Forget 50 Shades: Here Are 10 Ways to Rock Gray for Fall
Want to go from drab to fab this autumn? Fall head over heels for this season’s hottest hue.
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Sure, gray, or that seemingly plain shade between black and white, may appear too dreary to flaunt, but stylists insist it’s the perfect way to amp up your wardrobe to look effortlessly chic — if done correctly.
“According to color psychology, gray is conservative and drab. However, it’s also elegant and formal,” explains California-based stylist Nicole Busch of Share Some Style. “Gray is a chameleon. It conforms, especially when paired with other colors. I personally love gray and camel together. Nothing says rich and polished like that combination.”
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Skip the boring basics and heat up fall with a popular color that looks cool and flatters nearly everyone. Read on to find out how wearing gray can make you appear slimmer, enhance a bombshell pout, and make a silvery mane look even more fabulous:
If You Have Cool Undertones
No two shades of gray are alike, which is why it's so important to find out which hues best complement your skin tone. Pick the wrong color and you’ll risk zapping out your natural glow, making your features appear, well, gray. “Cool temperature skin tones wear gray best,” explains style consultant Thea Wood. “If you blush easily, burn within minutes of sitting in the sun, or have been compared to a porcelain doll, grey can be a luxurious neutral option for your wardrobe.” For ladies with cool undertones, Wood recommends looking for pieces featuring unique fabrics and textures, which will easily add drama to any wardrobe with minimal accessories.
If You Have Warm Undertones
If your undertones are on the golden side, it’s especially crucial to take note of which gray pieces you choose to wear. Wood says gray can easily wash you out and drain your face of its natural glow. Fortunately, you can still rock this color and highlight your youthful features with some simple tricks. “As long as the color isn’t reflecting up into your face, your healthy glow will remain intact,” says Wood. “Focus on gray pants, skirts, boots, handbags, bracelets, and other embellishments that fall below the elbow for best results.” But if you really want to wear that gray dress or sweater, make sure you seriously amp it up. “Pair it with gold earrings and a statement necklace with red coral or turquoise,” says Wood. Remember, color is your friend to make gray work for you.
“One way to really rock this shade is to work in a pop of color, or even go bold with color blocking,” says celebrity stylist Jessica Paster. “Altuzarra did this in their fall collection and perfectly showed how to pair light or dark grey with a fun color, like a bright pink shoe or an orange belt. When paired with gray, an emerald green top or a burgundy clutch can easily take away any possibility of drab!”
Avoid a One-Color Combo
While color blocking is encouraged to liven up any gray outfit, one thing you don’t want to do is mix two variations of this sleek color together. “Because there are so many different shades of gray, their undertones could be entirely different and you could end up clashing majorly,” says celebrity stylist Ali Levine. “Be careful with gray accessories, such as gloves, hosiery or belts. You want your gray [piece] to look pristine, and clashing grays are so distracting to the eye.”
You don’t always have to look for bold, bright pieces to make any gray outfit stand out. California-based personal stylist Paul Julch of Share Some Style says this versatile hue can look ultra-posh when combined with other surprising colors. “Some say gray is the new black; I say gray is the new nude,” says Julch. “Overwhelmingly versatile, gray is that quiet neutral that plays a supporting role [just] as well as it takes center stage. Pale gray makes a subtly sophisticated combination with khakis, taupes and off-whites. It exudes refinement and luxury. Pale to medium grays with whites and off-whites are stellar and unexpected fall combos. Add some python print in a bag, heels or a belt for a completely of-the-moment statement.”
One benefit of wearing gray this fall? It’s considered to be a neutral shade, which means it easily pairs with various other pieces in your closet, giving you more bang for your buck. “The great thing about neutrals is how sophisticated they can look,” says Pennsylvania-based personal stylist Lauren Vacula of Share Some Style. “I suggest pairing grays with other neutrals, like tan or ivory. If you’re heading either route, keep your lines clean and choose high-quality, well-tailored pieces for a polished look. If you are wearing all-gray, vary the shades instead of choosing the same tone head to toe.”
Add a Red Hot Pout
An easy way to go from simple to sultry with a gray ensemble? Pair it with red lips, which will draw attention to your face and brighten up your features. Also, red lips are a classic, head-turning beauty trick, and they give any outfit some much-needed oomph with minimal effort.
Lose Inches (In Minutes)
Sure, black can make you look slimmer, but did you know gray can create a similar effect? “Wearing all gray can elongate the body and make you appear slimmer,” says style expert Hilary Kennedy. “A gray dress, heels, and a slightly darker shade of gray for a handbag or overcoat look chic and trim the body. However, stay away from pairing black and gray together. Though they make a lovely combination, they are close in color and can come across as too boring and predictable.”
Play Up Your Natural Grays
Is your hair on the silvery side? Instead of hiding it with dye, make a bold statement with a stylish twist. “If you are a woman with silver hair, the right shade of light gray with silver accents can beautifully play off your hair color,” says Kennedy.
Show Some Skin
When it comes to wearing gray, don’t be afraid to keep it light: Remember, it’s not winter yet. “Don’t assume you need grey in a heavy fabric for fall,” says Kennedy. “Sheer gray blouses, skirts and scarves look less bulky and more feminine.”