Reader Jessica submitted this request in a comment:
Do you have a post on how to wear neon without looking ridiculous? If not, I’d love to see one!
I remember neon. I lived through the 80s. I never in a million years thought I’d don these blaring brights again but here we are in the 21st century, and I’m just as smitten with neon as I was back in 1983. I know that it’s not a color family that holds universal appeal, but if you’re curious about how to wear neon now and make it look fresh, here are my pointers:
Dabble in near-neons
Cop-out? Maybe. Great way to dip your toes into the highlighter-colored waters? Yup. Bright, light colors like this near-neon yellow and bold brights that appear to vibrate a bit in full light are great options for those who can’t quite handle true neons. Citron is a great option – a hybrid of neon yellow and a more citrusy one. Search for the color as you shop online and see if any options catch your fancy.
Create a modern color mix
Back in the day, neon was worn with black. I mean, if my feeble memory serves it was neon on black and that was just about it. These days, neons are thrust into all sorts of color mixes – with primaries, with neutrals, with pastels and muted tones. If puzzling that out feels daunting, start with gray. Modern neons pair beautifully with gray, and gray creates a softer mix than stark black.
This is another gateway to neon: If dresses and sweaters feel too overwhelming, try a bracelet, a pair of flats, a scarf. Something small that will serve as a chic neon accent, but won’t drown you in vibrant brights. Throw your neon tidbit into a mix of muted tones and watch it perk them right up.
Play with pattern
Neons are bold and bright, so throwing them into a mix that includes patterns might seem like a recipe for an Outfit Headache. But subtle, subdued, or colorless patterns can do amazing things to neons. Black and white patterns with some irregularity to them work well – zebra print, abstracts, and the like – whereas bold, regular black and whites may seem overbearing. Any pattern that has a color verging on neon can be amped up when paired with true neon, as is the case with the scarf in the outfit at the top of this post. Play around with patterns and see how they transform your neons.