How To Wear Yellow: Make Like Elle Fanning, Elizabeth Olsen & Olivia Palermo This Spring

16 March 2012

It’s an awkward time of year – the Spring collections are in stores but the weather hasn’t caught up with the season yet. So, how to inject a shot of the new into your wardrobe, which, let’s face it, is probably looking a bit drab right about now, without breaking out the bikinis? 

Kate Bosworth Erdem yellow dress.jpg

Kate Bosworth in Erdem

For a shortcut to a wardrobe update there’s nothing easier than investing in the colour of the season: yellow. Whether a sour sherbet lemon or a soft egg custard, yellow has never been more in vogue. Perhaps its prevalence in the Spring collections points to a new optimism for 2012.  After all there’s nothing more refreshing or modern than a palette-cleansing sorbet; it’s a sure fire way to pep up an outfit. 

Girl of the moment Elizabeth Olsen showed us how it’s done at the Critics Choice Movie Awards in a delish Emilio Pucci cocktail dress. Toning down the elaborate beading, she keeps the focus firmly on her exquisite red carpet number by pairing it with nude strappy sandals, a simple box clutch and natural make-up. Equally at ease in a lemon frock, Andrea Riseborough avoids going OTT on colours and lets her Erdem dress do the talking by adding nude heels. Clever ladies. 

An easy equation for transitional dressing, there was no shortage ofthis modern colour-pairing on the catwalks. Many of London’s designers embraced zingy yellows and fleshy nudes. At Mulberry, frothy maxis and drawstring leather skirts in butterscotch were topped off with pastel lemon tops and patent leather yellow parkas. Emilio de la Morena’s pretty collared dresses in white and blush were styled with yellow textured belts and cardigans. 

Similarly, across the pond, Marc Jacobs mocha ruffle skirts were imbued with a sporty vibe thanks to beanie hats and scuba-style two-tone jumpers. (Two trends in one look? Kudos, Mr Jacobs.) On the high street look for separates in egg yolk and pair with grey marl sweatshirts, navy basics and caramel accessories. A yellow clutch à la Olivia Palermo or a Sunkissed manicure is a risk-free way to dip your toe into the trend.


Nicole Farhi SS12

For the brave amongst you, though, such a subtle nod to the trend might not assuage new season cravings. Channel Kirsten Dunst, then, whose Stella McCartney blazer and brocade trousers make an elegant statement. For a highstreet take, look to River Island for scallop tops or MSGM for graphic print tees. Wear with tailored trousers now and switch to knee-length shorts come summer; if you can pull it off, make them white, as monochrome makes the perfect blank canvas for showcasing yellow. For proof, look no further than Nicole Farhi’s collection, which championed yellow in all its guises – whether zingy lemon, custard or laser-cut marigold – and often presented it in stark contrast to white. 

Meanwhile, rising talent Malene Oddershede Bach explains her leaning towards yellow this season: ‘SS12 featured very vibrant colours and after developing the prints, yellow naturally took a very dominant part in the collection. Someone told me once that the hues of yellows used in the collection, reminded them of the Scandinavian sun, so maybe it all comes down to my upbringing. Yellow is a beautiful colour and easy to wear as it is effortlessly combined with black.’ Perhaps her head-to-toe yellow ensemble best sums up this season’s mood. The eye-wateringly vibrant yellow shift dress and leather jacket make it clear that as far as this colour is concerned, anything goes.     

Have a scroll through the gallery above for our favourite yellow moments...

by Katie Rose,, @katie_jane_rose


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