Are you brave enough to wear bright and muted patterns?

This month, fashion stylist Ruth Essex gives her tips on how to wear bright and muted patterns  

I am fascinated by the clothes people wear and I also like to work out the wherefores of a stylish outfit too. I firmly believe anyone can be stylish; it is just a case of learning a few tricks and understanding why?  

A/W18, Newlook |

This article tackles the mystery of bright and soft muted colouring. Bright colours are sharp, crisp, and have distinct edges, such as spots or a stripe. A yellow, green and navy outfit has both brightness of colour and also the crisp, fresh edges. A black and white outfit is also bright because it is crisp and clear, even though there is no colour in it. Bright colours are the colours of spring tulips.

In contrast, and at the other end of the scale are soft-muted colours. These colours have had a bit of grey or white added to them. They might be light pastels or rich autumnal colours. Warm or cool, they are blended and soft. An autumnal check coat has a smokiness to it and a giraffe print dress is muted as the edges are softer and the colours blend together. 

Coat £160 Linea, Top £110 Maison Scotch, Trousers £115 Maison Scotch at House of Fraser |

Each individual has personal colouring that sits somewhere along the muted-bright spectrum and wearing outfits that mirror their personal level of brightness means they will look in harmony with their outfit.


And just to confuse matters, you might be medium bright, where you look better in outfits that are neither too bright and nor too muted; colours from the middle of the spectrum. Next time you look at a pattern, ask yourself if it is muted and smudgy or bright and crisp and then pick the one reflects your level of brightness. If you want an easy way to pick a pattern that will flatter you, this is the way to do it.

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