Pastel a Go-Go

Since we’re in recess, The Hill Life is taking a brief break.  So the Wednesday afternoon space will be filled with fashion content until further notice.

Over the holiday, I finally had some time to flip through the photos from the Spring 2012 fashion shows.  From Alexander McQueen to my beloved Erdem, the most obvious trend was pastels.  The shows were awash in shades of lavender, peach, spearmint and baby blue.  And let me just say, I was not amused. 

You see, I’m a jewel tones person.  A neon person.  A neutrals person.  Peachy-pinks and pale yellows leave me colder than Saskatchewan in January. 

But despite my personal feelings about pastels as a whole, I’m willing to admit that, when worn correctly with planning and forethought, pastels give the wearer a breezy, feminine quality that no other color palette can match.  Here are some pastel pieces that don’t make me want to dress in all black in retaliation.

From Left, Tissue-Weight Cashmere Scarf (Nordstrom, $78), Leather Cuff (Miss Selfridge, $10), Zac Posen Dress (theOutnet, $557), Pastel Knit Jumper (Topshop, 38 British Pounds), Pastel Glitter Ring (Asos, $15), Cocoon Skirt (TopShop, $70 British Pounds).

I think the key to wearing pastels successfully is two-fold:

1) Choose a piece that you would buy in any color.  The dress above, for example, has lovely vintage details and a flattering shape.  The fact that it is lilac doesn’t detract from it’s loveliness, even for me.  In fact, it adds to the dresses girly appeal.

So tip 1 is don’t buy pastels for pastels sake.  Buy the pastel piece because you like it and will be able to wear it  even after the trend goes cold.

2) Don’t wear pastels with black.  It looks weird, like wearing satin evening shoes to work.  Wear them with tan, navy, light grey and white. These neutrals compliment the softer shades, however, be careful not to mix in white too early in the season.  Wear this color combo before June, and you’ll look more like an extra on Miami Vice than an on-trend fashionista.

Pastels are definitely big for the Spring season.  So if you’re a fan of softer tones and Easter egg-colored hues, congratulations!  But if you’re unsure, as I am, you don’t have to dive head first into the softer side of the crayon box just to fit in.

Personally, I’m thinking about embracing this trend by investing in a pastel eye shadow palette, like this one from Smashbox, or some pale nail polish shades.  Makeup is a great way to brighten up your look and take advantage of a trend without making a long term commitment.


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  1. Cici says:

    Belle, I love pastels on others but have a fear as the youngest and one of only a few women in my corporate office that I would look too much like a little girl or like I belonged at an outdoor spring party… Would love to see how you could incorporate a pastel piece into office attire or suggestions on how to pair with the right shoes and such for when it's still coat wearing weather.

    January 4, 2012/Reply
  2. cginnyc says:

    I second Cici's request. I have always stayed away from pastels – I like them but don't know how to build a look around it. Would love some posts in future that show entire outfits incorporating pastels. Thanks in advance!

    January 5, 2012/Reply
  3. Ms. B says:

    For years pastels, any time of year has been in my clothes bible. It helps get threw the winter drearies, adds softness to the holidays, and in general just helps me actually feel pretty. Glad to hear they are going to be on point this spring. That yellow scarf is wonderful!! Bravo Belle.

    January 5, 2012/Reply