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Stylist Challenge: A Skeptic Makes Peace With Yellow and Green

April 22, 2017 | Filed in: Ask a Stylist

In my book, the color yellow is like a pixie haircut: It looks fabulous on some people (say,  Solange Knowles or Emma Watson), but it’s not for me. The same goes for other hues in that area of the color wheel, like chartreuse and orange—they’re best left to those without my complexion, which is that translucent sort of pale that can appear sickly. I’m under the impression that citrine shades only emphasize my borderline-jaundiced appearance, so I prefer to stick with blue-based tones that won’t wash me out.

Which is why, when I saw our summer collection—full of sun-kissed goldenrod and olive fabrics—I was a bit disappointed. And so were you, apparently. A number of our customers wrote in after our latest launch of The Light Fantastic to bemoan our color offerings, and I had to agree—these yellow and green pieces are pretty to behold, but I was skeptical about wearing them.

However, our stylist team respectfully disagreed—and, because they love a challenge, believed that they could prove me wrong. Sure, they might not be able to talk me into a three-piece suit in true olive, but they were confident that I could be weaseled into individual pieces, mixed in with the rest of my normal summer wardrobe of black, white, and denim. In fact, that’s how this collection is designed to be worn: as an infusion of seasonal brightness into your year-round staples. I decided to give it a try with the help of brilliant MM stylist Minjung.

Experiment 1: The Mulberry skirt in goldenrod

Mulberry skirt

The Mulberry skirt in goldenrod with the Louisa top in glacier.

Minjung got me warmed up to the concept of wearing yellow by not putting it next to my face—a clever trick. Goldenrod was much less intimidating in skirt form, especially when paired with my tried-and-true Louisa top. I felt sunny and cool but not too Chiquita banana—an ideal balance.

Experiment 2: The Vesterbro trouser in true olive

Vesterbro trouser in true olive

The Vesterbro trouser in true olive with the Louisa top in black.

Minjung pulled the same trick with the Vesterbro trouser in true olive, which wound up looking sort of like crisp khaki pants. Their plein air material has a loose weave that resembles linen but doesn’t crease as easily, so it feels airy but you don’t have to worry about being a walking wrinkle factory. The trouser has a matching top and jacket in the same color, so you can wear it as a three-piece suit, but that’s way too intimidating for yellowish-green-phobes like me; one piece on its own, however, was quite nice.

Experiment 3: The Crawford top in goldenrod

I love the cut of the Crawford top—V-necks are generally my go-to neckline—so it was wise of Minjung to ease into yellow plunge with this piece; paired with the simple, easy-to-wear Dupont 2.0 pant, it didn’t seem that outlandish. In fact, I liked it. Once it was on me, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the undertones of the goldenrod shade are quite warm—they brought out the roses in my cheeks, rather than the purples in my under-eye circles.

Experiment 4: The Didion 3.0 top in goldenrod

The Didion 3.0 top in goldenrod.

The Didion 3.0 top in goldenrod.

The Didion top is another one of my MM standbys—I already have it in black and gray—so Minjung suggested I try the goldenrod version with my favorite pair of white jeans. I was worried I’d need a tan to pull this look off (and, let’s be honest, it would probably help), but my decidedly non-tan self didn’t look so awful in it. My dermatologist would approve.

Experiment 5: The Samantha dress in true olive

The Samantha dress.

The Samantha dress in true olive.

This is a gorgeous dress (for further proof, please watch this video of ballet dancers twirling in it), and I was happy to find that the color was much less scary once I bit the bullet and pulled it on over my head. Yes, it accentuates my paleness. But with a red lip and a little blush, I can roll with that.

Experiment: The Dietrich jacket in true olive

The Dietrich jacket in true olive with the Crawford top in ivory.

The Dietrich jacket in true olive with the Crawford top in ivory.

Like the Vesterbro trouser, the Dietrich jacket was originally shown to me as part of a matching three-piece suit—very chic, but not exactly something I’d throw on for a day in the office. However, once Minjung paired the Dietrich with my ivory Crawford top and blue jeans, it became much more laid-back and easy to wear. It felt more like a relaxed linen blazer than anything else, especially when she rolled up the sleeves.

The takeaway: Once Minjung integrated these pieces into the blacks, blues, and other neutrals in my closet, my skepticism disappeared. I’m not about to turn my whole wardrobe yellow and green, but I’m not going to automatically disregard those colors anymore, either. (A pixie cut, however, is still off the table.)

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Charlotte Cowles is a New York-based writer​ ​and editor.​ ​Her work has been published in New York Magazine,​ Harper's Bazaar,​ and Art in America. She'd always rather be at book club. Read more of Charlotte's posts.

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