If we needed any more proof that pale colors are back, simply look to many of the dresses we saw on the red carpet for the 2010 Oscars. Pastels with the faintest whisper of color are all the rage. Generally speaking, pale colors can be tricky to wear; depending on your skin tone, they can wash you out or even age you. Worn correctly, they are incredibly feminine and can even be sexy!
Pale solidsWe shy away from pales, thinking they will make us look bigger than their darker counterparts. In general, dark colors can camouflage while lighter colors emphasize, but the cut and construction — not color — of clothing is always the single most important factor in determining the most flattering body shape. When wearing pales, look for silhouettes that fit your body shape and complement your skin tone perfectly. Look for shapes cut close to the body that emphasize and create an hourglass shape. You can go either way with accessories in terms of color: Stay with similar pale colors/light neutrals or try popping pales with brights in a similar color palette for a chic day look.
Dress: Bebe $89 lavender pleated neck available at Bebe stores nationwide
Shoes: Nine West; $89; New Bonfire platform pumps in Natural available at and Nine West stores
Handbag: Maxx NY, $120; Jasmine satchel perforated box calf in purple available at
Necklace: Gerard Yosca, $198; long pale pink glass beads Style: N9302 Pi, available at Henri Bendel department store
Earrings: RJ Graziano; $30; pink multi lucite available by calling (212) 685.1248
Bracelets: Swarovski Crystallized; $18-$46; stretch bracelets available at
Ring: Gian Paola Maria for Swarovski Crystallized; $10; Soft - Pastels,
We are still seeing lots of metallics for spring, some a bit softer this season and more “brushed looking.” The sheen of these metallics looks great on darker skin tones, even for day. One way to wear them is to combine two different metallic tones in an outfit. Metallics — all metallics — are neutrals, so they combine easily and to great dramatic effect. For day, try mixing silver and gold by choosing one with a stronger sheen and one with a softer one. Mix with a neutral pant or skirt for a look that can easily take you from day to evening or work to cocktails. Be aware, however, that shine, like pale, adds emphasis, so again, look for the best shapes to flatter your figure as much as possible.
Top: Ann Taylor; $48; cowl neck shell Style: 241902 in Light Ground Pepper available at
Cardigan: Ann Taylor; $88; woven knit w/silk detail Style: 237875 in Soft Pewter available at
Pants: Ann Taylor; $79; slacks in Heather Gray Style: 234091 available at
Shoes: Steve Madden; Luxe @ DSW; $59.95 Sweet in black suede available at DSW stores
Handbag: Calvin Klein; Loehmann's; $89.99 gray leather tote available at for stores
Earrings: Gerard Yosca; $198; antique silver and gray glass stone Style: E9212 ASGY available at Henri Bendel department store
Necklace: Alexis Bittar; $495; Lucite Collection: Caterpillar necklace in warm gray; or call (212) 625.8340
Bangles: Alexis Bittar; $17;5 Lucite Collection: medium abalone bangle in medium gray and $150 skinny abalone bangle in medium gray; or call (212) 625.8340
Bangle: RJ Graziano; $35; gun metal available by calling (212) 685.1248
Ring: Alexis Bittar; $195; Miss Havisham: scalloped pewter ring; or call (212) 625.8340
Prints add visual interest to soft colors and help the wearer avoid looking washed out. Look for pale prints, tie-dyes and florals in soft cottons or silks for great, modern flowy looks that are ideal for lazy weekends. They are reminiscent of the hippie ’70s style, but beware of too much volume; these pieces can start to look too much like you're headed for a love-in if they are too drape-y! The prints themselves, however, are an easy translation from runway to real life. Pair these kinds of tops with jeans, slouchy or skinny, and the new high-heel clog or a great cork wedge to nail the look and still flatter your figure at the same time.
Top: H&M, $24.95; sheer floral top available at select H&M stores
Pants: Elevenses, Anthropologie; $88; blue linen sailor available at Anthropologie stores
Shoes: Seychelles; $100; Care to Dance leather and wood clog in WHI available at
Handbag: Zara; $99; sand suede bag available at select Zara stores
Sunglasses: LOFT; $24.50; large ombre available at
Earrings: Anna Balkan; $150; hand wrapped 14kt. gold filled amethyst, (687) 592.4542 for stores
Necklace: k-amoto; $54; Washington necklace in gold available at
Bangles: Alexis Bittar; $425; Lucite Collection: large gold metal mesh bangle in Ice and $395 medium cubist angular hinge bangle in Ice, or call (212) 625.8340
Rings: Wendy Culpepper; $88; hammered vermeil bands in gold;
Nude with a pop colorNude is the ultimate pale neutral. You can be pale and still wear pale neutrals. The trick is to notice the subtlety of the color: Look for nudes that have a slight pink or blue undertone. Nudes with yellow undertones rarely work on any skin type and can make you look sickly. If you are tan or have darker skin, there is already enough contrast between your skin and pale clothing to create a visual impact. When you are pale, add a pop of color, like doing a nude with a red lip. Add a pop of color in your accessories, too — a bright shoe, or belt or bag, even colored jewelry. As long as the undertone of the nude is right for your skin, the effect can be dazzling — even on blondes and redheads! This is a particularly good look for evening, very feminine and sexy.
Dress: H&M; $34.95; nude chiffon pleated; H&M stores
Belt: Topshop; $50; silver beaded stretch available at Topshop NYC
Shoes: Bandolino, DSW; $49.95; Hither in medium red available at DSW stores
Handbag: Franchi; $215; Unique metallic clutch in pewter available at S&T Brooklyn, NY, call (718) 375.2000
Earrings: RJ Graziano; $38; pink multi lucite, call (212) 685.1248
Bracelet: Simply Vera Vera Wang, Kohl's; $42 jet-tone floral bracelet;