This season's color story is looking on the bright side. It serves up a tropical punch of tutti-frutti hues. Fruit-flavored colors go head to toe, either monochromatically or in incendiary combinations.
Not only do the splashy shades look good, they also provide instant feel-good.
"Brights have always psychologically created an up feeling," says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute which tracks color trends in the design world.
"In these tough economic times, one thing you can change is your immediate environment your clothing by adding color. It's a ploy to spark up your energy, just like wearing a red raincoat on a dismal day."
"Bright colors always pop next to the earth tones or traditional black and white," says Mariana Keros, public relations director for The Limited. "They add a positive attitude and put you in a good mood, as opposed to the darker colors. They're high energy and portray a sense of power."
For fall The Limited will offer bright color palettes in angora sweaters, boucle jackets with skirts and cashmere blend blazers.
Most of the brights are flattering, but wear yellow with caution, or you'll look jaundiced, Eiseman says. "The brighter the yellow, the darker the skin needs to be."
While brunettes and redheads have the upper hand on lemon, blondes, too, can wear yellow by selecting a paler shade that won't compete with their hair color, she adds. Or circumvent the issue by keeping the color away from the face.
"Colorblocked clothes, for example, allow you to wear a cheerful yellow," Eiseman says, "and at the same time you're wearing another bright color near your face that reflects well on your skin."
Unlike yellow, pink in one shade or another is flattering to almost everyone. And there's a lot of it this season.
Pastels generally look better on blondes, and darker pinks look better on brunettes, Eiseman says. Light pinks are romantic, and brights "take romanticism to the point of being sexy."
If you plan to indulge in this season's color riot, pay attention to fashion strategies. Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, offers these hints:
* If you're self-conscious about your legs, keep hosiery and skirt the same color. Without it, the hemline cuts across the body, drawing the eye to the legs.
* Wear brights to create emphasis. "If you have a Scarlett O'Hara waistline but you're less than thrilled with your legs, wear a belt with a bright splash of color."
* You can wear bright shoes, for example, even if your feet are big provided you follow the "rule of three." That means wearing the same bright color in two other accessories. "Add a bright scarf or costume jewelry or belt, so that the eye has something to connect the feet to the rest of the body."
* Anytime you wear a bright color near your face, heighten your blusher so you don't look pale.