Sunday, 16 September 2012

How to Wear... Neon

As I'm not really the UV face paint, glowstick raver type, I wasn't that excited by the neon trend when it first exploded this year. But you know what it's like when something gradually infiltrates your subconscious, slowly leaching into you via osmosis from every magazine page and high street display stand you stumble across, until eventually the cogs creak into action as you become desperate to find a way to work it into your personal conception of style... After easing myself in with a few mini-hits of hot pink, I graduated to highlighter shades of lemon and lime, finding that it was actually a really fun and wearable way to inject a modern twist into some of my favourite vintage-inspired looks.

The Sporty Pipe
My first foray into sports luxe... Subtle hot pink piping and mini-cut outs turn a basic LBD into a casual-yet-sexy one-step wonder which lets you hit 3 fashion hotspots simultaneously (neon, sports luxe and peekaboo cut outs). I emphasised the piping detailing with matching neon lips, and added heeled high tops (invested in a good few years ago, weeeell before the wedge trend hit, btw) to keep it sporty with a glam twist.

Dress: Primark (SS12)
Shoes: Peacocks (Past Season)

The Neon Peplum
Like pastels, neons can work to add oomph to an otherwise neutral colour palette, or colour-blocked with other brights.

The lemony-lime version of my favourite neoprene Primark peplum, this top gives you vintage glamour with a sports luxe, highlighter-hued spin. I wear it with the same kinds of separates as I'd wear with other peplum tops - skinny jeans, capri pants, pencil skirts etc - for a timelessly classic feel endowed with a sunny, sporty edge.

Crayola brights are a great foil for bright whites - the shade of the top has the biggest impact in this ensemble, but neon pink accessories add a couple more pops to keep it interesting.

Top: Primark (AW12)
Jeans: New Look (Past Season)
Bag: Primark (Past Season)
Shoes: Peacocks (Past Season)

All-over brights turn a set of fifties-shaped separates into an eye-poppingly contemporary combination with an athletic vibe. Choosing a slightly more muted, darker tone for the capri pants stops it from looking too playschool and lets the peplum retain the limelight. (Limelight? Chortle.)

Top: As Above
Capri Pants: Marks & Spencer (Past Season)
Shoes: New Look (SS12)

The Crayola Pencil
Like its sibling, the neon top, the neon pencil skirt looks great paired with neutrals or other neon shades, and adds a modern, sporty twist to a vintage silhouette. (This one is also a prime exemplar of why you should linger over Limited Collection before retreating towards the scones when you next pop into M&S!)

I think the contrast between a monochrome floral graphic and a block neon, which shouldn't go together, works as the combination of vintage shapes so obviously should go together. This juxtaposition of visuals combines the classic and modern in an intriguing manner, almost as if the skirt is bringing a "black-and-white" look to life (getting deep here!!). White peep-toes (and neon nails) bring the tones of the look together.

Skirt: Limited Collection at Marks & Spencer (SS12)
Top: Primark (SS12)
Shoes: Office (Past Season)
Nail Polish: Marks & Spencer

It also looks stunning paired with other neon brights. A crop top paired with a high waist automatically evokes a flirty fifties feel, but the top's lines and colours are strongly reminiscent of the nineties and have a functional, athletic vibe. I've kept the shapes simple for a sleek, sports-vintage outline - when combining multiple influences, I think too many shapes and shades can confuse the eye and dilute impact - but to edge it away from vintage and further into sporty, a loose tee would also work well. Ribbon tie wedges pick up on the vintage vibe, but again, trainers would look great for a sportier feel.

Check out my other posts for more crop topmidi action.

Skirt: As Above
Top: Topshop (SS12)
Shoes: Peacocks (Past Season)

Transitioning Into Autumn/Winter
There's no need to jettison all your brights in favour of blacks and greys come November - neon works just as well to add pep to a palette of darker neutrals as lighter ones, and bright knits, tights, belts, bags, statement jewels and, er, wellies will keep you smiling in the snow.

Tomorrow: Colour Blocking Continued...

See more posts featuring neon here

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