Growing up in NYC and being in the fashion industry black has always been synonymous with elegance. Yet, being Latina meant that my friends usual black urbanite uniform was being critiqued constantly by my mom and my abuela. My mom will still ask my friends with a very sad look “Did someone pass away? Who are you mourning?” The idea of not wearing color is beyond comprehension to her. Yes, black is elegant to them as well but there is a time and a place. Color on the other hand is what makes us social and happy and Latinos.

This year all our Latina moms can be very happy since color is everywhere! Today color blocking is a daily phrase and seen not only in fashion magazines but also in the streets of NYC. The color palette ranches from vibrant blue, radiant yellows, shocking pinks, juicy oranges and Amazonian greens. As much as I do wear black I have always worn color and this year just means I get a chance to be more playful not only with my outfits but those I choose for my clients.

How though do you wear this seasons bountiful color palette without looking well… like Carmen Miranda?  The answer is what feels right to you and following these simple rules to step outside your grey scale comfort zone.

1. I like to call the first method “color for beginners” For those that want to try color but are still weary of stepping out of their comfort zone, remember that any bright color can be toned down with a neutral. So you can wear the hot red pants and tone it down with a beige or soft pick top. You can also do white, black or grey for more contrast but still calming down the pop of color.

2. Wear different shades of the same color making it monochromatic. We are used to doing this with our grey scale but now with other colors. Consider pairing blue jeans with a bright turquoise shirt and cobalt blue accessories to finish it off. The look is slimming and smart

3. Accessorize your outfit with a splash of color. Shoes, handbags and jewelry are all offered in the array of bright colors including neon and color blocking techniques. I love pairing neon’s with neutrals to give interest and trendiness to any outfit.

4. Color blocking a technique used where either a garment or outfit is made up of various blocks of color. The most common used color combinations is creating a shock of color by using colors opposite each other like purple and orange. Soften the shock by keeping warm colors and cool colors together like red and fuchsia or blue and green. This is perhaps the most used and avant-garde of the color mixing techniques allowing you to mix your bright hues in one outfit.  Meant to be used for  true extravagant color enthusiast that believe more is always better.

However you decide to wear color this season be sure you make this a fun and fresh look that will make your abuela proud.

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Monica Diaz is a NYC fashion consultant, owner of MonicaDiazMode and the author of 7 Days To Style.

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