In the endless world of personal style where the choices are immense, some things can feel hard to narrow down figure out for ourselves. Have you ever seen something that looks killer on someone else but wonder why it falls flat on you? How can she radiate in that white trench while on me it just looks blah? While fashion is meant to be fun and nonrestrictive, there are some tricks of the trade that can help make things a little less complicated. I wanted to share one of my favorite tips with you today in hopes of making your next investment purchase a little easier... finding your power neutral.
What's a power neutral? Whether you're a girl who loves to wear lots of color or not, there's always going to be a neutral tone that you need to have in your wardrobe. It's not the red dress you pull out for rare special occasions. It's that go-to tone when you buy your first expensive handbag, or the shade that takes up most of your leather shoe collection. This goes beyond favorite colors and personal preference. There's an actual color that's the strongest choice for you visually, and it's always going to help pull your look together.
So how do you determine your power neutral? It's so simple you're going to be like, "how did I not think of this?" It all comes down to one thing... YOUR HAIR. Yep, that's it. The bottom line is this: when your staple everyday wardrobe pieces like bags, shoes, leather jackets, and that one go-to special occasion dress match the tone of your hair, everything is in visual balance. So for me, my base hair color is dark brown which means that a neutral in that realm is my best bet - dark brown or black, as opposed to nude, blush, or white. I've always been a gal who loves black, so that takes up a lot of my wardrobe especially for the investment items. My first three nice bags were black and one dark brown. Until recently, ALL my leather shoes were black.
If you think of your look from head to toe as a composition, it makes sense for there to be a balance between your head, your feet, and what you're carrying on your arm. Sprinkling that neutral throughout your outfit, counting your hair as a "matching accessory," gives it a sense of cohesiveness throughout. But don't worry about being TOO exact - black is good for dark hair, but so is navy for summer, and burgundy or deep brown in the fall. The highlights in my hair right now make the more saddle browns work a bit better than if I was all dark right now.
I'll never forget the time in my twenties when I was obsessed with the idea of buying a white leather bag. I had seen them on a few ladies around NYC and thought it looked so fresh. But whenever I looked at them in the store, it always looked so severe when I held one in the mirror. Don't get me wrong, it's not that it's a major snafu to wear the opposite neutral, but I eventually realized that the ladies who looked so effortless with the white bags were the ones with light blond hair.
Lately as I've softened up my style, I've been having fun bringing some blush and caramel tones into my shoe and bag collection. But I will say that sometimes putting outfits together with those pieces are a little trickier than my go-to black. Sometimes it feels like my feet get lost with my lighter blush clogs, and all this dark hair on the top making it look out of balance. My point is that you can always feel free to experiment in your wardrobe however you want, and there's a time and a place for every color you like. But I love knowing that when I really need to pull out the big guns, say for a photo shoot at those epic windmills in Palm Springs, I can go to a statement black dress and my staple black leather jacket, and know it's the right choice for me.
So, to figure out where you stand with your neutrals, think of your hair on a scale of 1 to 10 in lightness to darkness, and match that to a realm of neutrals on the spectrum. If you have light brown or dark blond hair, try the camels, grays, olives, and medium browns. If you have super light blond hair, you'll kill it with the whites, creams, and soft grays and blushes. These are a great place to start with your investment staples, and once that part of your wardrobe is well stocked, you'll feel more ready to start adding in some of the other tones. I've got my eye on a light toned leather jacket next. I know I won't wear it AS much as my black one, but since I'm covered for black, I'd love to expand the options.
So, I hope this was helpful for you in getting inspired for your everyday staples! My guess is you might already be unofficially incorporating this tip, but I find that having an explanation in our heads of why things work can help us in making decisions.
As always, happy shopping!
Photography by Ashley Burns