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What’s Your Summer Color?

It may still be cold outside and it might feel as though we’ve just begun 2012, but summer is right around the corner – or at least summer fashion is. Between runway shows in New York and Milan and swirling rumors about the latest warm-weather trends, there’s no question that the fashion world has begun to look past the faded tones of winter attire in anticipation of summer. 

So what will the summer of 2012 bring? On a men’s fashion front, the experts are predicting a turn towards the festive and casual. In a stark contrast from the conservatism exhibited in men’s business and winter lines, we can expect to see numerous faded T-shirts with faded colors and printed phrases when strolled around this summer. On a slightly dressier front, preppy men’s clothing will largely consist of colorful, lively polos paired with standard white khaki shorts. 

The theme of colorful and casual clothing will also be on full display when women’s fashion is concerned. Although the models on the runways in Milan may be sporting a heavy dose of lace and tunics, more mainstream women’s fashion this summer will embrace light and clashing colors on pieces ranging from dresses to swimwear. Summer is traditionally a time for lighter colors, but we can expect to see this added emphasis on bright and vivid tones in 2012 for two main reasons: first, because people want brash yet casual tones to instill a sense of “fun” in the current economic climate, and two, because period piece TV shows and movies (ie Mad Men) have brought floral colors back into more popular use. Meanwhile, the desire to use clashing visuals likely draws its influence from the digital world, where computer printing has encouraged less subtle fabric designs. 

So if you’re planning your summer wardrobe you really can’t go wrong with something that is bright and colorful. But even despite all the talk of layers and clashing colors, it is important that a given outfit has a base color – a color against which everything else can be juxtaposed. Your base colors should be just as light as all the others but, at the same time, it should probably be milder in tone. If you have light skin and hair, a soft yellow, orange, or green color can make for a great base. If you have darker features, on the other hand, you might do better with a light blue or a faded red. When it doubt, white is always a good option to consider. 

What’s your summer color? Although beach season may still be a few months away, it’s a question worth asking even now.