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Color Trends in Fashion – What's In, What's Out, and What's Right for You

When you think of vintage fashion, you probably identify certain color palettes with a distinct time period. The aquas of the Eisenhower era, the earth tones of the 1970s, and the bright synthetic neons of the 1980s have become a shorthand for designers who want to evoke those eras in modern collections.

While the second decade of the twenty-first century is still young, there are some color trends today that may become the backbone of some future designer's "retro" collection. With the varied palette available on today's runways, you'll be able to stay on trend while remaining true to your best colors.

Honeysuckle Pink and Peony Brights

Pantone, the company behind the Pantone Matching System used by virtually all print media, has declared a warm, vibrant pink called Honeysuckle the "Color of the Year" for 2011. Honeysuckle and its related shades of pink are everywhere for spring and summer. Like the peony shade featured most prominently on the runway at Badgley Mischka, these pinks are confident and sunny, not delicate pastels.

Pink is one of the easiest colors to wear for any skin tone, but finding your perfect pink takes a little more consideration. If your skin tone is warm, look for pinks that have more of a salmon hue; cooler complexions work well with true pinks and even shades that veer toward lavender. If pink isn't your style, consider a print that incorporates the color along with other shades you prefer. You'll stay with the trend, yet look like yourself.

Navy: Neutral, But New

Navy has never truly gone out of fashion, but its staid reputation sometimes turns it into a "mother of the bride" color. What's making navy new again is how it mixes with colors that are anything but conservative. Acid green, peony, and light citrus yellow keep navy blue from becoming too dense. Michael Kors recently featured navy with a bright lilac and gold accents for a look that echoed nautical sportswear without going too literal.

Although usually considered a neutral alternative to black, the two look striking together. Pairing navy with black reveals the understated beauty of this deep blue, placing it in the spotlight when it usually takes a supporting role.

Navy works beautifully with cool skin tones, but if your skin is warmer or more golden, try wearing navy as a skirt, sarong, or jacket with a vibrant color at your neck. Another possibility is to wear it in a sheer fabric. Navy tends to look monolithic unless it's broken up with prints or textures; try it as a sheer overskirt or blouse over a camisole.

Aquatic Palettes: Blues and Greens Together

One sophisticated look that works as well for casual and ready-to-wear as it does on runways is mixing undine shades like blue and green. Navy is a fixture in any color scheme, but designers no longer constrain themselves to neutrals. Brilliant kelly greens combine with icy aquas or midnight blues with equal ease.

The key to wearing these nature-inspired palettes in the real world is to pair lighter with darker. Wearing a forest green dress with a turquoise scarf lets both colors shine without making them compete for attention.

Earth Tones for Summer

Customarily considered autumnal tones, earthy colors were prominent features of both Valentino and Christian Dior runways for spring/summer 2011. Spicy colors like paprika red, saffron, and camel look right for summer when lightened up with flowing fabrics and pale accents. What keeps these colors from looking like a return to the harvest gold and avocado color scheme of the seventies is the distinctly contemporary styling; pants have either a flared leg or a vintage color, but not both.

If your skin tone is warm, you'll enjoy this trend, as earthy shades make your complexion glow. If you're cool-toned, look for quieter earth shades that span the divide between warm and cool colors like moss green and raisin. The most popular color at the 2011 Academy Awards was a flame-like reddish orange that flattered virtually every skin tone; look for this hot hue everywhere this summer and don't be afraid to try it for yourself.

The latest "of the moment" colors that designers have embraced are more varied and more wearable than those of decades past. Find which colors are right for you and enjoy them while they're in style. At, you can apply these trends to your wardrobe, by selecting from our broad product line of sarongs.

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