Need a mood booster? Go wild by colour blocking in bold shades

  • Style
  • Sunday, 24 Apr 2022

Colour blocking is easy with pieces that already implement the colour combination for you. Photo: dpa

There’s a thin line between some cheerful colour blocking and dressing like a parrot. But in dreary times like these, fashion designers are urging us to be bolder and brighter with our colour choices.

Are you ready for pink and orange though?

Beige, grey, dark blue, black – if these colours are your safe place, maybe this year is your chance to make a change.

You are likely to see talk about colour blocking, where people wear an outfit made up of several different and distinctive colours. You can’t miss them, either.

This season look to plenty of cheerful-looking outfits. Photo: dpaThis season look to plenty of cheerful-looking outfits. Photo: dpaAnd we aren’t talking about slender pinstripes or tiny little flowers, but broad swathes of bold colour.

You’ll see people wearing combinations of monochromatic items in different strong colours. Shoes and bags offer further opportunity as their own separate colour blocks.

Read more: Vanity Fare: Lip and eye colours take on the vibrant shades of summer

So your look could be made up of a green shirt with a yellow skirt, a bright pink top with pink trousers or a red dress with a soft pink blazer.

Looking at the latest collections, orange plus pink or rose is one striking – and unusual – colour combination.

A further novelty is that many garments already feature colour blocking built into their design, as Glamour magazine editor Madeline Dangmann says.

That could be a sweater with thick, bold stripes that you might match with a pair of jeans or a skirt in more neutral tones. Otherwise, create your own combination.

“Those who are just discovering this trend for themselves should initially limit themselves to two colours for their combination,” says Dangmann.

“Because mixing three or four strong shades together requires a lot of fashion flair to ensure the result looks good.”

This style also relies on the fact that the looks themselves are pretty plain, aside from the shades involved.

Colour is the feature in the foreground and there are no frills, flounces or other distracting details.

If you are just venturing out with this style then start out with monochrome items from one colour world, meaning different shades of a colour, such as “two striking reds or blues,” Dangmann says.

All this adds up to an undeniably cheerful-looking outfit, perfect for bright and sunny days.

If you are living somewhere rainy, they may lighten the mood a little, too – not forgetting the pandemic which inspired designers in their selection of colours in the first place.

“The fashion for intense colours is first of all related to the restrictive situation we have all faced over the past two years: Remote work, limited contacts, no parties,” says fashion analyst Niels Holger Wien of the German Fashion Institute in Cologne. “All of this has meant that the fashion colour world has been rather restrainedly achromatic.”

That’s changing in a big way. “People want to go out, be seen, enjoy life, meet other people,” says Wien. “The intense colours you get in colour blocking really trigger positive emotions.”

It’s a trend that has been dubbed “dopamine dressing”, fashion that makes people happy, thanks to dopamine a hormone that triggers feelings of pleasure.

The entry into stylish colour blocking can be achieved by combining shades of one colour family. Photo: dpaThe entry into stylish colour blocking can be achieved by combining shades of one colour family. Photo: dpaHere we come to the combination of pink and orange, which also aims to inspire happiness.

Read more: Women's fashion takes a walk on the wild side with fun and riotous designs

“On the one hand, these are reminiscent of flowers like hibiscus or turmeric. On the other hand, pink and orange are also the tones of a southern sunset – and automatically give off holiday feelings,” says trend analyst Niels Holger Wien.

However – as is often the case in fashion – the orange and pink trend is not really new, but has made repeated appearances since the late 1960s.

“Nevertheless, this form of colour blocking is not a retro trend,” says Niels Holger Wien. “While this particular pink-orange used to be reserved more for haute couture, it has now reached daily life. Accordingly, the looks are also much more casual and natural than in earlier decades.”

Be warned however that not all colour blocking combinations are as straight forward as they may sound.

There is a perilously thin line between a bold look and looking like a parrot, even in designers wear and that is not to everyone’s taste.

But fashion consultant Milena Georg says every woman can wear this look. “Colour blocking works well for you to adapt the look to your own particular appearance.”

That means you can have darker colours on the sides of a dress, for example, so parts of your silhouette look narrower, visually.

If you are embracing the trend, then Georg suggests you decide to either opt only for strong tones, or only for soft shades. – dpa

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fashion , trends , colour blocking


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