What does a red accent do for your outfit?
There's never been a better time to wear some red
There are three things we know for sure following the unveiling of the Spring collections: The shorts are going to be very short next season (they’re basically underwear).
Sheer mania is just getting started,
And the color red will continue on with its campaign to hold the position of Best Color Choice to make right now.
That red has become such a hot ticket in fashion represents to me the onset of the slow death of minimalism in fashion. This is chiefly because the easiest way to get into that trend was to deprive oneself of print and color, to opt for clothes that probably resembled what we were already wearing, but in more neutral palates — and thus the easiest way out now may be to add a bit of color.
Psychically, there might be more to it, because red represents so many things beyond just a call for attention: action, stimulus, love, fervor, passion, aggression, anger, and so forth. And when consumed in the wrong dosage, red can be as painful as it is pleasurable. Look no further than the fairy tale of The Girl in the Red Shoes.
Don’t get me wrong, there have been stand-out indicators on many of the recent runways that make a strong case to go all in.
But unless you can nail the balance so precisely, tip the scale so that it’s exactly even on both sides, it can yield a lot of intensity. Maybe more than you are going for. So practically speaking (and with the exception of the photo of Miuccia Prada above), I say red is best served in one’s day-to-day used in moderation — as an accent point more than the main event.
It can contribute to the desired wackiness level of a look as seen above at Gucci or it can function as the sum of an outfit’s character. Some demonstrations of what I mean, more suited to one’s day-to-day (and the potential, practical implications that come with it) are here, starting with a look to break up dark neutrals:
The other way I assembled this looked more like:
But in the end, I liked the bike short variation a bit better. The motivation with both the same: take something utilitarian and add an accent of whimsy (the silk scarf), made more dynamic because of the color of the scarf. It gives the rest of the look a little lift — and in the second instance, accentuates the necklace I put together (it’s actually a bunch of rings and one dangling earring that looks like a pendant strung through a spiral choker) as part of the whimsy.
Disrupt the minimalism.
Khaki and denim are colors emblematic of American workwear and sportswear — of minimalist accessibility. When you add a red accent (could be as strong as an undershirt or as slight as a pair of shoes), you add a new dynamic to the tried and trues that make it fun to play with more accents, like a glittering, hard hell clutch.
Red also thrives as the pulse you add to an otherwise look of basics.
This is another interpretation on the above denim/khaki look, but made with more “corporate” casual basics (the blazer, rly) and the red accent in this instance serves the same function but on an otherwise quadrant of the look. The big gold pinky ring (Paola Sighinolfi) and wrap bracelet play into the same let’s-get-fancy vibe.
Red can assert your presence, capital P! (So, actually, what I mean is Presence.)
A great dress on its own, but a statement when interpreted this way. You know?
I also like it to offset gold like this:
Over the complete tableau of a weighted look like this:
It tucks in nicely to the sum of a soft look.
And can somehow break down tougher wears:
You can call this pairing the warm red heart you’re always trying to protect with all those layers of coping mechanisms that masterfully shroud it, but only if you want.
As a standard accessory within a standard look, red thrives as a pair of shoes:
Or as a bag.
Try it even as a pair of gloves.
It gives an instant uplift to the rest of the outfit.
But your accent doesn’t have to be so straightforward. It can be a main event transformed into a side dish, like this sweater tied around the waist in one instance:
But worn balls to the walls in another:
Part of why this one works is because of the balance — the other elements (snake pants, gold boots) are personality pieces in their own right.
Your red accent can be as slight as a dash of lipstick —
Or as daring as pants under a formal dress.
The key thing to remember is that it’s your tableau, your dosing call. So do what feels right — bring in as much or as little fire as is necessary to warm the home of your person.
Some key pieces, most of them cultivated from the above, below in collage form:
And that concludes this edition. Have a great week,