Last month, readers had an interesting discussion about wearing — or not wearing — bright colors as you get older, and we thought it would be interesting to have a broader discussion about how to add color to your work wardrobe. Of course, this is a know-your-office situation; what is totally fun and acceptable in one workplace may not fly in a super formal one.

What say you, readers? When you open your closet, do you see a sea of black clothing? Do you prefer to wear neutrals or enjoy wearing a lot of color? Have you switched from one to the other at any point?

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If you’re most comfortable wearing neutrals — black, white, brown, navy, gray, and so on — you have two main options for adding color to your work wardrobe.

How to Add Color To Your Work Wardrobe in a Big Way

Option #1 is obvious: Jump right in! If you’re so used to wearing neutrals that you’re not sure where to start regarding mixing colors and so on, it might be easiest to start with a sheath dress in a fun color — like the ones below — and then pair it with neutral heels (e.g., nude-for-you heels or black heels).

Hunting for colorful sheath dresses for work? Great bets to check as of 2021 include some of the brands featured above: 1) green* 2) blue 3) purple 4) green* 5) burgundy* 6) cobalt 7) green* (*s come in regular & plus sizes)… also this dress and this dress (not pictured)!

Another easy way to add some significant color to your outfit is to wear a blazer in an non-neutral color — like some of the linen blazers below — and pair it with a white or black blouse and pants in a neutral shade.

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{related: mixing textures and prints}

You could also wear suits in a bright color with a neutral top underneath, although that option may not be appropriate for every office. (See the comments on that post for readers’ thoughts.) We’ve recently featured pink suits, and light blue suits for summer are such a versatile basic (wear them with everything you’d wear gray) that we have a mini roundup for that, too.

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How to Add Color To Your Work Wardrobe in a Smaller Way

Option #2 is to start small. Stick with your trustworthy neutrals as the base of your outfit and just add a pop of color … say, purple shoes!

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Other ways to add a pop of color to a neutral outfit include:

  • a scarf
  • a belt
  • a statement necklace
  • a bright blouse under a neutral cardigan or blazer

{related: colorful suits and the working woman}

With either option, a good way to get started if you’re intimidated by the idea of complementary colors and so on is to use a personal styling service such as Stitch Fix (sizes 0–24W & XS–3X) or Dia & Co (sizes 10–32). Explain to your stylist that you’re trying to move away from wearing mostly (or all) neutrals for workwear and ask for their advice on adding color in a small or big way.

Readers, do tell: Do you prefer neutrals or brighter colors? Are there certain colors you avoid because you feel they’re not flattering on you?

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