Spring 2018

Cherry tomato, chili oil, lime punch and coconut milk may sound like they belong in the kitchen, but they’ll be popular colors for clothing when the weather heats up.

At New York Fashion Week’s spring preview shows, lots of color was in bloom with cheery frocks and low-frill separates in vibrant brights and calming pastels. Oftentimes a single striking hue was worn from head to toe.

A similar scene is already starting to turn up in stores, from retail chains such as White House | Black Market to local boutiques like No. 14 in Lawrenceville. Seafoam greens, baby pinks, soft lavenders, buttercup yellows and corals, in particular, are popping up in fashion ads for spring, too.

While these shades are easy on the eyes, they can be a challenge for devotees of black, white, gray and brown to embrace -— but that doesn’t have to be the case! A couple of Pittsburgh-based stylists have shared their tips for how to warm up your wardrobe to the idea of color.

Stylist Christina Stein (www.christinajstein.com) has a soft spot for sporting all black but knows how to help her clients find the perfect pop of color.

Take baby steps: “Start with finding a classic piece you love in a color you normally wouldn’t. It’s not necessarily the color that you’re wearing but how you wear it. Just one piece makes all the difference to start on that train of wearing color.” Examples of starter pieces: A trench, a blazer or simple accessories.

Don’t worry about being matchy matchy: “Don’t fix what’s not broken. If you have a ton of pink in your closet, wear the same color but in different shades, like a hot pink top with baby pink bottoms. You don’t have to have the exact shade all of the time.”

Bored by the monochromatic color trend? “I’m really gravitating toward pieces with patterns. There are beautiful floral pieces that were done in such modern ways … for the woman who needs easy clothing.” Designer picks: Alice + Olivia, Tracy Reese and Tanya Taylor.

Julie Shields (www.houseofcolour.co.uk) is a chief consultant and owner of House of Colour Pittsburgh, which helps people identify their “wow colors” for their wardrobe.

Remember the 10-second rule: “If you’re in the changing room and you put something on and your eye immediately goes to the color, the color is probably overwhelming you. The job of color and clothing is to accentuate you. If the color takes over, you’ve taken it a step too far.”

Make pastels your new neutrals: “They’re kinds of colors that can replace those stark whites [such as a shirt]. I love the idea of a masculine suit with a really soft pastel.”

Play with color on the bottom half of an outfit, too: “It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, and it doesn’t have to always be just color on the top. A really pretty lavender pencil skirt or a fabulous sea green pencil skirt is a fun thing.”

Sara Bauknecht: sbauknecht@post-gazette.com or on Twitter and Instagram @SaraB_PG.