How to embrace beige

Beige is having a moment. A colour once synonymous with drab, boring, it’s now chic, sophisticated and cool.

Depending on your skin tone, you might jump for joy or scream in horror at this news. If you’re lucky enough to have glowing golden, olive or caramel skin, you may even already have some beautiful beige pieces in your wardrobe. However if, like the rest of us, you have pale or pinkier skin, you’ve probably avoided the colour for the majority of your adult life.

It’s also possible you’ve increasingly shunned beige with age. When we think of frumpy clothes for older women, the colour usually comes to mind. So, even if you once wore the shade, you may now consciously avoid it to prevent yourself falling into the old-fashioned category.

Well the good news is, you can now embrace beige regardless of skin tone, and wear it in a fresh, modern way. Moreover, welcoming the trend won’t compromise on any commitments to supporting slow, sustainable fashion. Beige isn’t going anywhere (it was seen all over the catwalks for AW19) and, while it hasn’t been accepted widely before, it has and always will be considered timeless and luxurious with the fashion circle. So you can invest knowing it will never truly go out of style.

Here are my top tips on wearing beige as you age:

Pick the right shade

There are now tones or shades to suit every skin tone (which have also been given fancy names to make them sound more luxurious). There’s ‘contemporary oatmeal’, ‘stony ground’ and ‘exotic camel’ to name a few. If you have golden skin, warmer tan tones will suit you best, whereas cooler shades will suit those with fairer, porcelain skin. However, as I always say, if something catches your eye give it a go, regardless of whether you think it will suit you. Because the undertone, cut or shape may be such that it surprises you!

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Wear it head to toe

The leading way to wear beige right now is from head to toe. A full ‘tonal’ look isn’t for the faint hearted, but it is deceptively easy to pull off in reality.  Even just pairing a blazer or knit with a pair of trousers nails the look. You can wear the same shade all over, or break up the look with different tones.

What’s most important here, though, is to choose contemporary cuts that are clean and slick, and clearly don’t look like they’ve been collecting dust in the back of your wardrobe.

Have fun with textures

Incorporating different textures into your outfit looks luxurious and sophisticated – especially if you’re wearing one tone all over (I also highly recommend mixing textures when wearing black). Try pairing a silky blouse with a woollen jacket, or a chunky knit with a butter-soft leather bag. Like all attention to detail, texture adds depth, attitude and style.

Add colour or animal print

If wearing beige all over is a bit too daunting, break it up with colour. Given beige is effectively a neutral, it goes with the majority of colours, and is a great choice for toning down loud brights. In particular, it looks great with cherry red, bubblegum pink, apricot and violet.

Another option is to mix it up with animal print to add edge. If you pick a ‘natural’ animal print shade, it can even count as your nod to beige, or you could pick a playful colourful print and juxtapose it.

Incorporate a subtle nod

As I say with all looks and trends, if you’re tentative about embracing it, just start small. Dip your toe into the water by adding just one or two choice pieces that subtly reference the trend without shifting you entirely out of your comfort zone.

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A trench coat is an obvious entry point for beige, but I recommend trying it in a different way to be more current. Consider a caramel blazer or a vanilla knit. Or even just a beautiful coffee coloured bag.

About Jacynth Bassett

I'm the founder of the-Bias-Cut - Shopping With Attitude Where Ageism Is Never In Style. Swiftly becoming recognised as one of the UK’s leading pioneers of style at every age, I have written on the topic for The Guardian online, The Huffington Post and have contributed to an internationally published book. I also regularly speak on panels and podcasts, am a ViewVo accredited business mentor, and the weekly ‘Style Advisor’ for The Menopause Room. In my spare time, I love to dance, specialising in hip-hop, and to dine out with family and friends.