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Video: Bring out bright colors for spring

TODAY contributor
updated 2/26/2009 11:22:04 AM ET 2009-02-26T16:22:04

As First lady Michelle Obama has demonstrated, incorporating color into your wardrobe can result in a statement-making look that’s bound to get attention. Opting for bold hues can surely be a way to wow, and the shades you choose can say a lot about your personal style. Get ready to throw open your closet doors and revamp the rainbow of options you already own! From neutrals to brights, TODAY style editor Bobbie Thomas is here to offer a colorful perspective on dressing.

Finding your color
When trying to determine what looks best on you, it’s important to evaluate the combination of your complexion, eye color, and hair color — as well as the contrast between all three. Seasonal color analysis is the most popular way of breaking down a person’s best hues, offering four categories: Winter, spring, summer and fall.

If you don't want to get too in-depth, the basic concept to grasp is whether you look better in warm, earthy shades like browns, yellows and oranges, or cool ones like jewel tones, blues and purples. However, it is possible to be neutral, and pull just slightly more towards one side or the other.

One quick cue for determining your color category is to look at the colors of the veins on your wrist. If they're more of a greenish tone, you're typically considered warm, while bluish veins are typically considered cool. Another fast way to tell is by using metal – those who look better in yellow gold are usually warm, while those who lean towards the silver side are generally cool.

Once you've determined what category you fall into, it’s easy to choose hues that look good on you. But that doesn’t mean you can only wear colors that come up on your chart! Instead, just remember to frame your face with the right shade by wearing a top, scarf or necklace that suits you well, and then incorporate other colors into your bottom basics or accessories such as bags and shoes.

Pretty in pink
From carnation and bubble gum to magenta and fuchsia, we're seeing every shade of this season’s “it” color hit the stores for spring! Once you're past your trendy twenties, you may be tempted to push pink to the back of your closet, but there is actually a sophisticated way to wear it.

Be sure to avoid frilly or fashion-forward pieces in pink, and instead, go for classics like the trench, button-down, shift dress, or sleek skirt. As a general rule, remember to wear a trendy color like pink in a classic cut or style, and wear a trendy cut or style like a jumpsuit in a more classic color. As seenon TODAY: Belted trench coat in Cosmopolitan Berry, $49.40, Oldnavy.com

The tonal trend
You can mix many different shades of one color family into the same outfit for a modern take on monochromatic. Alternating hues in this way can add visual interest, creating depth and even helping to elongate. This is also a great way to wear a shade that may be tough with your coloring. To get this look right, remember to frame your face with the most flattering shade, then incorporate the trendy color lower down.

For example, someone with warm coloring would want to place orangeish-red hues towards to top, while wearing more bluish-red towards the bottom, while the opposite holds true for those with cool coloring. As seen on TODAY: Cobalt Blue linen blazer, $79.50 Zara.com; Cap sleeve dress in Ribbon Royal, $74.99 Bananarepublic.com; United Colors of Benetton scarf

New neutrals
Not all neutrals are equal! Beyond basics like white, beige, and gray, come oyster, sand, slate, blush, and even peach. But while these shades may be called neutrals, the name can be deceiving. You have to be especially careful with these colors, as the wrong shade can easily wash you out. Pay special attention to your skin and consider undertones before embracing one of these hues. 

For example, there are peach-based beiges and others that are more green or yellow – again, one is cool based, and the other is warm. Don't be afraid to combine slightly different shades such as cream, ivory and vanilla – while all neutrals won't work on you, they will typically work well together and offer a more balanced spectrum. As seen on TODAY: Satin Inset tank in Potato, $32.00 Urbanoutfitters.com; Flyaway ruffle cardigan in Silver, $39.50 Express.com; Stretch summer weight Bermuda in Honey Brown, $49.50 Jcrew.com

Black & white & bold brights
The classic color combination of black and white is a big trend for 2009, but don't be afraid to add a splash of color to the mix! The strength of vivid hues can hold their own against the stark contrast, and a pop of vibrant color can even ground patterned versions of the combo.  Try breaking up a busy black and white floral dress with a bright belt, or add some life to a classic ensemble with a shocking shoe or bag. This is a great way to be bold in your dressing, while relying on a relatively conservative combination. As seen on TODAY: Pleated Blouse in Rich Green, $39.99 BananaRepublic.com; Scribbly Plaid skirt, $69.50 Express.com

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