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How to ditch the black and inject more colour into your wardrobe

Jayne Cherrington-Cook
·4-min read

Watch: Stylist, Antonia O'Brien, shares some top fashion tips and encourages us to feel good with colourful wardrobe choices

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There’s not a whole lot to be cheerful about at the moment, but there is one definite way to inject a little bit of joy into your life – by adding some colour into your wardrobe.

However, if you’ve spent years shrugging on all-black ensembles, it can be hard to break out into the colour zone. Thankfully Antonia O’Brien, stylist and TV presenter, has plenty of tips to share that will help ease you into brighter shades.

Choose bright accessories

If you’re wary of colour, O’Brien recommends a great way to dip your toe into bold colours is through accessories such as shoes, handbags and jewellery.

“If you want to try colour, but you don't think that it suits your skin tone, just wear it away from the face and the décolletage, because then you're not seeing the colour right against your skin,” she advises.

Buy it: Laina 55 Fuchsia | £65 from Clarks

Laina 55 Fuchsia
Laina 55 Fuchsia

Throw in neutral shades

Bold, bright shades don’t look quite so scary when they’re teamed with more neutral shades such as navy, white, camel.

“If you're choosing separates - say a printed blouse, skirt or trousers - why not anchor the look if you don't want it to be too colourful with a neutral,” says the stylist

Choose ‘neutral’ prints

One way to ease yourself into bolder shades is by choosing a print that mixes a strong colour but on a more neutral base colour such as black or white. This means you can be more adventurous with your colours.

A brightly coloured floral print is instantly toned down if it’s on a black background – and means you can safely wear black accessories, such as tights or boots, without it looking too mismatched.

Buy it: Floral Print V-Neck Midi Waisted Dress | £39.50 from Marks and Spencer

Floral Print V-Neck Midi Waisted Dress
Floral Print V-Neck Midi Waisted Dress

Go bright with your coat

In the UK, we wear our winter coats for a long period of time so choosing one that’s colourful is an easy way to add a bit of colour to your winter wardrobe.

“It's the first thing people see for months,” says O’Brien. “Look for stuff that maybe has a little bit of detail in the cuff or collar or somewhere, just to liven up your sort of dark dressing.”

Buy it: Double Breasted Blazer Coat with Wool | £79 from Marks and Spencer

Double Breasted Blazer Coat with Wool
Double Breasted Blazer Coat with Wool

Think outside of the (colour) box

You may think a bright, bold suit would not be an investment to buy, but O’Brien urges everyone to think a little differently about how they can wear their buys.

“I've had this orangey pink suit in my wardrobe for years,” she reveals.

“I wear it as often as a suit, as I do separately in the summer months… simply with tailored shorts and a white tee or over a printed dress.”

For winter dressing, she recommends veering towards rich, autumnal jewel tones as they make a “joyful alternative to black.”

Buy it: Plus Ruched Sleeve Blazer | £17.50 (Was £25)

Plus Ruched Sleeve Blazer
Plus Ruched Sleeve Blazer

Don’t forget your makeup

If you just can’t be parted from your darker shades, why not try and add a bit of colour by way of the makeup you wear? The easiest way to do that is with a slash of bright lipstick.

O’Brien suggests you choose a shade that makes you smile but does advise trying on a few to see which suits you the best.

She says: “If you do want to invest in a kind of colour pop lipstick, I would recommend just going to a nearest department store - one that has reputable beauty brands - so you can try different colours, get different advice and see what colour you love the most.”

Buy it: Lipstick Queen Saint | £22 from John Lewis & Partners

Lipstick Queen Saint
Lipstick Queen Saint

Watch: This is how a stylist organises her wardrobe