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How to Wear Color-Block Trends for Women Over 40, 50, 60

Color Block: George at Tesco, Next, M&Co, photos prshots.com

by Tina Boomerina (Christina Gregoire)

Have you tried the new color-block fashion trend, yet? Well, I love color and I’m not afraid to try mixing things up any old way I want. I’m not sure that my (sometimes clashing) adventures into outer-fashion-space are technically considered color blocking, but I love playing with clothing.

And, I know what I can or can’t wear by evaluating my different combinations in front of my mirror. If I start laughing or crying, I know that what I've put together is probably not my best look.  And, that is what I recommend for all of you women over 40... try different combinations of clothes and colors and patterns until you find a new "style" you really like. Don't keep wearing the same old boring stuff in the same old boring way until the end of your days.

What Are Color Blocks?how to wear color blocked clothes

If you’re a first-wave Boomer, you may remember the Mod dresses that copied the abstract color-block art of Piet Mondrian.  Well, the new "color blocking" is a takeoff on that same 60s style.

However, this time around, the “blocks” don’t have to be squares or rectangles; they can be any solid shape or any solid piece of clothing.

So, unlike the swinging sixties, you have several easy ways to make your outfits into "blocks" of color:

  • Buy a color-blocked dress (or handbag or shoes) where the designer has already come up with a pattern that works.
  • Go to your closet and pull out all your solid-colored tops, skirts, dresses, purses, leggings, tights, and shoes. Then put them together in new ways.
  • Go monochromatic. Start with a black and white geometric top or dress, then keep building on it until you have a whole outfit that's all black and white.

Bright Colors Worn Together

To really do the trend right, you are supposed to combine several bright, solid colors in one outfit.  Now, I love bright colors, but I don’t always like colors that are Crayola bright.  And, that’s because I’m blonde (well, I’m gray and mousey brown camouflaged by blonde) and the truth is that I can be overpowered by too many bright colors.  Wearing a bright hat helps to balance things out, but that’s a different matter.  So, people like me might need to tone things down a bit by using:

  • Two bright colors and several neutrals
  • Strong colors (that are somewhat muted) paired with other strong colors of the same intensity
  • Color blocks from the same color family, like pink and red or turquoise and cobalt.
  • Color blocks of neutrals, like beige and black or chocolate and white.

If you have high-contrast coloring of your own, for example, black hair and fair skin, you can put more brights together without looking like an idiot.  And, this trend is so cute; you can wear super bright (not quite neon) solid colors next to other bright colors. Nature has already shown you that high contrast is your natural look.

Three Colors Plus Neutrals

how to wear brightsBefore you go crazy with a purple blouse, a green skirt, an orange purse, a blue jacket, and red shoes, the fashionistas have come up with some mistake-proof rules to keep you from looking like a bag lady on Valium.

  •  Never wear more than three bright colors in one outfit.
  •  Other colors should be neutrals (like beige shoes, a black belt, or a white skirt).
  •  It is fine to wear only two brights (and some neutrals).  One ready-made, color-blocked item (like a color-blocked purse, color-blocked shoes, or a color-blocked dress) is enough.  The rest of your outfit should be solid blocks of those same colors or solid neutrals.
  •  Artsy types don’t need to follow the rules.  (I just made this up.)  If you have a good sense of color, balance, and proportion or you don’t mind that random people may take pictures of you, you are released from following the guidelines.

Scale and Placement of Colors

It’s common sense that you don’t want to place a block of hot orange next to your face if orange is your worst color.  You can wear orange, but use it for a belt or a purse.  And, you don’t want have two high-contrast colors meet at (or draw attention to) the worst part of your body.

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Tina Boomerina (AKA Christina Gregoire) is a Baby Boomer born at the end of 1952. Her mission is to make the internet a kinder and gentler place for Baby Boomer women around the world. Tina's specialty is fashion for women over 50.

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