If you’ve been shopping online, you may have noticed how many bright colors are out there. Often, when I find myself with writer’s block and can’t figure out what my blog post is going to be about, I’ll take a spin online and look for some consistency among different online retailers. No surprise, it was bright color that jumped out at me because it is, after all, hard to ignore. If you look at the spring/summer colors Pantone forecasted, in addition to some muted, hushed tones, there are a lot of brights According to Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, “Colors for Spring/Summer 2023 are recalibrated for the new era we are entering. Blending escapism with reality. There is utility and basic-ness to this season’s color story, while at the same time, there is an uplifting vital sense of play that comes through.”


To me, these lively colors feel invigorating, as if we’re taking what’s been done before and giving it a much-needed refresh, similar to how a room can look completely different and fresh simply by giving it a new coat of paint. Curious about why bright colors feel timely in the world right now, I researched and learned that throughout the centuries, various world events continued to inspire trending colors. Bright colors defined the Great Depression in the 1930s, offsetting the gloom and despair of the time. Throughout the ’30s, rich and saturated renditions of yellow, red, blue, and green were trendy.  In the 1950s, light-hearted pastels became popular in response to the World Wars and as prosperity and consumerism swept the nation. Color trends aren’t just dictated by fashion trends, it’s much deeper than that.

Therefore, it stands to reason that we’re craving color. We’ve come out of a desperately stressful time not just as changed people but living in a world that looks quite different than it did prior. Yet, we’re still living in a time that doesn’t feel entirely optimistic, settled, or clear to us. Brightness in color could be our response to what we are all craving— a bright future ahead and that big sigh of relief that everything is going to be okay and that another shoe isn’t getting ready to drop. In addition, women changed tremendously during the past few years, particularly women in the workplace. As I was preparing this blog post, I recalled a client of mine from last year whose interest in a colorful wardrobe was so indicative of how women changed during the pandemic. You can read about it here.


Despite cultural and societal changes, adding bright colors to a work wardrobe can feel tricky. There still are lingering views and opinions that a work wardrobe should be in sensible and reasonable shades, like navy, grey, and black. And, while I would agree, these more serious neutrals will always have their place in the wardrobes of the average working woman, you can have it both ways. For today’s post, I have put together some work outfits that incorporate the bright invigorating optimism you might be craving.


Bright colors

What makes color trends easy to incorporate without having to trash your entire wardrobe is that the base neutrals of your wardrobe —your sensible neutrals, can remain while the rest changes. Case in point, this basic navy dress from The Fold that I styled with this bright tangerine blazer from Veronica Beard. Everything about this looks, including the pumps from Margaux and the drop link earrings from Jenny Bird, would work with a topper piece in any shade.


Bright colors

Bright colors may be popular but that doesn’t mean they are easy for everyone to wear. Brights have high chroma which is what makes them very clear and vivid. This blazer, from M.M. Lafleur, cuts down the brightness of this happy green sweater from Boden and better balances the look for someone with softer coloring or who just isn’t that interested in being too attention-getting. The cream crepe trousers from Massimo Dutti, add to the refreshing appearance of the look and style well with M.Gemi’s chunky oxfords. The look is finished with an Etro scarf which picks up the shades of the outfit, while also adding some new brights and a basic layered necklace from Madewell.


Bright colors

Bright colors as bottom shades keep the brightness away from the face if these types of hues don’t flatter you. Colored bottoms, in general, are also a great solution if you have a large assortment of black and navy tops in your closet and are puzzled by what to do with them. I styled this clean look using fuchsia pants from MICHAEL Michael Kors, with a navy sweater with striped underlayer from Brochu Walker, I finished the look with Birdies loafers, globe hoops from Quince, and a winter white coat from ALLSAINTS.


Bright colors

Embrace color without actually wearing it. You certainly don’t have to actually wear colorful brights, you can add them with your accessories. This look is rather classic and understated. I used this dark coral work bag from Cuyana to add a punch to the outfit. The outfit consists of a classic pair of charcoal pants from Theory, loafers from M.Gemi, a basic washable silk blouse from M.M. Lafleur, and a very classic trench. The outfit is finished with a printed scarf from Poetry, and a necklace and earrings from Monica Vinader


Bright colors

I love colorful shoes, especially in the spring and summer. They can make a huge impact on a basic look. Yellow is a shade that works well as an accent with just about any color. If you want to get the most from your brights, yellow is a choice to consider.

In this look, these bright yellow flats complement shades that are very muted and warm, proving that brights also work well with deep, warm, autumnal shades. I styled this M.M. Lafleur olive dress with a deep rose pink coat from Acne Studios, a camel cashmere scarf from Everlane, a long gold pendant from Brook and York, and a work tote in toffee from Demellier.

Embracing bright colors in your wardrobe does not mean your wardrobe needs to be seen from the Space Station. Adding small touches in strategic ways can easily be incorporated no matter what your current wardrobe looks like.