A year round trend that shows no signs of losing its popularity, pastel shades rank alongside floral patterns and colour blocking as one of the major styles currently available on the high street and on the catwalk. Pastel shades suit light, feminine looks, and have become a key feature of brands such as Prada, Philiip Lim and Christian Dior for their Spring and Summer 2012 collections. Some of the strengths of pastel shades include their flexibility and adaptation to different looks, as well as their use across a wide range of items and outfits, and their adaptation for Spring and Summer menswear styles.
Pastel has become an increasingly popular trend in 2012, and has built on success in 2011. In some ways, pastel offers a more diluted, but still striker complement to parallel trends for colour blocking with oranges and brighter yellows. Pastels in light blues, mint and pale pink have been particularly popular in terms of adapting to various trends. With an emphasis on feminine shades and decoration, pastels represent a neutral colour that works well for luxe combinations, and softer, more vintage styles.
In this way, pastel has worked well for vintage 1920s styles, and particular trends for fashions inspired by The Great Gatsby, with styles ranging from shift dresses to tops and bags. Pastel skirts have also featured prominently in vintage Americana and 1950s trends. The vintage appeal of pastels, which share many characteristics with floral pattern trends, also lies in its ability to mute out neons and metallic colours, making it a useful complement to colour blocking.
Pastel shades have had a number of other uses beyond a more typical use on dresses, tops and skirts. The shade has appeared on handbags and clutches, as well as nail polish and make up. Pastel trends have even extended to the use of natural, temporary hair dyes, whereby pastel crayons are used to create streaks and highlights in hair.
Pastels work particularly well as a way of achieving a girly look that can be aged using accessories. Dresses and softer shades can make use of different pastel shades depending on day or night wearing, and can also be tied to particular seasons. Spring has seen mint become a popular choice for pastel colours, with darker shades becoming more frequently seen in late summer and early autumn. Pastel can be used in this way as a complete form of colour blocking across dresses, handbags and trousers, as well as for shirts.
Pastel styles have also crossed, in slightly different forms, into menswear in the form of shirts and blazers. While not as ultra feminine as some of the pastel looks that have been seen in womenswear, a pastel shade or lines can be worn as a simple way of creating a summer look. Lighter stripes and tennis shoes also help to extend the look. At the same time, pastels have overlapped with shirts and prep fashions, which can be worn in semi formal or office wear combinations.
Martin Roche – Fashion expert offering advice on the latest seasonal fashion trend currently blogging for www.choicestore.co.uk