The Power of Neutrals

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June 2015 News

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Discover the power of neutrals:

Sitting in a London café waiting for my train I am surrounded by a sea of neutrals.  It’s not exclusive to this station, or indeed any station; I’ve seen plenty of it as I travel through the capital.  Commuters and travellers in their thousands wearing blacks, greys, whites, browns and beiges with the odd spattering of accent colour; a red hat, a pink bag, a purple coat.

While I do believe that most of our great race are not confident enough in their knowledge of colour to risk experimenting with it. Consulting is evidence that we can be moved safely into areas beyond our previous comfort zone.  It’s clear that neutrals have a place in the working environment, a cacophony might be too much of an affront or a distraction, so you learn how to push the boundaries appropriately and confidently.

“I would never have put these colours together, but I bought it from the website as suggested and it feels really good” –Kelly, Chrysalis.

A quick foray onto Wikipedia and I discover that the purpose of neutral in electricity is grounding. A fascinating article is provided by Wholistic Tennis on returning to neutral in a game of tennis and fully understanding the power of neutral whilst pinpointing a key challenge: In terms of tactical play, we talk about offense, defense and neutral...

Neutral is the least glamorous, and for most people, the least enjoyable of the three possible conditions. There is a great deal to learn in neutral. The concept of neutral never changes although the neutral ball a player hits will change dramatically as he or she develops.
Keep playing at your neutral and as you become bigger, stronger, quicker and as your strokes become more grooved and effortless your neutral will often automatically become bigger and bigger. It is impossible to win on offense alone. One has to earn the right to play offense and playing solid neutral will offer you the opportunity to ultimately play offense.

Finally and very importantly, the patience required to stay in neutral is excellent mental training for the competitive player, and so, replacing the context of playing tennis with dressing for authority, i.e. being taken seriously, it is important to understand the power of neutrals as a foundation for your wardrobe, you then earn the right to use colour creatively and with confidence.
Ground your big or core investment pieces (suit, skirt, trousers, jacket) in a darker neutral and ring the changes of variety through fashion and your seasonal colours and styles of your tops and accessories.  Providing your weight doesn’t change drastically, a good investment garment will still be looking good and serving you well for years to come.

How interesting to hear fashion editor Anna Wintour’s response to the question ‘Is there anything you would refuse to wear?’ is simply ‘head-to-toe black’.

So there you have it - Identify the neutrals and how they work for you so that you can confidently apply colour or texture to achieve interest at your desired level of impact.  As with any successful recipe, it’s the balance of ingredients which makes the magic work; colour to neutrals is like cake to icing.  ‘Everything in moderation’ could be a wise approach.

Ground the core of your capsule wardrobe around your best neutrals, keep returning to them as the basis from which you launch yourself into offensive (high visibility) or defensive (low visibility) and you’ll grow from strength to strength!