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New Year’s resolutions don’t have to be just about losing weight or reaching financial goals: You may also make a bold, new fashion statement. While it’s easy to get comfortable in that shade of green that you know makes your eyes pop, or that brown shirt that always brings out the highlights of your hair, a little change is never bad. One bright way to bring about that change is to reinvent your wardrobe with new vibrant colors.
I don’t think there’s any reason to shy away from color regardless of skin tone or body type.
- Hilary Rushford, personal stylist and founder of Dean Street Society
Color Your World
Monica Diaz is a big proponent of vibrant colors in fashions.
“We’re always attracted to color," says Diaz, a New York-based personal stylist and owner of Monica Diaz Mode. "When you pick up a garment, that’s the first thing that attracts you to it.”
She knows, however, that some people make it difficult on themselves by ignoring the most important element of color selection.
“Some people want to be on trend and that’s it," she said. "They forget about ‘What’s the best color for me?’”
The best way to start answering that question is to determine if you look good in warm colors, such as ivory, orange or yellow, or cool colors, such as blue, burgundy or white.
After you make that call, Diaz says, play around with it by incorporating complementary colors through clothing and accessories, including jewelry.
“The whole idea with fashion is to have fun,” she said.
Hilary Rushford, personal stylist and founder of the Brooklyn-based Dean Street Society, agrees. She says you shouldn't be afraid to stand out with a colorful flair.
“We could all be wearing a much larger diversity of style in general, and I really think it’s about being joyful and being noticed,” Rushford said. “And if you want to be noticed, wearing color is a good way to do that. I don’t think there’s any reason to shy away from color, regardless of skin tone or body type.”
Don’t put pressure on yourself to get it right every time. Practice using tools or the expertise of professionals to guide you in the right direction.
For example, Diaz suggests using a color wheel to see what colors work best together.
"What’s innate to someone like myself might not be to someone in accounting or another field," she said. "Ask a professional -- whether it’s with your makeup, fashion or hair. Don’t be afraid to ask.”
Explore New Horizons
Each season ushers in a new "it" color. During the winter months, expect to see rich jewel tones, such as gold, burgundy, purple, hunter green and blue. As the temperatures warm up, Diaz says, metallic tones will make a comeback. So will everything else from nude and blush tones to bright colors like orange and pink.
What if the "it" color doesn’t go with your skin tone? Rushford says that doesn’t mean anything -- since it's all about your personal fashion statement.
“I really never look at trends for my clients," she said; "nor do I encourage them to look at trends.”
Instead, Rushford says, she urges them to take in new information through style blogs, magazines and other mediums. She wants them to play around with any color matches that catch their imagination.
“A lot of my clients love to do the matching thing,” Diaz said. “But I think complementary colors or even a shock of color is more interesting and stylish.”
Keep the colors popping with accessories, jewelry, makeup and nail polish. For a fun or evening look, Diaz suggests trying bold eye shadow colors.
For an everyday look, go for something softer in the right shade and then make it pop.
“For instance, you can do a beautiful outfit that’s in all neutral and blush colors, like a gray pair of slacks with a cream-colored top, and something like a light pink scarf,” Diaz said. Then, she said, add a bright coral nail polish or necklace: "That makes it become beautiful and interesting.”
Follow the Stars
If you still find yourself struggling to reinvent your look as you enter 2012, look to the stars. Rushford says she likes to identify celebrities who have features similar to her own and see what looks good on them to get an idea of what might look good on her. She also finds some color guides among her favorite fashion bloggers.
“Blair, who blogs at Atlantic-Pacific, has inspired me to sport more colored bottoms," Rushford said. "She has these great purpley-pink slacks, short A-line skirts in yellow and bright pink. ... There's so many more options than when you're pairing everything back to jeans.”
Rushford says she credits blogger Kendi of Kendi Everyday for showing her that dark brunettes like her can wear yellow without “looking like a bumble bee.”
“Sometimes, we get these silly ideas in our head and just need to see it on someone else to realize it’s totally unfounded,” she said.
She points to actress Anne Hathaway as an example of how to make wearing metallic pieces look spectacular.
“She often wears white, gold, neutral shades, but the clothes have sequins, sparkles -- something special that reflects off of her face and makes her glow," Rushford said.
Regardless of what colors you pick or how you pick them, Rushford says you should not dress for the life you have, but for the life you want.
“I think life is about creating providence,” she said. “And one way we do that is with our style.”