How to wear pale colours in a more colourful way

by Sylvia

Pink Calvin Klein dress

I went to a rather ‘dangerous’ sale this last weekend. Club 21 was organising a huge designer label sale where a lot of my favorite brands were represented. I could not resist and decided to have a look. No surprise that I came away with quite a few goodies….

Pink Calvin Klein dress

One of them was this old pink Calvin Klein dress. Although it is my intention to buy brighter colours from now on, since those now look better on me, I could not resist this dress which incorporates some of my favorite design elements such as asymmetry, dropped waist and knee-high length height. At a staggering $40, how could I resist?

coloured necklace

Lydia Bremer jewelleryTo compensate for the lack of colour, I opted for coloured accesories close to my face. Perfect for that is this colour tube necklace from Lydia Bremer from the One Makes Two collection. I have 4 tubes in different colours and you can combine them into a short necklace, a longer one (with a knot) as I have done here or a bracelet. Right up my alley of course, as you all know how much I love versatile design! This playful necklace made the dress more fun, modern and playful and provided the much needed colour.

red bag

Other colour accents were my red shoes, red handbag, watch with yellow band and red cardigan.

For those of you in colder climates, I would wear this dress in winter over red skinny pants, combined with jacket or cardigan, worn with little booties.

The latest macro trends

The occasion for wearing the dress was a presentation by a French delegation visiting Singapore on a/o the latest Macro trends in Design & Fashion.


The highlighted trends included:

  1. Storytelling: back in history to create new stories, make people dream through escape to a fantasized past wonderful present.
  2. Sense: reflextion on our life, sensibility for the future, expansion of a reasoned philosphy.
  3. Fun: the new way of living, multiplying experiences and adventures bring lightness in the world.
  4. New Cool: cool is the new chic. Popular activities become the most classy ones.
  5. Connectivity: sharing, mixing and travelling… Connectivity is always pushed to another higher degree.

side aspect Calvin Klein dress

It was great fun to listen to and be inspired by the French delegation. My only regret is that I was not able to take photos since most of the men and women there looked very stylish indeed!

Are you persuaded sometimes to buy garments in colours that are not the best for you? How do you compensate for that?

1 Practical Paralegalism

That dress is gorgeous on you – it looks like it cost way more than $40. Your photos are beautiful, too.

Sometimes I compensate for colors that aren’t ideal for me with a necklace, scarf, or blazer. Sometimes I have to let it go and chalk it up to experience.

2 Sylvia

Thanks. It’s a dress from an old collection so therefore it was marked way down. But some designs are timeless…

3 Marla

I love the red accessories with that pale dress. So pretty!

4 Sylvia

thanks Marla. Yes, the great thing about such a pale dress is that the accessories really shine!

5 Paula

Hi Sylvia! I think you balanced the pastel colors brilliantly! you look smashing!

6 Sylvia

Thank you Paula. So great to have you back in the blogosphere!

7 Patti @ NotDeadYet Style

I can see why you could not pass up this marvelous CK dress – it suits you perfectly! And as you wrote, it can be multi-seasonal as well as the basis for lots of color. Thanks so much for sharing your look with Visible Monday.

8 Sylvia

Thanks Patti. Yes, if only I had multi seasons….

9 Jean at Dross into Gold

Wow. This post is a perfect lesson on what to do with that fabulous dress/top etc. that’s not the perfect color. If you put a flattering color near your face in particular, it can usually work! Great styling. Wish we could’ve see the oh-so fabulously stylish folks from France. Maybe next time. 🙂

10 Sylvia

I know. It was a feast for the eyes. I was only glad I had something nice to wear as well!

11 Val Sparkle

Jean’s right – that necklace makes all the difference, and so versatile! I’ll have to try that trick. I quit wearing beige when I stopped dying my hair (beige clothes and gray hair look horrible together), but maybe scarves would make it work.

12 Sylvia

Scarves would work really well for that, so definitely give that a try. I had been waiting patiently for the perfect garment to wear this necklace. It’s certainly not a necklace that fits a lot of clothes!

13 Rita

That outfit is gorgeous…the blush with red is a brilliant combination.

I go with what I like, color-wise. I did that “Color Me Beautiful” thing once and it messed me up for years. I’d find things that I liked and I thought looked fine on me, but I wasn’t “supposed” to wear that color. I was “supposed” to wear black, and I abhor wearing black. Thankfully, I forgot all that nonsense and went with what I like. I figure if I’m drawn to it, it’ll work for me. 🙂

14 Sylvia

Yes, Rita go with what you like and also listen to the feedback of others. When you wear colours that really suit you, you will get all kinds of compliments coming your way!

15 julee

Wow – great dress and looks great on you!

16 Sylvia

Thank you Julee.

17 Greetje

Perfect dress, perfectly styled. You look stunning. And yes, I sometimes buy clothes which are not my colour (near my face). But I usually do that because I want them to be a stage for a necklace or a scarf. Exactly like you have done. Your lovely tube necklace would be nowhere if the dress had been red. Love the shoes, the bag, the necklace and this dress at $40 is a steal.
Colouring up a garment which is not your favourite… now this is a trick I do know. Finally, something that I master.

18 Sylvia

Exactly Greetje. I knew I could find ways to make this dress work. It had good length so I could wear it as a dress and a tunic and I love wearing a good statement necklace. It was the perfect outing for this tube necklace! Glad you like it.

19 Samantha Moulton

I’ve purchased many an item that was “wrong” for me color-wise because I haven’t been able to resist the sale…too often they hang in my closet forever, tags still attached. This is a great tip. On an unrelated note, I have to tell you that you have great arms – I envy you for being able to go sleeveless!

20 Sylvia

Hope you will apply the tips Samantha!

Thanks for the compliment on my arms. Some of my readers have told me this as well, so I will enjoy going sleeveless for as long as I can. I don’t think I will easily give it up here in Singapore…. One of my friends feels that she can’t anymore and she wrote an article on how to cover your arms for this site:

21 Michele

You have such an amazing sense of style, I adore it!

22 Sylvia

Thanks Michele for your kind words and leaving your first comment on this site! Much appreciated.

23 traceyliz65

What a perfect example of not limiting our wardrobes to only certain colors. What a steal on that dress. I love CK and it is the only designer that my 21 year old and I share… The versatility with the jewelry is fantastic.

24 Sylvia

Thanks Tracey. Yes, as Greetje mentioned before, it’s also nice to have a few plainer colours so you can play with your accessories!

25 Buckle Button Zip

You look wonderful and I love the cut of this dress on you. Very sophisticated.
x Laura

26 Sylvia

Thank you Laura. Yes, it’s right up my alley, comfortable and loose!

27 Marianne

I really really love this dress. You know I am not familiar with modern jewelry but this I would buy immediately. The total picture is wonderful.

28 Sylvia

Thanks Marianne. Bought in Holland 🙂

29 Suzanne

You look so pretty Sylvia. You have beautiful shoulders and arms. All of that tennis has payed off. 🙂

30 Sylvia

Thanks Suzanne. I will just have to keep on playing then!

31 Devorah Rachel

You are right Sylvia, how could you resist that dress! It looks amazing with the red, so gorgeous!

32 Sylvia

Yes how could I? My heart is weak…..

33 Adrienne

Hi Sylvia,

That Calvin Klein dress drapes beautifully on you. You styled it so well with those accessories. I especially like that very hip necklace. What a cleaver idea!


34 Sylvia

Thank you Adrienne. That is what happens when you think about your outfit and look what’s in your accessories box. It’s not easy to choose jewellery for a dress with an asymmetric neck, but I agree that this necklace really worked.

35 Jan Graham-McMillen

So pretty, and you’ve styled it so well. Isn’t it fun to give in to temptation? Thanks, also for the very timely ( for me, anyway ) link to ” How to wear oxblood red.” I’ll make use of it!

36 Sylvia

Thanks Jen. Yes, certainly when it doesn’t break the bank balance!

37 Heather Fonseca

The beauty of a pale grey dress (is it oyster?) is that it goes with everything. Color, more white, black, denim, whatever. I like it with Red, but it looks so beautiful on you I think you could wear it without the color too.

38 Sylvia

I would say that this dress is a little more pink than oyster. There are certainly other options of wearing it.

39 Jeannie@gracefully50

Amazing dress! What a buy!
You look gorgeous, Sylvia! Perfect accessories! RED! 😀

40 Sylvia

Thanks Jeannie. I know! Red has become my new basic.

41 Bella Q

YOU LOOK FANTASTIC! I love the mix of the pale with the bold red accents. You look like you, only better! For me this is the best of fashion- you look on trend without a whiff of trendy, chic and comfortable and cool.

42 Sylvia

You always give the best compliments. Thank you Bella!

43 Veshoevius

You look so elegant! That is such a beautiful dress! Love all your red accessories.

44 Sylvia

thanks Veshoevius!

45 Sue

I have both bought and passed on clothing that fit well but the color was not good for me. Being petite, it is hard to find clothing that fits well. Now I have some ideas on how to style those items I bought that are not the most flattering color (scarves, jewelry). I can also buy items that fit well even if the color is not the best. Thanks for the styling tips.

46 Sylvia

You are very welcome Sue. Thanks for leaving your feedback and letting me know that this article was helpful for you!

47 Melanie

Wow, you wear pale colours with such pizazz I forget they are pale. Those pops of colour are so strategic and perfect! Love this. I need some red skinny pants now…

48 Sylvia

thanks Melanie. Glad my little ‘tricks’ worked!

49 Petra

Ooooh, you will have a lot of fun with that dress! LOVE the necklace – have you heard of it being sold in Australia?

50 Sylvia

Thanks Petra. The CK dress is from the collection of 2 / 3 seasons ago, so watch out for any multi label sales in your area. I’m not sure about the necklace. You can try and do a search for the designer’s name?

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