Published: Pop Ensembles. Lifestyle, The Daily Star

Speaking of pop colors, this week’s Lifestyle supplement is about pop colors and colorblocking, the new trend. I was asked to write the main feature for this week, which also happens to celebrate their new 20 page issue. This involved some research, talking to people around Dhaka, and also personal experience (if you know me, you know my obsession with bright colors). And yes, I actually wrote about fashion this time. The last time I wrote about fashion for the Daily Star was on Bangladeshi roots, for the weekend magazine, click here to see. Pick up this week’s Daily Star or read below, my fashion essay on this trend. Or click here to read. 


May 15, 2012

Olinda Hassan

If you had to sum up this summer’s style in two words, it would be: bold colours. And we couldn’t be more thrilled. Cheerful hues from mint, magenta, mango yellow, purple to neon are in, matching perfectly with the many sun-filled days to come. Bright pop colours have been showing up all over the runway, and here is the best part: they’re easy to wear and incorporate into your everyday wardrobe. We are talking about bright, solid colour pieces like a t-shirt blocked with another vivid piece, such as a cardigan and/or coloured jeans, making simple dressing look glam and dramatic. Fun accessories from neon coloured frames to replacing your everyday go-to-bag with mustard yellows and red pieces are all the rage. With makeup, we say keep it simple with your bold ensemble, but no need to shy away from bubble gum pink lip-gloss and creamy lavender nail polishes. This summer isn’t about shying away. It’s about being noticed: think vibrant and loud, and be playful with this fun trend.

Start by pairing separates, and invest in a pair of bold jeans. The easiest way to colour block is by picking separates and pairing them together, such as with two bright, solid hues. For starters, pick a neutral tone (brown, black, nude, etc.) and pair with a bold neon as your first baby steps. From there, you can slowly experiment with different colours. A violet maxi dress will look great with an emerald cardigan, for example. Think contrast, and don’t shy away if it doesn’t “match”. Think back to when you were in school and made those colour wheels stick to palettes around a colour you chose, and if you want to be especially daring, go with the wheel’s opposites.

This season, colourful denims are in and it looks like they’re here to stay. Fitted jeans in fire-engine red, mustard, fuchsia, plum, and pinks make colour blocking easy. “I bought a pair of emerald green skinny pants and my friends thought I was crazy. I wear it with a blue t-shirt I had in my closet or my pink one, and it works whether I am going to class or to hanging out with friends in the evening. It’s all the rage right now and has a fun element of risk and adventure in it,” said Nusra, a second year student at NSU who has been following the trend since the beginning of this year. “Urban Truth’s coloured denims and jeggings have been a huge hit with our customers who are young school and university students, the main trend setters in Dhaka,” said Momen.

Pink has always been a feminine colour, but a bright shade like fuchsia, neon pink or magenta screams confidence. “These are Zara pants I got at Doja and after a bit of tailoring, they fit like a glove and I love how happy they looks. This season can be hot and sweaty but that doesn’t mean you can’t dress like you are having fun!” added Sara, also from NSU, pointing to her pink jeans, paired with a white button down shirt and a choral blue chunky necklace.

GET WILD WITH PRINTS, TOO: We continue with this mix and match style when we bring prints into the picture. If you want to add prints to your colour blocked style, the shades don’t actually need to match. Animal prints, such as the leopard motif has been a big hit and can make a great combination when paired with a colour blocked outfit. Combining a colour blocked ensemble with printed shoes (e.g. Urban Truth’s python platforms or floral print flats) is also a great way to draw attention to different parts of your outfit.

Not ready for the electric hue? Even just a splash of this colour can make a statement, so get on the trend by adding a pink stoned necklace or a bright fuchsia clutch. Colour blocking may not be up everyone’s alley, but including some scarves, belts, and shoes can add a punch of colour while practicing the trend in small doses.

Once you have some hues in your outfit, take the trend to the next level by adding some rich accessories. A deep-hued tunic can be paired with bright accessories and vice-versa. A bold blue dress paired with bright pink shoes and a white belt, for example, looks polished and trendy. “I love my ballet flats from Bata, they are a cheap and fun way to add colour to my wardrobe. I have them in their engine red and lavender hues and it instantly makes my boring black and white work clothes look updated,” said Sunaya, a banking professional.

Necklaces, bracelets, and earrings in solid colours are coming out chunkier to make a true statement. A mix of vibrant stones and bold shaped beads but in one colour scheme can instantly uplift a white shirt. A bright yellow kameez can look amazing with cobalt blue bracelets. If you are going to pick a chunky necklace, stick to simple studs for the ears.

This season, even our glasses and watches are getting a colour lift. Frames in green, red, orange, and white tones are becoming popular among both men and women. Might as well go all the way, right? Wrist watches are also picking up the trend; Swatch recently released a collection of watches for women in neon colours, with the lime green being most popular. A solid block of colour on your wrist can do a lot to keep you up with current fashion.

Colour blocking can be based in our makeup too, especially if you want that dramatic look. It’s especially fun because you get to get creative and personal. The most popular and easy ‘colour blocking makeup’ combinations are coral and fuchsia, red and peach, and plum and orange. But make sure you are just focusing on one area of the face rather than using a colour blocking scheme all over. Blocking bright colours for the eye lid is especially popular. If you are feeling fierce, use a bright colour above your eyes (e.g. orange) and use a different colour to lightly shade under your eyes with a brush (e.g. pink). Dab an extra layer of mascara to make the colours pop even more. Lip sticks in berry, plum, and bubble gum pink (think Nicki Minaj or Lady Gaga) are also in. “Just remember that less is more, especially with our weather,” added Momen.

Unless you are a model hitting the runway, opt for simple neutrals to a colour blocked emsemble so that your outfit gets more of the attention it deserves. Momen suggests shimmery glosses and powders to keep things balanced and light, especially with the summer weather and humidity. Matte coloured lipsticks keeps the look understated but glamorous.

Don’t forget your nails, the endless palette for all of your colouring needs. Opt for matte finishes in the bright pink, orange, to purple and even mint and green nail liquors. It’s not about matching your outfit. Matte finish is all the rage right now, and so is taking bold step with nail styling. Using alternate colours for the nails or even colour blocking a nail with two or more options is a popular choice.

Colour blocking is not new in fashion’s history but it has returned this time with a bang. In this eye catching trend, you can use colour to enhance parts of your body that you love, while pairing with a neutral colour to minimise trouble areas. For example, enjoy a bold coloured top with a neutral bottom to bring attention to your upper body. Stick to three colours and not more to avoid looking like a waking rainbow. “There’s nothing stopping Bangladeshi girls with this trend. They should start experimenting more and be daring with this easy trend,” said Momen.

By Olinda Hassan
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed
Model: Airin
Make up, hair and styling: Farzana Shakil
Wardrobe, Jewellery and accessories: Urban Truth

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