Most retailers observe what I call the “Banana Republic Rule.” Each time they produce a new item, it generally comes in three or four colors: white, black and whatever hue they’re pushing that season.
This means that your average Hill staffer owns a lot of purple, navy, gray and pink because these are generally the hues BR is selling. The color palettes are typically muted to keep them versatile and the prints are usually done in neutrals. But there is a fine line between versatile and boring.
Luckily, this season’s color palette is expanding beyond the standard blues, purples and pinks. By far and away, my favorite color palette of the Fall is greens and yellows. This comes as a surprise to Miss M who often remarks on my unabashed love for all things mulberry, raspberry and grape. But this season, I am all about emerald, olive, chartreuses, mustard and lemon.
Emerald: Of all the colors in this collage, this is probably the most versatile. It blends easily into any wardrobe, pairs with all neutrals and can be worn without regard to season. This cardigan from Marc Jacobs (Bluefly, $107) could be worn with white and navy in Summer, and grey and black in Winter. But why choose such a boring color combo?
The nice thing about these five colors is that they can be blended together. The olive shirt belted over the chartreuse dress. The mustard blouse under the emerald sweater. And the lemon ring with any or all of them. This is what fashionistas refer to as tonal dressing, mixing different shades from the same side of the color wheel.
Olive: This blouse (Madewell, $110) combines two of the season’s hottest trends the silk cargo shirt and army green. It pairs perfectly with jeans and cognac boots or belted over a tan dress. If you like earth tones, then olive is your preferred shade of green this season.
Chartreuse: Like Brussel sprouts and boy bands, this color gets a bad rap. Chartreuse is the perfect shade of muted green for blondes and red heads. And if Phillip Lim thinks so (Rolled Sleeve Pencil Dress, $575), who are we to argue?
Lim paired this dress with an ivory draped jacket and black accessories, but you could also mix in beiges and nudes if you prefer.
Mustard: Unlike most yellows, this hue is neither sunshiny nor citrusy. It’s a refined, muted yellow that is better suited to a multi-season, grown-up wardrobe. This top from J.Crew ($40) is perfect for pairing with greens and other yellows, but if you want to step into the fashion master class, a mustard shade with more brown in it pairs well with red. Ketchup and mustard, a classic combination.
Lemon: Like its vibrant friend citrine, I believe that lemon is best left in the accessories department. A pale yellow jewel, scarf or belt can lift a green hued outfit, but clothes in this color are too seasonal for my closet.
Sadly, if you love the ring in the photo, you’re out of luck. Because I bought the very last one that Bluefly had for sale. But if you want a lemon quarts ring, I would suggest this modern choice from H Hammerman or this affordable rhodium ring.
If you’re looking to branch out from the purple and blue shades of the clothing retail stores, try something in green or yellow this season. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how it lifts your wardrobe and your spirits.