I always love getting feedback from my readers especially when I get questions on; How to Style their outfits. Last week I received a mail from one of my readers asking the color question.

Question: How do I add color to a work outfit yet maintain a formal style?

With this in mind I remember styling a colleague who had also approached me on the same issue about the color rule and remembered I should have done a post on this topic. Thankfully to my reader, who has put the same topic forward, let me share some tips and outfit ideas on how to style your work outfits using base, accent and pop strategy.

There is a three part approach to adding color to work outfits, and this applies to any other style purpose. This is known as the Base, accent and pop strategy. I also apply this strategy when applying eye makeup, so this is a good practice when dealing with colors.

Planet Pin dot pencil skirt

Base Fashion piece

The Base: serves as a foundation for any outfit and examples are your suits, jackets, blazers and tailored pants I call them reliable friends. Because they are the classic items worth investing in for any wardrobe, they are important and very functional. Usually in colors like brown, grey, camel, black etc. Note, they may not only be neutral and can be colorful however they core is that they are important pieces and should be long-term wearable items.

DSQUARED2 cropped blazer

Accent Fashion Piece

The Accent: These are the pieces in your wardrobe that can revive your classic base items. They may not be as expensive as your core pieces; however I call them mood-lifters. Because they always add the sparkle to an outfit and revive the classic base items, these pieces can be anything from bright cardigans, to flowery pants, a funky blazer or dress etc. Accent pieces unlike base items may not have the same lifelong usage of a base item. However can transition into base pieces if paired with another base item, they mainly form a minor percentage of a complete outfit.

Irene Neuwirth Mint Chrysoprase, Diamond & Gold Drop Earrings

Pop Fashion Piece

The pop: Did you know that your wardrobe is made up of mostly base and accents, because you may be naked without most of these items that fall in this category. But Guess what your wardrobe is most likely missing a pop item which happens to be the flavor in the pudding. The finisher to an outfit is what adds the va-va-voom and effortless chic look and this is what the pop fashion item does for am outfit.

Style Tips:

  • When combining your outfit, ensure the pop and accent relate to each other, an easy way to do this is to have tones in mind. I.e. accents and pops should have the same tonal base and should complement each other, like white and grey, white and pink etc.
  • If working with prints or a flowery item, you can pull out a shade from the print and use that color as the pop.
  • Add colorless jewelry if you want less color.

Inspiration Board

The Green Coral and Navy Glam

Look 1: The Green Coral and Navy Glam by Madamesolange featuring colorful earring. For the first outfit I have paired a basic Navy skirt and a white top as a base. Then for the accent I added a green blazer and as pop have used a coral shoe and coral earrings to complement the green and navy. For handbag options I have paired it with a coral bag to balance the pop effect. You can also use navy or tan for this look.

Watermelon and Cobalt Glow

Look 2: Watermelon and Cobalt Glow by madamesolange featuring blue pumps. Take for instance you have a black and white dress, and you don’t know how to spice it up, you can add a watermelon blazer as the accent, pop it up with a third color like cobalt as seen with the shoes. Then finish the look with a necklace in cobalt that brings the look together. For handbag choices you can go with cobalt or black. I choose black.

Rich Brown Pink and Mint Combo

Look 3:Rich Brown Pink and Mint Combo by madamesolange featuring gold jewelry. For outfit three I have added spice to a base outfit like a brown blazer and pants with accents in form of a pink tank top and pink heels, then popped it up with colorful jewelry like pink bracelets, earrings etc. for handbag inspiration for this outfit, the handbag can be brown, soft pink or mint. I choose mint.

So don’t get bored with your wardrobe go get creative and create some style.

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Photo source: Polyvore