After a long break, we’re back in action here at Style Challengers. What better way to kick things off than with a Spring fashion challenge? Joining me is my first official guest challenger—my lovely daughter, Emma Killeen. We decided to experiment with the super bright colors that are everywhere right now. Neon is a bold and playful trend that can be worn at any age, as long as you don’t mind getting noticed. Which we don’t. After a long, cold winter up north and endless months of staying home and social distancing everywhere, we are ready to get out and be seen. Here’s what we’re wearing, why we chose it and how we feel about it.
I was unsure about wearing super bright colors. I usually dress in neutrals—black, white, brown and denim—because they’re versatile. I describe my personal style as ‘elevated basics’. I invest in high quality clothes in classic styles that I get tailored to fit just right. Then I wear them over and over again. I’m not one to buy into trends easily, but I’m a creative person, I like color! The best way for me to hop in on a trend like neon is to buy a T-shirt or funky accessory in that color. That way, I’m current but it hasn’t cost me an arm and leg. Also, my neutral wardrobe really makes the color pop! Recently I’ve really been loving kelly green, orange and bright pink.
I’m training for a half marathon, so the first place I thought to add color was in my workout clothes. Anything to distract me during those long painful miles! I kept it simple by wearing a single color like this matching highlighter yellow Lulu Lemon top and running shorts and pairing them with a white hoodie and running shoes for a clean look. A bonus for runners—when you wear neon, drivers will certainly see you coming down the road!
Lean-in Color Outfit
I decided to lean into the neon trend by mixing my bright orange Aerie sweater with more colorful pieces from my closet. The mix of warm tones makes the outfit look cohesive. A bright accessory like this Mango purse is an easy way to try a trend or spice up any outfit. Neon is supposed to be fun, so I decided not to shy away from going all out. I’m glad I did. I’d wear this outfit to dinner with my girlfriends or swap out the cropped tee for one with more coverage and wear it to work.
“Am I too old to wear neon?” I asked myself at the start of this challenge. It’s not a subtle look for anyone, much less a woman who’s pushing 60. But I’m attracted to the vibrant hues—they sizzle with positive energy—so I was excited to give the trend a try. I didn’t spend a lot of money on these pieces but I think they deliver a big bang for the buck.
The easiest place to find neon is in athletic wear. Have you ever shopped for women’s golf attire? It’s a riot of color and pattern! I paired this lime green IBKUL zip golf shirt with bright Nike sneakers then toned it down with my favorite black Athleta joggers and a H&M belt bag. I would be as comfortable wearing this cheerful, stretchy outfit walking along Chicago’s lakefront as I would be hitting the farmer’s market here in Bonita Springs.
Blinded by the Bright
Not sure how I got the guts to come up with this head-to-toe fuchsia and pink combo, but I actually love it. As Emma said above, white is the perfect cool counterpoint to bright colors and I accessorized this J. Crew blouse and Gibson & Latimer pants with white booties, watch and earrings from my closet. It’s getting too warm in Florida for long pants and sleeves, so I’m going to wear this girly look for a night out or weekend brunch in Chicago. I feel like the Easter Bunny would dig me.
For this challenge we went all in, but sometimes a little pop of neon color is enough. Says Emma, “If you’re unsure about wearing so much color, start by painting your nails! It’s cheap and noncommittal.”
If you decide to play around with this vibrant trend let us know. We’d love to share your photos here and/or on our Instagram account @stylechallengers . Thanks Emma for being my fellow Style Challenger this week. It’s so fun collaborating with you. Now who’s next?