Gray is a common neutral color that does not have to be boring. The color provides a softer alternative to black and is actually easier to wear for many women over 40.

It is an incredibly versatile color that you can wear in many different ways in both summer and winter and I have embraced it for each season.

Here is an updated guide on how to wear gray in both winter and summer!

Think gray really is boring? Here is why you might want to re-consider

Before taking a look at the colors which go with gray, maybe you’re not convinced at all about wearing gray at all.

Gray is, after all, often considered to be a boring, conservative option. But, it really doesn’t have to be. Here are some of the reasons you may want to wear gray.

Gray is the perfect base for a capsule wardrobe

If you want to create a capsule wardrobe to make sure everything you have goes with plenty of other items in your closet, gray can be a perfect neutral to choose as a base.

It is less harsh than black

Black is often considered to be a flattering option, and it can be slimming. However, black against your face can also be aging. Gray offers a softer option and you can choose the gray which best flatters your skin tone.

Gray can be very sophisticated

Often seen as a mature choice, gray can also be sexy and sophisticated. While it is associated with workwear or men’s gray suits, I think wearing gray in an unexpected way or unexpected materials can give your outfit a real wow factor.

It goes with everything

As you’re about to see below, gray really does go with pretty much every color you can think of.

Colors that go with gray – Take a pick from these color palettes

Colors that go with gray - the color palettes |

A great way to get some inspiration for your outfits is to use a tool like Colorlovers. In just 5 minutes I got all these great color palettes (above) just by typing in the keyword gray.

You can see how versatile the color is.

It looks great with soft pastels like baby blue and pink, is great to combine with white and a pop of color and looks fresh and modern with brighter colors.

You can now go through these color palettes and see which one speaks to you.

Then head on over to your wardrobe and see which colors are already there and start creating some outfits.

This can be a fantastic way to revive your wardrobe if you feel you’ve become stuck in a bit of a rut in terms of how you wear your clothes.

The perfect gray basics

How to wear gray |

If you want to put together some stylish gray outfits, you will first need some stylish gray essentials to add the rest of your colors to. Here are some of the best gray essentials in stores now.

Oxana (above) wears an all gray outfits, creating layers with different shades of gray, and adding interest with a striped top as a base layer.

Recreate her look with this similar stripe turtleneck, dress, coat and suede boots.

How to wear gray: The perfect gray top

This layered top will enable you to create many outfits. You can easily layer it with a shirt underneath or a moto jacket on top, but it can also be worn very stylishly on its own.

The advantage of this top is that it drapes nicely over your belly and hides it perfectly. It’s not too long so will not cut your body in half and has an asymmetrical hem which makes it extra flattering!

Also take a look at how to hide your belly with the right clothes.

Bobeau asymmetrical hem top |

Bobeau asymmetrical hem top

The perfect gray jacket

A gray jacket can make many casual looks just a bit more chic.

I’m loving this gray moto jacket, which is a great alternative to a classic black leather jacket.

Wear it with your dresses, skirts or jeans. It would look beautiful paired with white, red or black.

CHARTOU suede moto jacket |

CHARTOU suede moto jacket

The perfect gray coat

Wearing a gray designer coat - How to wear gray |

40+style photographer Denton Taylor captured this lady on the streets of New York and it’s a great example of how stylish gray can be.

It seems like this outfit is almost head to toe designer with the bag by Miu Miu, coat and skirt by Prada and Mulberry, sunglasses by Prada and scarf by Mulberry.

However, you don’t have to choose designer to get a similar look. Below is a gray coat you can try.

Jack by BB Dakota belted coat |

Jack by BB Dakota belted coat

The perfect long gray cardigan

A long open cardigan is flattering for most.

It can help hide your belly or you it will lengthen you and make your slimmer and can work really well if you are petite.

This cardigan is extra flattering as it has a longer line.

Spiritual Gangster longline cardigan |

Spiritual Gangster longline cardigan

The perfect gray dress

There are more than 50 shades of gray, so you can choose one you prefer. You might like to opt for a dress that is a darker shade of gray that is almost, but not quite, black.

CAARA t-shirt dress |

CAARA t-shirt dress

The perfect gray skirt

Pleated skirts have been on-trend for a number of seasons now. They look fabulous worn with a sweater for a transitional outfit moving from winter to spring.

Club Monaco midi skirt |

Club Monaco midi skirt

The perfect gray pants

These pants are super versatile. They look chic for work or more formal events, but you can easily dress them down for casual too if you combine them with a light shirt and jean jacket.

Wit & Wisdom skinny pants |

Wit & Wisdom skinny pants

The perfect gray jeans

When it comes to jeans, it’s easy to think in terms of black, blue or white. But gray can also be a very versatile option, going with all of the tops you have in your closet.

AGOLDE straight jeans |

AGOLDE straight jeans

The perfect gray shoes

Sneakers are still very much on trend and I love these cotton textured sneakers. They will look perfect with the items showcased above and will make your dressier pants more casual.

Wear them with pants or skirts!

Michael Kors platform sneaker |

Michael Kors platform sneaker

Creating ensembles with gray

I used the color palettes as the starting base of the ensembles I have created. Read on for plenty of suggestions on how to wear gray with different color palettes.

Melting Sigh – combining gray with soft pink

Gray skirt with silk pink top |

I started off with Melting Sigh as I love the dreamy soft combination of gray and pink.

Check out this similar silk top and gray skirt.

Gray and pink create a soft romantic and classical look. Pink is a great color for a knitted sweater that you could combine with both your pants and skirts.

But also consider pink as the color of your coat which looks beautiful with your gray pants.

Although I strictly kept to a pink and gray palette here, it’s actually really nice to throw white into the mix as well. You can also add darker shades of gray.

For extra color or to highlight your romantic look, add a colorful scarf. featuring these colors.

Melting Sigh - combining gray with soft pink |

Leota fit & flare dressCole Haan wrap coatNordstrom wool & cashmere scarfKaty Perry half d’Orsay pump – Thacker crossbody bag (similar: Tory Burch wallet on a chain)

Combining gray with shocking pink

Combining gray with shocking pink |

Patricia (above) beautifully combines pink, gray and black.

Steal her look with this similar top, jacket, pants, heels, handbag, beret and gloves.

Combining gray with shocking pink |

Polo Ralph Laren silk blend blouseAG skinny jeansAnne Klein tweed topcoatLucky Brand bootieSole Society satchel

Combine gray with white

Outfit combining gray with white |

Petra (above) combines formal and casual elements to create a very hip looking outfit.

Recreate her look with this similar mock neck top, maxi coat, jeans, sneakers and sling bag.

Outfit combining gray with white |

BOSS mock neck shell – Blank NYC suede moto jacket (similar: KUT from the Kloth moto jacket) – Rag & Bone skinny jeans – SARTO by Franco Sarto bootie (similar: Steve Madden bootie) – Antik Kraft crossbody bag (similar: ALLSAINTS crossbody bag)

Combine gray with black

Outfit combining gray with black |

Sometimes a minimal outfit is all you need. What makes this outfit special is the edge the moto jacket and booties give to the dress.

Abi (above) adds a rock chick look to a versatile gray dress.

Check out this similar dress, moto jacket and combat boots.

Outfit combining gray with black |

Frank & Eileen button-up shirtBeyove cardigan vest1822 Denim coated skinny jeansKendra Scott tassel necklace – Ted Baker London shoulder bag (similar: Leathario crossbody bag) – Rockport cutout bootie (similar: Sam Edelman bootie)

Combining gray with coral

Coral is another color which goes beautifully with gray. You could opt for a coral sweater in cooler weather or a coral blouse.

Outfit combining gray with coral |

Ulla Johnson floral blouseCitizens of Humanity high waist slim jeansSplendid sandalKurt Geiger London round crossbody bag

Beautiful Freak – Combining gray with green

Outfit combining gray with green |

Another inspirational palette is Beautiful Freak. It combines two fashionable colors together: gray and dark green.

Combining gray with dark green creates a more sophisticated and mysterious look.

Kylie (above) combines a dark green blouse with pale gray wide-leg pants.

Check out this green blouse that you can wear with Kylie’s similar wide leg pants and booties.

It’s especially beautiful when you add white to the mix or play with different kinds of gray.  Finish your look with silver or gray brogues or booties.

You could also wear a lighter shade of green, as below, with your gray.

Outfit combining gray with green |

Halogen a-line midi skirtHalogen turtleneck sweater – Cupcakes and Cashmere metallic moto jacket (similar: KRISP moto jacket) – Dagne Dover clutchVagabond Shoemakers bootie

Combining gray with red

Outfit combining gray with red/burgundy |

Gray can also be used as the perfect neutral with primary colors, such as red. This is an especially good combination in winter and in the festive season.

Or you could put together a chic look for work.

Outfit combining gray with red |

Tommy Hilfiger cap sleeve teeAnne Klein blazer1901 ankle skinny pantsKate Spade New York oblong scarfBueno flatSole Society leather tote

Combine gray with burgundy

For a more muted, yet equally stylish look, you could choose burgundy rather than red, which looks particularly beautiful in cooler months.

wearing gray with burgundy |

Halogen boxy blouse – The White Company long cardigan (similar: Splendid long cardigan) – Articles of Society high waist jeansTreasure & Bond panama hatKate Spade New York leather toteNaturalizer bootie

Combine gray with blue

Another stunning look is to combine cobalt blue with gray. The gray is the perfect way to let the brighter blue take center stage in your outfit.

Outfit combining gray with blue |

Halogen wrap midi dress – Cupcakes and Cashmere knit duster jacket (similar: Splendid long cardigan) – Carvela Comfort slingback sandalNordstrom crystal clutchNakamol Chicago pearl necklace

A capsule wardrobe on how to wear gray |

Read our ultimate guide to creating a capsule wardrobe that works best for you.

How I have previously worn gray

I love wearing gray with a winter white base.

Sylvia wearing a white sweater, pants with gray topper |

Here is how I have worn gray in the summer, with my wide-legged white pants.

Gray summer outfit idea |

With wide leg pants and a grey top (here is a tank top that’s great too)

Gray outfit idea |

Mixing prints with an old silk blouse and dotted skirts. The shoes are my new favorite and can be bought here.

How Debra Rapoport wears gray

Turn your gray pieces into artful ensembles like Debra Rapoport.

Debra Rapoport wearing silver gray with brown |
Debra Rapoport wearing a gray jacket with striped pants |

What is your favorite way to wear gray? Which of these color combinations is your favorite?

Continue reading:

  1. The Ultimate Guide To Creating A Capsule Wardrobe That Works For You
  2. The Best Colors To Complement Gray Hair
  3. Can You Wear Beige Over 40?

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How to wear gray: Color palettes and ensembles for you to choose from |

Feature image by Oxana

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