For most women, the phrase “key neutrals” brings to mind a minimalist trio of black, white, and navy. But there’s a whole slew of earth-toned neutral shades, the sartorial potential of which has long been overlooked. This season, they’re stepping out of the shadows and into the spotlight. As it turns out, khakis, tans, ercus, and beiges are as versatile and timeless as black and white, as evidenced by the many designers who referenced the shades in their new collections.
Exhibit A: Bottega Veneta, which newly-installed creative director Daniel Lee has transformed into one of the most-coveted brands on the planet. For his last two collections, Lee has leaned heavily on khaki tones, from hourglass-shaped blazers through to chunky cropped knits and silky separates. The brand’s beloved pouch handbags were re-imagined in an olive shade, and quickly snapped up by the likes of Hailey Bieber and Rosie Huntington-Whitetley. Elsewhere, we saw the new neutral palette at Burberry, Coach, and Louis Vuitton.
In a cultural moment where we are endeavouring to become more thoughtful, conscious consumers, new neutrals are a particularly attractive proposition, promising not to go out of fashion anytime soon. An added bonus is that they fit neatly with the basics that make up your current wardrobe—blue denim? Check. Black blazers? Check. Crisp white shirts? Check again.
Skirts are a great starting point—opt for a heavy fabric that comes to the shin, worn with black leather heeled boots (Witchery are currently offering a great iteration). Pair with perennially classic pieces like a ribbed singlet and sharp Balmain blazer—the latter is currently exclusively available at David Jones. Alternatively, you can opt for a slouchy Viktoria and Woods (also a David Jones exclusive) knit, tucked into wide-leg white trousers and finished with chic brown leather accessories.
Or, if you’re really feeling the new palette, adopt it head-to-toe. A statement cotton blouse by Witchery pairs perfectly with rust-hued trousers and a beige leather shoulder bag by Italian leather powerhouse Bally. The best part? Each piece can be worn separately with staples from the aforementioned black/white/navy brigade. Like we said, versatility.
Experimenting with new colours opens the door to other kinds of experimentation too. Try balancing slouchy, quasi-masculine silhouettes (like suiting or shirting) with more feminine elements, like Peter Pan-collared blouses, or sequin-embellished pieces. Or play around with volume by pairing cropped sleeveless vests (if they’re good enough for Harry Styles…) with fluid, wide-leg trousers. Whatever you do, don’t play it safe.
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