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How To Wear Neon Colors


This past week the Del Mar Races opened its gates to the joy of many gamblers, horse enthusiasts, and about-towners. All of which, showed up in their “racing” best. Everyone knows opening day at the races is all about the outfit and, of course the notorious head accessory. Between the hat contest and the need for attention, some women take their hat choice into the realms of crazy with brims that extend into the personal space of others and topper embellishments that could accessorize an extravagant tropical beverage. For me, comfort always comes first. This puts cumbersome head decor at the bottom of my list. Instead, I choose discreet head covers that sit quietly atop my noggin. My attention getting is reserved for the dress. This year I chose an up-to-date  neon colored silk dress from Patterson Kincaid.


Neons can easily drop into the dated category because of its trendy 80’s inspired origins, but if you choose the right neon color and pair it well, you can have a successfully chic look…

After putting neons on different skin colors, I see no standard equation for which neon looks best on which skin tone. These brights are too far away from a natural skin tone to put you at risk of a sallow appearance, but I have found that orange doesn’t look great on tan skin and certain yellows do not flatter many pale skin tones. Beyond that, choose a deep shade of neon instead of a freakish electric or cheesy 80’s hue. I find green and pink are the biggest offenders of this. If you are already unsure what color to choose, just skip green and pink. Instead try the sunny yellow, chartreuse (pictured on me above), coral, lighter blues or purple.

When talking neon accessories, avoid patent leather or plastic. Skip all those shiny neon heels or belts. Speaking of neon belts, skip anything wide. These bright hues are best on the skinny waist cincher. It is better to think small in neons. Get the slim neon yellow leather bracelet and avoid the chunky neon cuff. Same with style. A neon shift dress is more impressive than neon on a peplum dress with lots of details. The bright color will spice up the simplicity of a plain dress, tank top or mini skirt, whereas the brightness can ruin a complex garment.


Another tip for staying current with neons is the rule of one. Neons are best on their lonesome. If you choose the neon bracelet, that’s all you get. If you choose the dress, that’s all you get. If you choose the nail polish, that’s all you get. The rest of your outfit should be in neutral shades. The neutrals that look best with neons are navy, nude, light grey, white, nudes and camel. Black never updates neon. In general, black should be no where near a bright color.

For choosing the right bright denims, click here.

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