How to wear colour

Keep Calm & Wear Colour 2

I love colour.  Or is it more that I don’t love black?  Black has its place in our wardrobes.  It is generally flattering, universally available and classic.

However, black can also be unflattering too close to the face, especially as we age and lose natural colour.  Universally available can also mean that everyone else is wearing the same black outfit as you.  Classic, unfortunately, can also mean boring.  Sometimes classic pieces can be ageing, particularly if worn with other classic pieces.

I’ve been asked several times to share my secret of how to wear colour.

OK.  Here we go.  Are you ready?


 JFDI.  Just Fricking Do It.  I’ve made it as pretty and pink as I can but the answer actually is Just Do It!

Really, it’s that simple.

I’m going to walk you through the process.

How to wear colour | Step 1

Lay out your outfit in the morning as you usually would to get dressed for your day.  Then take a deep breath, and bravely step into the world of colour.

How to wear colour | Step 2

Look at the outfit you’ve laid out and subtract some black or grey pieces and add colour instead.

Work with me here, okay?  I’m imagining a black dress, black tights, black shoes and a black cardigan.  All black but carrying a leather handbag instead of a leather ball.

This is where the fun starts.  Start switching!  Black tights? Nup. Try navy. Grey scarf? Hot pink instead. Black belt? Leopard print FTW.

How to wear colour | Step 3

Have fun, don’t blend into the background and stop traffic for all the right reasons!

Black Day Dress Outfit

Now, I’m going to show you exactly what I mean.  In this outfit example, I’m playing nice and switching from all black to black with chic neutrals.  An easy way to Try on the Trend.

The pieces are exactly the same, but oh so different!  By keeping the basic black bottom layer of the dress and tights, I’ve created a blank canvas.  I’m not a fan of black with colour unless there’s a print involved or tonal layers of many shades of the same hue; for example, blues over a black top and tights.

For this reason, I’ve switched the black cardigan for a warm gold lurex version.  The shoes are still comfortable and whisper ever so politely that they are chicly conservative – exactly the same as the black version.  The bag in black would work with this outfit, but the unexpectedness of the grey tones gives it an extra edge.

Now, that wasn’t so bad, was it.

Casual Jeans

Every woman alive has a version of the classic Casual Jeans outfit in her wardrobe.  The black and grey version is fabulous – the contrast of the skinny jeans with the oversized knit is flattering.  But the addition of some coloured skinnies and some colour in the top really makes this outfit stand out from the crowd.

In both outfits, I’ve used a classic black cross body bag and black ankle boots, as well as the same grey scarf.  Whilst the grey and black work well in tandem, the grey scarf anchors the colourful look, allowing a further pop of colour in the bright earrings to shine like the little star they are.

Still with me?

Keep Calm & Wear Colour 1

A super easy way of adding some colour to your outfit is with accessories.

Ditch a boring black bag (yes, I did say boring) for a bright slice of sunshine to swing merrily from your arm.

Add layers of necklaces in metallic hues interspersed with coloured beads.  It doesn’t have to be bright – pastels would work just as well.  Scarves.  Bangles.  Shoes.  Colour Pop!

How to wear colour - dresses

One of the easiest ways to wear colour is to wear a dress.  All the hard work is done for you!  These images are from my #Frocktober fundraising efforts last year.

  1. Tonal Colour – choose a block colour dress and add layers and jewellery and tights in similar colours.
  2. Contrasting Colour – wear a patterned dress with contrasting accessories and tights, neutral shoes and bag and a tonal top layer.
  3. Block colour – wear a really bold colour in a very simple style and dial back the accessories to plain neutrals.
  4. Coordinating colour – choose a patterned dress and select accessories, shoes and tights in one of the colours from the pattern.
  5. Coordinating colour – a more casual example.  I’ve also worn this dress with red tights and cardigan, picking up on the button colour.
  6. Coordinating colour  – another example of coordinating colour, this time with a patterned dress.  I could have easily worn black tights with this dress but the coordinating tights dials the look up a notch or two.

How to Wear Colour really is as easy as switching a plain black, grey or white piece for something colourful.  I actually do feel happier when I’m wearing colour.  It’s as simple as that.

Check out some of my outfit examples of how I like to add colour to my outfits and happiness to my life.

Keep Calm and Wear Colour

So, are you with me?  Can you give it a go and switch out some black and grey and white neutrals for some happiness-inducing pops of colour?  I know you can do it and I’d love you to share your examples with me on Instagram or Twitter. Too shy for that?  Email me at

Now, go forth and colour your world happy!  All together now … JFDI!


Kimba Likes // a style blog with a fun family twist! @kimbalikes

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  • Wearing Colour | What I Wore - Kimba Likes - 24 February 2015 - 5.15 am

    […] to read my tips on how to wear colour and how to add colour to your […]ReplyCancel

  • Lisa Mckenzie - 23 May 2013 - 1.39 pm

    Love this post I certainly agree with you ,Black does not suit me much either and I find it ageing unless I wear a bright scarf ,so I am with you on this love colour my wardrobe is full of pinks,oranges and blues and lots of colours inbetween !ReplyCancel

    • Kim-Marie Williams - 23 May 2013 - 6.30 pm

      A bright scarf is a great way to enable people to wear colours that aren’t fab next to their skin, like black. I am not good in white or really pale colours, for example.ReplyCancel

  • Norlin Mustapha - 21 May 2013 - 2.26 pm

    Great tips there Kimba! Love it! So easy yet many are scared to venture into “colour territory”. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • B - 21 May 2013 - 12.43 pm

    Oh, I LOVE it!

    Love the idea of laying things out and SWAPPING things… However, with someone with a small wardrobe (literally), I have to start adding colour at the SHOPS rather than from my wardrobe…

    You will be pleased to know I have bought a TONNE of colourful things to add to my wardrobe lately… Very pleased… Winter will not feel so dull!

    I have noticed a lot of black on black on black over the last week, and, unless you keep everything in pristine condition (no fading, pilling etc) I think it doesn’t look all that great. A faded black vest can make that super cute new black skirt look pretty ordinary. I think a bit more imagination and thought can keep your classics last longer…

    Thanks for putting this together. I LOVE it. You have the most amazing clothes to play with!ReplyCancel

    • Kim-Marie Williams - 21 May 2013 - 3.53 pm

      The laying out idea will still work, I think, because you can look at it and think “I need a pair of cobalt tights, a polka dot scarf in orange and pink shoes”. Need being the operative word, obvs!ReplyCancel

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