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How To Style Pastels (...Or Not)

I started writing this post nearly 2 weeks ago but if truth be known, I'm already bored with pastels before pastel season has even begun. Why? I really don't know but my boat is certainly not floating at the moment. You know when you go into a candy floss shop at the seaside and the smell makes you feel sick even though you haven't had any, well, it's the same effect for me, browsing all the pastels, I feel nauseous. But I promised pastels and pastels you will get...

So lets start with a definition:

"A pastel is a soft and delicate shade of colour"

Ooooh soft and delicate, that rings a bell! Remember way-back when I introduced you to 'colour', we talked about soft and delicate palettes. A refresher here and here. So it figures that some palettes are going to have a ball this season, others may be it's a little more difficult to pull off.

I'm going to start with the easy ones (let myself in gently).


These palettes are the most delicate ones out of the six so it's pretty easy going for you guys. In fact I'm sure that Lights are already doing pastels anyway as a matter of course. The palest of pinks, blues, lemons and mints are all there for the taking. I think one of the problems for me is that I've been looking at Pinterest and concentrating on top to toe pastels. It's just not doing it for me, I have visions of Miami Vice and 1990s Floridian home decor.

I think personally it works better if pastels are incorporated with your existing wardrobe. Something like this,

(nb. she's a Soft, her hair is greasy so it looks much darker - I know these things!!)

In my mind, it works because there is a nod to the trend and its kind of unexpected to see it with a formal lace blouse.

Light bulb moment: I think I've realised that I dislike the trend when a pastel is made up in the 90s fashion such as the oversized boxy jacket. It feels too regurgitated. I'm thinking as I write here. Worn as maxi skirt (and I know I didn't wear maxis in the 90s), an over-sized clutch and current shoes, it really works.

Or how about this in the depths of winter. I love the idea of teaming with black denim and chestnut. It just seems less twee.

Both Lights and Softs look great when there isn't too much contrast so the light coloured snood is great to add interest but not overwhelm her colouring.

This girl wouldn't look out of place in a Boden catalogue. So all you ladies that bought the Boden spotty trousers last year, update them with a pastel!


Here is where the fun starts.

These are the three strongest palettes because you all have a strong, dramatic look. Strong and dramatic could never be used to describe pastels so you may find it difficult to pull off this trend. Remember, the idea is to look at what is going on with your skin, eye and hair colour and balance this with what you're wearing (strong look, strong colours).

Probably not....

Try wearing a stronger pastels, a contradiction in terms I know, but it does work,

Or with a darker jacket,

(so think this look would be better with a pair of loafers and cuffed jeans, just saying!)

A bit of drama such as a darker top under a pastel jacket, or even a full on statement necklace will all help pull off the trend for you.

The other thing to bear in mind is that white is a strong colour so when we have another glorious summer (lol), you can lift a pastel with white.


And then we come to the hardest palette to pull off the pastel trend.

Warms have rich hair colour and either have a really warm or pale skin tone. Pastels are so not rich and warm! You may want to stay away from lilac - such a difficult colour to play with. Yes I know these red headed models look stunning in a vision of pale lilac but let's face it, us mere mortals probably don't have hairdresses and make-up artists on hand 24/7.

I think you can definitely do mint and most certainly yellow. You may want to exchange the more pastel sugary-pink for a nude-pink or even a pale coral so hey we're not doing too bad are we.

As with the other strong palettes, you might find that a pastel teamed with a stronger colour works well.

Ok so this girl isn't a redhead but the pale amber top would look stunning (ha ha a new pastel, pale amber)

And the warm hues in this top would certainly suit and is a nod to the pastel trend (and for what it's worth, I think far better than full on, in your face sickly pastels)

Well, there's a quick introduction to pastels. Remember it's only one school of thought, don't be put off by my ramblings. As for me, I might just stick to nail varnish.

It's all about Zara next time.

Donna x

8 comments on "How To Style Pastels (...Or Not)"
  1. I'm not excited by the pastel trend at all being a warm autumnal person! I shall be shying away from them I think and sticking to my usual earthy tones. Lynne x

  2. What a wonderful post - Loved reading that !!

  3. Donna, I really enjoyed this post. I think every one can wear every colour, so long as it is the right shade so I loved reading your analysis. Love Liz xxx

  4. Fab post Donna & some great ideas....I just need to work out which category I fall into!! Jane xx

  5. Interesting post Donna. I do love pastels but not sure about on myself, although a blush top wouldn't go amiss or pastel blue shoes either for that matter. See I don't know what I want! x

  6. After avoiding pastels for years I've suddenly done a bit of a U turn. They are definitely growing on me, ive just bought a blush dress and a mint green coat- not even sure if I can get away with them though. What do u think, as I'm not entirely sure what pallette I am?

  7. You know I love colour on everyone else but I have come to realise that I just don't feel all that comfy in it myself!! Give me a neutral anyday......can't see me participating in the pastels trend anytime soon :0( xx

  8. I'm not sold either as I think the younger girls can pull this look off better than dare I say it...us midlifers! Lol! I will however have a good trying on session here & there as you never know! If my colour advisor says go for it who am I to argue! ;) Ax