Staying bright in winter: Wearing summer colors year-round


Joel C. Bautista | The Ticker

Lily Ransom

Dear Lily,

Can I wear summer colors in the winter?

-Mayer Z.

Dear Mayer,

Summer colors often consist of bright, tropical colors and cool tones. Salmon pink, aqua blue and pastel yellow are a few examples. 

These colors are happy and outgoing and often look good on people who have a tan, which is why they’re typically only worn in the spring and summer months.

The colors we wear often match nature, such as deep reds and browns in the fall to match the fallen leaves; greys, blacks and jewel tones in the winter to match the weather and bright, sunny colors in the spring and summer to match the sky, flowers, trees and so on.

But just because we’re entering the land of grey skies and leafless trees doesn’t mean it’s a requirement to dress accordingly. 

Particularly in New York City, you can wear whatever you want. Seriously. 

That being said, you may stand out in the winter if you dress in peachy pinks and bright blues. 

There is no specific rule against doing so, it’s merely the status quo that most people like to abide by. In regards to your color palette, you may want to heed this cliché if you’re not inclined to stand out.

There are, as always, some exceptions. Neon colors, though typically associated with summer, are very popular in the winter. 

Or perhaps it’s just a trend at the moment. Regardless of the reason, I see people wearing neon sweatshirts all the time and they look great when toned down with dark pants and a dark jacket. 

Adding a pop of color to an outfit can be a welcome change from all the dark and dismal tones seen on everyone else and give your outift a cool edge.

On top of neon colors, even white can be worn. I wrote a piece months ago about wearing white after Labor Day and how it is allowed. 

You can wear white in winter. It’s funny how people think you can’t because, as I mentioned before in regards to color palettes matching nature, white matches the color of snow.

Sometimes white looks fantastic and crisp in the dead of winter. Maybe you just can’t bring yourself to retire your favorite white jeans, so pair them with a chunky, black, turtleneck sweater and black boots, and voilà, you have yourself an amazing winter outfit with white. 

There is also “winter white” which is basically just off-white. It’s called “winter white” because for a long time it was deemed the acceptable shade of white to wear in winter. That still holds true; the only difference is that it’s no longer alone. Regular white is also perfectly acceptable for winter. 

I recently paired white jeans with an off-white sweater and got so many compliments. It may sound surprising but people have nothing against white in winter.

As I always say, dress how you feel comfortable. If you absolutely can’t part with your sunny yellows and peaches in the winter, bring it on. 

We could all use a little sunshine anyway.