Skip to main content
The M Dash

Live with purpose.

how to pair bright colors

How Two Pro Stylists Incorporate Bright Colors Into Outfits

Color-pairing ideas that go beyond black and white.

By Emma Steinbergs

Shamrock. Amaro. Cardinal. Blue jade. These are just a few of the vibrant colors we’ve released recently, and it comes as no surprise that you’ve welcomed them with open arms and accommodating closets. (We know you love a jewel tone.) But being beautiful isn’t always easy: Despite their appeal, these stunning hues can be difficult to pair with other pieces—aside from your obvious black and white options. 

Over the past few weeks, our stylists have heard this feedback a lot, so we asked them to distill their advice into a few helpful tips. Scroll to read our five rules of thumb for styling bright colors (and bold patterns) beyond black and white—courtesy of Kate, Virtual Appointment & Chicago Showroom Manager, and Savanna, Virtual Stylist & Assistant Chicago Showroom Manager.

Want personalized advice? Book an appointment to work with a stylist in-store or from the comfort of your home.

Tip #1

Opt for Earthy

According to Kate, “Earth tones like saddle, camel, latté, and chocolate are foolproof pairings for bright colors with warm undertones. They create a less stark contrast than black or white and result in a more refined look.”

For example, if you’re creating an outfit centered around the Axam top in kaleidoscope, you could tuck it into the Abby pants in oregano. This earthy green lets your eye-catching top stay in the spotlight but is also a unique hue in and of itself. Complete the look with warm accessories like camel flats and gold earrings.

mmlafleur how to pair bright colors
how to pair bright colors office outfit

Tip #2

Keep Your Cool

“When dealing with cool tones or ‘middle’ colors, alternatives to black, like gray and navy, are your best friends,” says Savanna. “Navy is black’s slightly less conventional sister; gray is a soft middle ground between black and white.”

If you recently scored a pair of our shamrock Allyn pants, try complementing them with the Tatum top in dune, a gorgeous sandy gray. Neither color is overtly cool, so opt for accessories that are equally as muted, like the rosy taupe Irene slingbacks and the pearl Lillie earrings.

Tip #3

Commit to Monochrome

“If you own an item that matches—or nearly matches—your hero piece, that’s an automatic outfit,” explains Kate. “Monochromatic outfits are a foolproof path to looking chic, and I especially love to mix slightly varied tones in order to create a more dynamic combination. Within this palette, combining different textures is another way to add depth and richness.”

In the market for a new suit? Several of our wool twill separates are now available in a deep blue-gray called blue jade. Try the classically tailored Yasmine blazer with the straight-leg Smith pants, and layer the Brooke top underneath. Our new riverstone color is just a couple of shades lighter than blue jade, and our Eco Soft Wave material is much less structured than your wool suit, so you end up with a beautifully textured, tonal look. Finish with clean accessories like white leather sneakers and shiny statement hoops.

how to pair bright colors workwear
pop of bright color office outfit

Tip #4

Pair Up with Pattern

Matching a bright color back to a patterned piece that contains that color is another infallible option at your disposal. In Savanna’s words, “Classic patterns like windowpane plaid contain several colors you’ll find in your closet, meaning they’re super useful in addition to being more visually unique than solid neutrals.”

If you’re searching for new ways to style your favorite red top, follow Savanna’s advice and invest in the O’Hara blazer and the matching Mejia pants in windowpane plaid. Fill out the rest of your look with the coordinating Ginger pumps and the chainlink Martine earrings.

Tip #5

Go Wild

For the fifth and final tip, Kate says, “Treat animal prints as neutrals. They’re composed of several neutral shades, so they’re nearly as easy to pair as black, tan, etc.—except you get bonus visual texture.”

If you sprung for our recently released Anh jardigan in carnation, try it out with a leopard-print underpinning like the Lisey top in Sahara print. In terms of texture, the lightweight, washable silk balances out your jardigan’s more substantial handfeel; and visually, its sleeveless silhouette provides the perfect pop of pattern without being overwhelming. To tie it all together, add the saddle Milo pants, the black Rowan flats, and the gold Claressa hoops.

pop of bright color office outfit

Written By

Emma Steinbergs

Emma is M.M.LaFleur's Brand Manager. She previously worked as an M.M. stylist and still loves thinking through styling challenges and solutions for customers.

See more of Emma's articles

Read on.

Back to Top