So which colors are considered fashion neutrals? I think of fashion neutrals as being in one of the following three categories: basic neutrals, metallic neutrals, and patterned neutrals.
Basic Neutral Colors in Fashion The following colors (and their tints and shades) fall into the category of basic neutral colors:
Metallic Neutral Colors in Fashion
True metal colors are also considered fashion neutrals. They include:
Patterned Neutral Colors in Fashion
Patterned neutrals include the following patterns when they are done predominantly in neutral colors:
- Glen plaid
- tiny checks
Do Neutral Colors Really Go with Anything?
Although I like to say that neutral colors go with anything, and that's theoretically true, some look better than others with certain items. For example, if you're looking for a jacket to wear with a dress that has a colorful print on a black background, a black jacket or sweater will be the best choice. A tan jacket just doesn't have the same panache. However, let's say you want a sweater to wear with a red dress. Any of the fashion neutral colors would work.
Although I probably wouldn't wear more than two fashion neutral colors in the same outfit, neutrals can certainly be worn together; for example, high contrast white and navy or white and black look great together and have a sharp and crisp look that's especially appropriate for spring and summer. Likewise, tan and white could make a good color combination that seems especially good for warm weather wear. Unusual combinations of neutrals are also workable and sometimes appear in high fashion; these might include such combos as black with brown or black with navy.
Using Neutral Colors to Build a Wardrobe
An easy way to build a wardrobe is to select one to three fashion neutral colors that you like and that look good on you, and begin assembling some fashion basics in these neutral colors. It's a good idea to have the following items in the fashion neutral colors that you have chosen:
When selecting your core neutral colors, keep in mind that dark fabrics recede and make the wearer look thinner, and light fabrics advance and make the wearer look bigger. That's the reason that I'm much fonder of the dark neutrals than the lighter ones. The two neutral colors that I rely on again and again are black and navy. I find that almost all my fall and winter clothing will go well with either black or navy or both. In the summer, I still wear some black and navy although not as much as during the fall and winter, and I also add a bit of white and light tan to the mix.