others might view burgundy, eggplant, animal prints, and greyed colours like duck egg blue and sage as “neutral” for their style.
Hubs Greg is a purest when it comes to neutrals and thinks of navy and olive as colours. Neutrals to him mean black, white and grey and that’s it. Clearly, I’m not a neutrals purist, and take great liberties with the concept. How about you? How do you define neutrals?