Brighten up your look with a splash of colour

Q. I have always worn a lot of black, mostly because it makes me look slimmer, but now that summer has arrived, my wardrobe looks unbelievably drab. I’m a size 14 - how can I wear colour without looking as if I’ve gained weight?

A. Every woman knows that feeling - you wake up in the morning and feel two sizes bigger. The scales say you weigh the same, but the mirror in your room tells a different story; the dress you looked so stylish in only a few days ago now looks decidedly lumpy. It’s time for dark colours and baggy jumpers - in short, your fat wardrobe. If you are having a ‘fat’ day you‘ll probably stick to wearing black. Many women wear black because it has the same slimming effect on a body as ignoring chocolate for an entire month but the colour has a disturbing side effect - it ages the face as well.

Black clothing can, in fact, underscore dark lines under the chin, accentuate shadows around the eyes and give your skin a greyish tinge. While black gives a slimmer silhouette, wearing it next to the face will, quite simply, add years. Wearing black head to toe is wrong on so many levels, like seeing a Goth on a sunny beach it looks out of place, especially during the summer months. So perhaps it’s time that you ditched the funeral garb for something infinitely more flattering? Anyways, isn’t it rather depressing to wear one gloomy shade your entire life?

Yes, I’m talking about colour, glorious, wonderful colour! Tomato red, sea green, cobalt blue, rose pink, buttery yellow and regal purple. Recently, black has been losing ground to colour in the fashion stakes and more and more women are ditching somber palettes for rainbow prints, foregoing the safety of the little black dress for evenings in pretty pastels and eye-popping primaries. It’s worth keeping in mind that a great outfit is as much about proportion, cut and overall style as it is about colour and although dark shades do minimise your size, they can look incredibly drab.

If you have put on weight over the years, avoid brights in problem areas and introduce colour slowly - for instance a bright pair of shoes or beads - or by layering a shocking-pink vest under a black one. If you are too nervous to suddenly don a myriad of rainbow shades, why not try introducing small splashes of colour to your existing wardrobe. Throw a colourful jacket over your boring black ensemble and you suddenly have a flattering look that will work. Whether you are a size 6 or 16, introduce other splashes of colour with a few well chosen accessories such as pillar box red clutch, a striped scarf or pair of purple heels and before you know it, you’ve gone from drab to fab! Need a little inspiration? Here are two great ways to work the look.

La Redoute blue vest €35, Belted Tencel Short €13 Pennys, Front Row Society Elusive Dream scarf €35, 'Beauty' clutch Head Over Heels €45, Dune Red Anise Heels €95

Colour Couture Colour block pleat dress €50 Awear, Colour-block satchel bag €36 M&Co, Dune Anise Shoe €95

Georgina Heffernan