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How to wear sunshine yellow

Jess Cartner-Morley
·2-min read
<span>Photograph: Suki Dhanda/The Guardian</span>
Photograph: Suki Dhanda/The Guardian

Wearing yellow is like smiling, but with your clothes. Quite a useful life hack at the moment, when masks make it tricky to smile at the world in the normal way. There is something generous about wearing yellow, perhaps because it’s a colour that’s usually more about looking cheerful rather than smouldering. When I wear black, it’s to make myself feel good about the way I look. Yellow radiates the joy outwards instead.

I don’t go in for anything remotely woo-woo (in fact, I’m borderline allergic), but there is no denying that different colours bring a different energy. When you walk into a room in a yellow dress, it is as if you have thrown open the windows to bring in sunshine and fresh air. In a red dress, it is as if you have walked over to the speaker and turned up the music. Colourful clothes are like a highlighter pen, but you sweep them across your actual day, rather than into your diary. Pick whichever one your day needs to make it pop.

This is a universe thing, not a fashion thing. A change in seasons has a powerful psychological impact on all of us, not just because the weather is different, the colours are different, too. The same parks and fields that were an inky smudge of grey-green-brown in January and February are now dotted with fairy lights of pastel blossom. There is colour all around, which makes brights feel easier to wear.

Related: The time has come to liberate yourself from your puffer jacket and be frivolous again | Jess Cartner-Morley

It’s easier to break out of neutrals in spring and summer for practical reasons, too. When it’s freezing and leaving the house requires not just a dress but a jumper, hat, scarf, gloves, coat, tights and boots, then anything other than a neutral colour palette ends up looking messy. Now that spring is here, coordination is less of a juggle.

Wearing colour doesn’t have to mean matching clothes and accessories head-to-toe (in fact, I’d suggest this is best avoided, unless “the Queen opening a leisure centre” is a vibe you are aiming for) – just that with a delicious pastel frock you might want to consider, say, a pale shoe rather than a black one. You can do that, because it’s spring. Which is always a reason to smile.

• Jess wears jumper, £195, fundjumpers.com. Dress, £185, essentiel-antwerp.com. Shoes, her own. Styling: Melanie Wilkinson, assisted by Peter Bevan. Hair and makeup: Sophie Higginson using Oribe and Tom Ford beauty