How to wear pastels: the ultimate ideas and inspiration guide!

by Sylvia

How to wear pastels: lots of ideas and inspiration |

Pastels is one of the major trends this season, but many women (including myself) find wearing pastels a challenge. They can wash you out, look too ‘sweet’ or take you back to your children’s years!

So today I will offer some tips and inspiration on how to wear pastels over 40 in a stylish & chic way.

1. Wear something colorful with your pastel top or dress

Tips for wearing pastels: combine with brighter assessories on top! |

I like wearing pastel greys and pinks, but pastels are definitely a tough color for me to wear. That is why I need to make sure I combine my pastel top with something colorful. In the top above, it already helps that the sleeves are in a brighter color. I also combine it with a colorful necklace and made sure that there is a bit of color on my lips.

Some good ways to add color on top include:

  • A colorful necklace
  • Colorful earrings
  • A colorful cardigan
  • Scarf
  • Hat with color
  • Sunglasses
  • A bag
  • Brighter makeup

wearing pastels in style | combine with brighter accessories |

2. Wear pastel at the bottom instead of the top

wearing a pink skirt and dark fuchsia top - How to wear pastels |

Another great way to incorporate pastels is to wear it at the bottom instead of the top. That way you can still incorporate the trend into your look without letting it wash you out.

Ann applies this tactic too with this beautiful outfit (see this article for more photos).

Ann wearing baby blue pants with grey checkered jacket |

3. Combine with white

Pastels always look beautiful with cream or white which will create a very chic and soft look.

4. Be playful with different colorsWearing pastels with white |

Although it can be quite sugary to combine baby blue with pink or mint green there are very beautiful ways to combine these pastels.

I love the 2 renditions below, where 2 shades of pastel blue are combined with green. The color combination at the right is just stunning.

Combining several pastels colors together |

5. Wear pastel as a monochrome look

Also very chic is just to focus on one color. You can wear the same color all-over or put a brighter version of the pastel on top as shown at the right.

Monochromatic pastel looks for spring 2014 |

More ideas on how to wear pastels from all of you!

Ana combines her peach dress with black creating a very stylish look, while Greetje wears it casually with jeans. The shimmer of her top brightens up the look as well as her colorful necklace.

Wearing pastels over 40 |

Lorraine came up with several ideas.

How to wear pastels - mixing and matching |

My personal favorite is that combination on the right. Love the combination of black & white, fuchsia, with grey coat!

Ideas for wearing pastel color this spring |

Combining pink with navy |

This is how Kay would wear pastels for casual outings.

Wearing pastel colors for sporty events |

Sabine (website | Polyvore) likes to wear them for a sunny day at the beach!

pastels for the beach |

But she has an elegant version as well.

elegant in pastels |

Nanne (website | Polyvore) has combined pastels with her beloved neutrals.

neutrals and pastels: How to wear pastels |

These 2 lovely combinations by Catherine (website | Polyvore) are very easy to wear!

brighter pastel combinations |

2 lovely combinations from Nicole (left | right)

Combining pink with red |

Suzanne opts for brighter pastels and combines them with even brighter or darker colors.

brighter pastel colors |

And here are a few more renditions of my own that I still like to wear.

soft pink pastels | How to wear pastels |

The good thing is that pastels continue to be popular for winter 2014 as well. Pastels were seen on the runways of Gucci, Matthew Williamson and Ralph Lauren. So if you invest in pieces that you can easily layer, you can use them for the whole of the coming year!

pastel trends for fall 2014 |

More examples of women over 40 wearing pastel colors

Wearing baby blue with red |

One of my own tricks for not getting washed out by pastels is to wear it with a brighter color. I love wearing this silk and linen baby blue top from In Good Company with my trusted red skirt. Adding some brighter accessories help brighten up the look.

For more help on wearing pastel colors, check out this article on how to wear pastels or check out some of my recent pastels outfits. Also check out our tips and inspiration on how to wear pink and how to wear pale blue.

Here are a lot more looks featuring pastels to inspire you!

pink pastel dress | lila pastel dress | old pink pastel suit |  Wearing a pastel skirt with black | cream and pink | pretty pastel dresses | how to wearing pastels | sparkly pastels | wearing pale blue dress |  wearing orange pastels | paste lskirt | pastel dress with embelishments |

What pastel colors would you enjoy to wear? Which one of these looks is your favorite?


Last 12 images by Denton Taylor


{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 betti

Pastels really wash me out but I do agree with #1 & #2. I don’t really combine them with white..but that is maybe more of a tropical climate thing 🙂 Here I think it always looks somewhat Nurse-ish. (a lot of nurses here where pastel scrubs or white pants pastel scrub tops)

I like the monochromatic look – combining a pastel pink with deeper shades of pink.
My go-to way of wearing pastels is to combine them with black. I don’t think it works that well for me because it tends to be black bottom and pastel tops, probably some bold jewelry around my neck my help.


2 Sylvia

Yes wearing black with pastel can be very chic too. I even forget to add that to my tips. Luckily some of the readers covered that part!


3 Daenel T

I’m so not a pastel wearer. I think I look better in saturated colors but I’d like to give it a try. I think your tips will help me out a lot. Thanks for offering them.


4 Sylvia

You’re welcome Daenel. Good luck. It’s always good to try something new!


5 Ann

You look lovely in these outfits! I love the gray skirt you are wearing in the first picture and I also like the purple and pink outfit. Interesting to see all the different ideas and combinations. I’m thinking I will purchase some pastel pieces with spring, probably in blue.

blue hue wonderland


6 Sylvia

Thanks Ann. It’s great to see what you can come up with if you just shop your closet!


7 Valerie

Love pastels and need to wear more of them (with my dark colouring)! It is great to see all the different colour and clothing type combinations you present here Sylvia (and you look lovely), lots of inspiring ideas – thank you.


8 Sylvia

Have fun mixing & matching Valerie!


9 Annette

I look forward to wearing pastels in spring. Sometime I like to add brighter or darker colours (in my next post) which depends a bit whether my skin is tanned or not.
I love neutral beige and cream tones mixed with white (love Diane Keaton’s looks in “Something’s Gotta Give”) or black.

Annette | Lady of Style


10 MCarmen

anyone version is perfect to wear pastel colors. I love it!!!



11 Lisa M

I looked at my wardrobe when you issued the challenge — even dragged out my summer clothes (ah, summer, where art thou?) and didn’t find a single thing that could be counted as pastel. No, not even a scarf. Since it makes up no part of my current wardrobe, I can only assume that it doesn’t look good on me, and that if I bought anything it would hang unused in the closet. I understand the argument about pastels on the bottom, but I really do require anything I own to mix with a lot of different tops. Looking at what I have, I think I’d like to find a red skirt for summer, or perhaps teal. Either would go with many things.

I have a much smaller warm weather wardrobe and definitely want a few new items, but probably not pastels.


12 Greetje Kamminga

I love these kind of posts. So much inspiration. From you and from the others. I saw a new pretty raspberry top on you. And a new bag in the same colour? I will come back and have a closer look at this post as well. Thanks.
And I don’t think I will be wearing much pastels. It is not my natural taste.


13 Sylvia

Thanks Greetje. Both the bag and top are old (bag not super old but has been featured on blog before) but the outfits are new. Just shopping my wardrobe. Yay!


14 Nanne

So much lovely inspiration! And thanks for featuring my Polyvore 🙂


15 Petra

What a fabulous article – love the contributions by the readers 😀 It’s helped me see what I can put a pastel with that won’t wash out my “winter” complexion. I love the first outfit on you Sylvia, very soft and drapy with the grey skirt and the top with the coloured sleeves – very pretty and comfy looking 🙂


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