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Neon: Friend or Foe?

July 8, 2010

Over the weekend I met a girl who had hot pink toenails and bright blue fingernails. She is about the same age as me, and somehow we began talking about nail colors. (My toes are teal and my fingers were a powder blue at the time.)

Anyway, she said her older sister tells her it’s childish to go with such bright colors — in nail color or clothing selection. What do you think? Is neon immature?

I know it’s popular with teenagers, and some of it has to do with the influx of “neon bands.” According to Urban Dictionary, a neon band is “any of the new pop-rock bands whose members wear T-shirts that are so brightly colored that they cause temporary blindness.”

When I was a teenager, it was more bands with looks like these that were influential in teen fashion:

Dark colors, studded belts. But I digress.

In my opinion, summer is the perfect time to express energy and celebrate warm (OK, very hot) weather through style. I love colors and they’re a great way to avoid a potential fashion rut.

But I do agree there is a fine line if you want to look sophisticated. We may have been able to get away with wearing color combinations that looked like unicorn vomit when we were 12, but no more. At least not if you want to be taken seriously.

If you too are into bold colors this season, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • With neon nails, try more neutral-toned clothing such as black or white. You can always get crazy with patterns.
  • If you still want to wear bright colors too, at least stick with tamer patterns and limit the number of colors used.
  • But don’t be overly matchy matchy. Your clothes don’t have to completely match your nails, bag, shoes, etc. But they shouldn’t clash.
  • Pay attention to that color wheel you learned about back in elementary art class. Complementary colors make for pleasant combinations.

But feel free to experiment and have fun with color — that’s really the best way to find out what works and what doesn’t. Summer is the best time for it, after all!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 8, 2010 5:05 pm

    I’ll admit that I’m not a fan of neon colors… They’re just so.. so.. bright. I like looking neutral, I guess. However, if I was going to try the neon crazy, I’d swap my nude nail polish for hot pink…

    • Melanie permalink*
      July 9, 2010 10:05 am

      I definitely see where you’re coming from. My favorite thing to do is have contrast between neutral colors and bright colors. For example, maybe wear only black and white, but wear bright yellow shoes or paint your finger nails hot pink.

  2. Katy permalink*
    July 9, 2010 4:10 pm

    I was going to comment about how I enjoy neons. Then I realize that I own nothing that is neon colored. Even nail polish. I like bright colors, but definitely not neon. Unless it is a spandex Halloween outfit.

  3. July 10, 2010 2:28 pm

    Good advice! I really only like the electric blue an neon purple for super brights. I read on a blog the other day which I totally disagreed with about how you dress differently from your 20’s to 30’s. I’m 29 and I wouldn’t dress like a teenager. But the clothes from your 20’s in the examples the blog had, would be easy for most women in their 30’s to wear. One thing they said not to do is wear bright or bold colors…and the example was a slim RED jacket and cigarette pants! How can you go about your 30’s and wave goodbye to red. The article also said that since you most likely were raising children by your 30’s, you should go for comfort and clothes that will last you. Well, that is true most of the time, I don’t want to be uncomfortable with a hole in my sleeve! The women in their 30’s were dressed in these weird sack dresses. I don’t think the person writing the article was less than 70 years old or just really dumb.

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