In my 20s, I worked for several years at a fashion magazine. Among the many unwritten rules (such as ‘always eat before a meeting’), one in particular held true: no matter how much you marvelled at a fashion editor’s ‘challenging’ outfit or ugly shoe, you would be wearing it six months later.
I remembered this again last week when I found myself admiring a pair of neon green, knee-high boots at my favourite local store. Sure, I love colour but neon has never been on my radar.
“I’ve bought a few neon knits and tanks, and I tend to go back to them time and again,” says stylist Lucy Wood, thus proving the fashion rule still applies. “These bright pieces work really well when your everyday tailored pants or jeans feel like they need some life.”
As with so many recent trends, this one started at Bottega Veneta (home of the square-toed mules and pouch bags that colonised Instagram a few seasons ago), as former creative director Daniel Lee went all in on bright green, acid yellow and orange. Unsurprisingly, influencers embraced the trend, mainly because nothing is more likely to make you pause your doom-scroll than a full-length neon gown or purple dress with squint-inducing yellow bag.
While Lucy has picked a couple of bright dresses this week, she suggests making neon pieces the statement element of your outfit, perhaps as a bag or shoe. “Neon works with non-competing neutral tones like slate grey, tan and cream,” she says. Oroton’s bright yellow tote, below, looks beautiful against a tan-coloured suit, as does the citrus shirt and tan bag, above.
If you want to wear neon next to your skin, try on pieces in different shades – and don’t assume that anything’s off-limits. “I have pale skin and dark hair, and thought yellow would be draining, but I was wrong,” Lucy adds.
While the neon trend is all about fun, it’s still worth investing in a quality piece (several of the pieces below are sustainably and ethically made). As the weather starts to cool, a neon knit peeking out from under a jacket brings what Lucy describes as a nice optimism to getting dressed. “Nothing lifts your mood like a hit of neon,” she says.
Styling: Lucy Woord
Main image: Getty