There has always been a general reluctance toward the color yellow. Given the natural cheerfulness of the color, you would think there would be more love for the shade, but according to one study I read, only about 5% of women choose this color as their favorite. Giving it some thought, in my 20 years of being a personal stylist, I have never had a client tell me it was their favorite shade. There was actually a study that concluded that wearing yellow can make you less attractive to a potential suitor, and a rumor has been floating around forever that looking at yellow too long can be agitating—which isn’t true. It’s pink that actually can have this effect. This rumor about the agitating effects of yellow started with Carleton Wagner who ran a school for people interested in color. Wagner disliked yellow so much that he discouraged its use of it.

Yellow is like the mushroom of the color wheel, meaning that, like mushrooms, most people don’t develop a taste for the shade until they are older. It stands to reason why. Rarely do parents choose yellow for children unless they are using it as some sort of a stop-gap until they have more information. Waiting to find out the sex of a baby until it’s born? Let’s paint the nursery yellow…or sometimes green. Yet, the irony is, if you put a box of crayons in front of a child, they will most often select the yellow one. Unlike mushrooms, kids love yellow. In fact, when I was around four or five, my parents asked me what color I wanted my room painted and I chose yellow.

Whether or not it is due to nature or nurture why people tend to shy away from yellow isn’t really the point here, but if you have had an instinctive resistance to the shade, perhaps it is time to reconsider. Yellow is a fabulous color that evokes feelings of happiness and warmth, it helps stimulate serotonin which is essential for causing a happy mood. Studies have proven that yellow enhances concentration and gives the brain and nervous system a “ wake-up call.” It’s the reason why legal pads are yellow. Yellow is also wildly versatile. My yellow Felize driving loafers from M.Gemi are actually the pair that gets the most wear because they go with everything.


There are probably like eleventy billion different yellow shades in the world, obviously, some that will look better on you than others, if at all. Not everyone is for yellow and many find it a difficult color to wear. Certainly, this is not a blog post to encourage you to run out and buy more yellow, because what would be the point of that? Color is personal and most people are decidedly either in ‘yay yellow’ or ‘boo yellow’ camps. But, if you’ve been paying attention, may have seen shades of lemon and butter yellow creeping around as new spring merchandise has hit the stores. What inspired today’s post was actually my client, Ms. Botanic —whose wardrobe consists of a lot of summer pastels— who asked me if we could add a bit of butter and lemon to her wardrobe this season. Ms. Botanic, with her blonde hair, big blue eyes, and a preference for soft, muted colors, is likely the last person you would imagine would want yellow in her wardrobe, but these soft, buttery, yellows are actually pretty perfect.

Butter and lemon yellows aren’t just for those with the coloring of Disney princesses, these shades can be quite versatile when you know how to use them. I have put together five looks below using butter and lemon yellows to show you how you can wear them with your coloring.


Butter yellow

The shade of this butter yellow blazer from Hobbs has so much white added to it, the yellow is subtle, soft, and in a creamy, refreshing color. By pairing it with colors with the depth it anchors the loftiness of the color. If these lighter yellow hues feel too light, try anchoring, or grounding the shades with colors that are deeper. The nice thing about yellow is that it works back to just about any other neutral.

In this look, I styled the butter yellow blazer with a striped button-down shirt from Frank & Eillen, a pair of straight-leg jeans from FRAME, a cognac belt from J.Crew, link necklace from Brink & Eliza, and Espadrille wedges from J.Crew Factory.


Lemon yellow

Lemon yellow isn’t just for those with cool, muted coloring. Here it works beautifully as an accent with olive. Yellow is a naturally warm color so it lends itself well to other warmer shades. I styled this lemon yellow t-shirt from J.Crew with an olive jacket from M.M. Lafleur, a black pencil skirt from J.Crew, neutral pumps from Margaux, a bracelet from Kenneth Jay Lane, and earrings from Shashi.


butter yellow

In this outfit, the butter yellow cardigan from BA&SH works well with these sage-colored pants from Equestrian and a hunter-green washable silk blouse from Quince. I finished the look with a statement pendant from Nordstrom, a bone-colored belt from Longchamp, and driving loafers in latte.


Butter yellow

I know what you are thinking, the formula is butter yellows for those with cool muted coloring and lemon yellow for those with warmer coloring. Nope, both these colors work well across the board. It’s not so much the colors themselves that make them flattering but what you do with them that is.

Here, for example, I paired this butter yellow Bella Dahl blouse with a printed scarf from Poetry that has lots of warm spring colors. I finished the look casually for work using these Massimo Dutti crepe trousers and cream loafers from Vionic.


Lemon Yellow

Okay, I get it, there is no way yellow is going anywhere on your body, but, if you recall my blog post about yellow shoes from a few years ago, you will get so much mileage from them. As I said, my yellow Felize loafers are the most versatile of all the six pairs I have.

I styled my favorite Gia flats from M.Gemi with a lavender sweater from Veronica Beard with a cool charcoal pair of pull-on pants from M.M. Lafleur. I finished the look simply with loop-drop earrings from Ann Taylor.

Now admittedly, purple and yellow, you want to proceed with caution on this combination— less is more— Easter is right around the corner, after all.


Ready to add a little happiness to your closet? Check out these additional styles in both butter and lemon