Color Me Chic - The Art of Wearing Yellow

by Anna Villaruel
(Seoul, South Korea)

April 16, 2012: One of the trendiest colors for Spring and Summer 2012 is Yellow, and comes in various shades that are sure to beat those depressing blues! Citron yellow, which is a clear and almost neon-like color, is one of this season’s highlights, but if you’re not looking to make a fashion statement, you’ll still look on-trend with paler shades of yellow, or a more soothing, sensuous yellow that leans on orange.

Oscar de la Renta SS 2012 RTW - yellow dress
Courtesy of Oscar de la Renta SS 2012 RTW

The chic’est way to wear yellow is going the lady-like route with pencil and A-line skirts or a pretty sun dress. It just adds to the cheerful golden hue, creating a chic and flirty vibe:

Shop the latest yellow skirts and dresses for Spring Summer 2012
Product info: (left to right) Pencil skirt - Pleated dress - Print skirt - Ruffle dress


If you want to make a subtle impact, start small with accessories such as a pair of sandals, a handbag, earrings or a statement necklace. These go great with your wardrobe essentials as well as other garments in solids and neutrals.

Yellow accessories for Spring Summer 2012
Product info: (left to right) Sandals - Handbag - Necklace - Ring

Just make sure to select an accessory that is placed on an area where you want people to take notice. And trust me, wearing yellow won't go unnoticed!

Let's look at my fashion tips on how to select your best yellow and how to wear it:

Select the right shade of Yellow

Warm complexions shine in yellow. But if you have a definite Cool coloring, then you probably already know by now that warm colors aren’t your best colors. An alternative is a pale, icy yellow - it harmonizes best with cooler skin tones, eye and hair color.

If yellow looks so-and-so or plain horrible on you but you still want to give in to the yellow fever, wear the hue away from your waist, preferably somewhere from your waist and down. Think sandals, handbags, skirts, bracelets and rings. Keep in mind that tanning adjusts the color to suit your skin tone.

The different nuances of Yellow


So how do you figure out what kind of yellow look good on you? The value/intensity of your coloring is an indicator. Is it light (blonde hair, grey hair, blue eyes, etc.)? Then you’ll look best in light to medium yellow. Is it deep (dark hair color, dark eye color, etc.) ? Bolder yellows will suit you perfectly. Click here to learn more about wearing your best colors.

Note: Do the terms such as "Value", "Intensity", "Hue" and "Undertone" confuse you? I don't blame you, these words are commonly used by image consultants and are applied to describe the different types of nuances of color. The color terminology goes like this: Hue (the undertone - cool or warm), Value (the intensity of a color - light, medium or deep) and Chroma (the clarity of the color - soft or clear). If you're still puzzled please check out the section on Color Theory.


Here’s an overview of what yellows work with the various colorings (your dominant coloring characteristic):

Cool – Icy and/or pale yellow
Deep – Icy to bold yellow (you need to experiment here because many Deep tend to be olives/a mix of warm and cool which look good with most colors)
Clear – Citron, neon-like yellow (medium value if you have a lighter shade of hair color)
Warm – You’ll look good in yellows between medium to light value
Light – Light yellow and medium yellow with white-print
Soft – Medium yellow

Note: This is just a guideline. The perfect shade of yellow depends on your makeup, tan and if you look best in warm or cool colors. You may also flow between the various color groups.


How to combine yellow with other colors

Yellow looks good with blues and greens, as well as with coral pink and orange. But the right color combo (and the chic'est in my opinion) depends a lot on the undertone (warm or cool) and value (light, medium or deep) of the color you want to pair the yellow with.

Light + Light, Medium + Medium, Deep + Deep = Aesthetically pleasing


One of the strategies to putting together a pleasing color combination is to select the same color value (see: Color Theory) for both garments. Pale yellow looks best with lighter shades of pink and blues. Deep yellows harmonize with deeper pinks and blues.

How to combine yellow with light, medium and deep colors

The goal is to avoid shifting the colors too far away from each other on the value scale - so pairing light with medium works. Or deep with medium.

Exception: Neutrals - such as black, dark navy blue, white, olive green and beige - go with all color values.

Color-blocking with Yellow


However, if you want to create a bold pop of color-blocking, you can instead wear a yellow that shares the same undertone as the other color. Cool with cool. Or warm with warm.

How to combine yellow with warm and cool colors

Keep in mind that universal colors such as turquoise, mid-grey and pewter are a mix of cool and warm - and work great with all colors regardless of their undertone.

Exception #1: The value of the color (ie. light with medium, light with deep, etc.) doesn't matter.

Make yellow your focal point

If you prefer dressing classy then focus on one yellow focal piece and work around it with neutrals, solids and basic pieces. It gives a soothing and streamlined look. Try a yellow dress paired with neutral sandals and a handbag.

Yellow focal dress outfit
Product info: Earrings - Dress - Handbag - Sandals


If you want the yellow to look extra pretty and make it stand out more - pair it with warm neutral accents such as gold and tan.


How do you feel about wearing yellow? Does the cheerful color lighten up your mood, or do you feel blah?

Click here to post comments

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More Shopping & Chic Inspiration at the TCF Blog:
The Chic Fashionista's Latest Trends Picks - Chic Runway Looks and Must-have Trends and Trendessentials The Chic Fashionista's Chic Inspiration-blog - Outfit ideas, celeb style and trend styling tips The Chic Fashionista's Stylish Finds - Latest trends and shopping picks, sales & discounts, link round-ups and featured posts & blogs/sites Learn more about the fashion basics on how to look your best and dress stylish

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