Two local stylists discuss the best ways to wear the boldest hue of the season.
By Ashley Breeding
Historically a symbol of status, the color red in modern times still signifies power among those bold enough to wear it. Whatever its meaning, it’s not for the faint of heart.
At New York Fashion Week, many designs exhibited an air of elegance and sophistication in shades ranging from blood-orange to burgundy. Reds appeared on everything from androgynous suits and trousers to satin and sequin dresses—and even a voluminous fur from Stella McCartney.
While Newport Beach’s balmy autumn rarely calls for insulated ancestral coats, the runway showcased several red styles that can be integrated into a coastal wardrobe. Dawn Klohs and Denise Schaefer, owners and stylists at A’maree’s, are embracing all the bold shades.
“We love stacking the color red, and the key to making it work is playing with a variety of textures to add dimension to your look and also take the eye in a variety of places,” Klohs says.
As a how-to for layering, she points to designer Daniela Gregis, whose “mixes of taffeta and cotton pieces are also great for fall in Newport Beach, because you can add a coat or not.”
Does the thought of making such a powerful fashion statement turn you into a shrinking violet? A great way to grow accustomed to—and confident in—sporting vibrant colors is to start small, with accessories. Klohs and Schaefer suggest adding a red handbag, eyewear or even a pair of gloves to an otherwise neutral (read: comfortable) outfit. Also consider a cashmere scarf, which transitions perfectly into fall and pairs well with camel or charcoal colors, says Klohs, who also keeps a Denis Colomb pashmina on hand.
For more formal occasions, the style duo says you can’t go wrong when adding a touch of red with your shoes. “A bold red shoe pairs beautifully with a black dress or other neutral options,” Schaefer advises. What about a more casual setting, like the office or a lunch date? Try on slides or loafers in a rich cherry or currant.
An understated print, like red gingham separates from Alaia, is another way to subtly incorporate bright colors. “Especially in a climate that’s warm like ours, we love introducing the feel of fall in the weights of summer,” Schaefer says.
For those ready to venture further with a statement color—though not eager to rock red from head to studded heel just yet—a simple dress in a deep wine hue might be the way to go, suggests Schaefer.
At NYFW, red lips were also a thing of the moment (and also the past). Bold pouts paid homage to Audrey Hepburn and polished looks for Christian Siriano, while those modeling designs by Kim Shui and Tia Adeola showed off lips that were heavily lined and painted dark, reminiscent of a 1990s Winona Ryder.
Feeling bold? There’s no rule against layered looks in unexpected color combinations. So let your spirit be your style guide, and mix scarlet and watermelon and merlot if the moment calls for it. After all, when you wear something—anything—with confidence, there is no getting it wrong.