The Best Ways to Wear Bold Colors This Summer

Bold colors may seem a bit intrepid for your taste, but have no fear. There’s no better time than the summer to incorporate the megawatt hues into your look. They’re plenty suitable for daily wear — and there are ways to wear them that won’t have you looking like you just stepped out of a kaleidoscope.

But, where to start on the color wheel? The Pantone Color Institute is a good place. The leader on all hues has a seasonal fashion color report, and their 10 top shades for summer are everything we want in our wardrobe. The Institute highlights their top picks as lush hues that are reminiscent of those that surround us in nature.

We couldn’t agree more. Plus, having Mother Nature’s inspiration makes the bold colors that much easier to incorporate without going all neon all the way.

1. Primrose yellow

A yellow dress against a wood background

Primrose yellow is the perfect shade for this time of year. |

According to the Pantone fashion color report, primrose yellow “sparkles with heat and vitality, inviting us into its instant warmth.” Indeed, the joyful canary-yellow hue might just be one of our favorites for summer because of its sunny, happy disposition. We love the invigorating, uplifting hue in a monochromatic dress. Dries Van Noten, Gucci, Tibi, and Salvatore Ferragamo all put primrose to use quite effectively with their frocks for the spring and summer seasons — both breezy and structured renditions to check the box on beachwear and office wear.

2. Pale dogwood

woman wearing a nude-colored skirt with matching heels

This pale, feminine shade pairs perfectly with brighter hues. |

You might not think of a pale pastel hue as something that’s considered bold. But, in the case of pale dogwood, it’s a progressive color that’s statement-making for its style-forward appeal. Pantone calls it “a quiet and peaceful pink shade that engenders an aura of innocence and purity.” For that reason, it’s a perfect shade to wear on your nails to infuse your manicure with just the right level of subtle radiance.

For a more girly rendition of the shade, try a feminine, floaty frock. But from a sartorial perspective, what we really love is the unexpected use of it in a tougher bomber jacket or as an accent top paired with a bolder rust red or orange hue for the ultimate study in chic contrasts.

3. Hazelnut

woman wearing a bikini while sitting in a lounge chair outside

This darker hue is exactly what you need this summer. |

Enjoy hazelnut as your most versatile summer color. Bottega Veneta, Baja East, and Hermes had the hue in spades on the spring runways with monochromatic, desert-tinged outings. But what makes hazelnut so special is that it also can be a great grounding force for all the stronger, bolder hues of the summer.

4. Island paradise

Close-up of a blue eye with a blue eyeliner pencil

This aqua hue is perfect for a summer makeup look. | guyon

This bright, refreshing aqua tint “speaks to our dream of the great escape, tropical settings, and our desire to unwind,” says Pantone. We couldn’t agree more, as the rich sky-blue hue oozes of a vacation paradise. Christian Siriano and Emilio Pucci had dreamy variations on the color for their breezy evening gowns. That said, it’s a great shade to wear in a long dress. We also love it used in partnership with a rich ruby red for the ultimate contrast. Island paradise is also a shoo-in when it comes to makeup — your eyes will pop with a combination of icy blue and silver liners.

5. Greenery

woman in a green dress on a green background

Who doesn’t love a beautiful green? | Pixabay

According to Pantone, this “tangy yellow-green is illustrative of flourishing foliage and fertile reinvigoration.” If you’re not green with envy at the thought of wearing this lush hue in full, then make use of it in a zippy print. Zac Posen showed the grassy shade in a jacquard while Michael Kors upped the ante with hippy-dippy florals.

6. Flame

female legs in red shoes against confetti and garlands

This fiery red is perfect all summer long. |

Bold red is nothing new, but we especially love this season’s fiery color. “Flamboyant and vivacious, this wonderfully theatrical shade adds fiery heat to the spring and summer 2017 palette,” says Pantone. Even if you don’t want to wear a hot, all-red jumpsuit — like the ones shown on the Pucci and Sportmax runways — you can still channel your inner flame. This is the time to paint on the hue in a deep, dramatic tone.

7. Pink yarrow

woman in a straw summer hat against a bright magenta background

Go bold with this bright magenta hue. |

You might see magenta when looking at pink yarrow. It’s bold, attention-getting, and lively, and best worn in small doses –unless you are particularly searching to turn heads. The shade does well in accessory form — think pretty-in-pink shoes to pop against an LBD, or a bright handbag. This is also a great color to wear on the lip and nails to add extra punch to any ensemble.

8. Niagara

Female wearing jeans against a yellow background

Denim is always in style, no matter what season it is. |

“Niagara is a classic denim-like blue that speaks to our desire for ease and relaxation,” says Pantone. And, it’s one of the most seamless shades to wear. Basically, it’s like high-octane denim. So, this is the time to celebrate a rich denim wash on your jeans or to wear a denim-inspired dress or jacket. And Marchesa took liberties with the hue in an embellished evening gown, should you need something a bit more exciting than the standard denim route.

9. Kale

woman in a dark green shirt applying hand cream

Not into the brighter colors? Go for this deep green. | iprogressman

This veggie isn’t just trending when it comes to food as the verdant hue has captured the attention of the fashion industry. Altuzarra and Balmain featured it for spring, and it can come across as slightly army-green. But, aside from wearing the hue in a dress or jumpsuit, we love it when applied to lace-up boots, sandals, and even sunglasses.

10. Lapis blue

Woman in a white dress holding a blue bag

We absolutely love this bold, beautiful blue — especially for accessories. |

The most intense blue on the list, lapis is like a cross between sapphire and navy. And it’s positively electric when used in totality on a dress or gown. But you can also pair it with other shades, such as greenery, to balance the effect. Like kale, it’s also quite effective when accenting looks via a handbag, clutch, or shoe.