Neutrals: Breaking the Rules

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modest neutral fall/winter outfit

Neutrals are the backbone of any good wardrobe. They are an essential in every woman’s wardrobe and every man’s wardrobe as well. For years we have been under the assumption that there are certain neutral rules which dictate how we style and what we can wear with them. For example: You can’t wear black and brown but you can wear gray and black. Today, I want to remove these time honored rules by breaking them and introducing to you a few unsuspecting additions to the neutral family/


Mixing Neutrals.

mixing black and brown. Found on Google.

mixing black and brown.
Found on Google.

This is completely acceptable. You can mix black and chocolate brown as long as one of them is anchored in something else, such as an accessory or pair of shoes. You can also mix navy and black. Be wary though, some navy blues are so dark and saturated that they look black. Avoid these. Reach for a true navy. Against a black skirt, pant, or jacket, a true navy looks distinctly blue.



Pseudo Neutrals.


Pseudo neutrals include: Navy, Burgundy, Army/Olive, and Mustard. I capitalized each of these neutrals, because I wanted them to stand out to you, not just in name but in their shade. Each of these is a richer shade of a true color: blue, red, green, and yellow. Each of these shades are distinct enough to be used as neutral, by pairing it with color and patterns. Yet, each of these shades are rich enough to be considered their own color to be paired with other neutrals.




Metallics are a neutral. They are also considered a pseudo neutral, as they can be paired with other colors, or paired with other neutrals thus functioning like a unique color. Metallics are limited to three colors: gold, silver, and bronze. These neutrals often function best as accent pieces in accessories and shoes. However, as sequin skirts are making a splash, they are taking a front and center row. You can mix your metallic. However, unless you wish to look like an Olympic podium, it is advisable that you keep your mixing to two metallic and not all three.


Animal Print.


Yes, animal print is a neutral. In all cases it is a mixed neutral. Animal print goes with everything- except itself. You can pair your leopard print blouse with a green skirt and navy blazer for work. You can wear that same blouse with a pair of jeans, silver sequin shoes and go out on the town. The one thing I would say for you to never ever do is go matchy-matchy with your animal print. It will look tacky and outdated. A little bit of animal print goes a long way.


The rules for neutrals were meant to be played around with. No longer are we regulated to pairing a color on top with a neutral on the bottom. No longer are we denied the ability to mix our neutrals. They still remain the backbone of a great wardrobe, but now they are a fun and exciting staple that, when styled creatively, adds pop and visual interest.


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Brittany Blackwill
I am an ESL Instructor by day and a fashion blogger by night. I love colored denim skirts, long skirts with twirl, and a strong cup of coffee. You can follow me on Pinterest, Instagram, or my blog.
Brittany Blackwill

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