Spring fashion: Adding optimism to your closet with colour

With energetic colours and playful prints slated to be key trend stories this spring, fashion insiders say we can expect to enjoy a season packed with joyful style.

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Miriam Delos Santos isn’t afraid to play with colour in her wardrobe.

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A quick scroll through social media provides all the proof needed to validate this statement. Whether a close-cropped selfie showing Delos Santos pairing a purple knit sweater under a lime green dress — with matching lime green eyeshadow and a bright pink lip — or an in-studio image of the creative combining pink and red in a perfectly riotous combination, the Winnipeg-based designer provides a plethora of examples of her firm hold on hues.

“Colour is an instant mood booster to me,” Delos Santos says. “I’ve noticed just by using more colour in what I wear, it invites conversation, people’s interest. It’s an opening.”

Delos Santos shares that colour creativity with others through the brand Hello Darling Co., a slow-fashion outfit that offers hair accessories such as headbands and scrunchies, along with a few key clothing pieces. The designs, as one might imagine given her full grasp of colour play, are available in a rainbow of bright and happy hues.

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“I love the rainbow and all it has to offer — but I can say I am drawn to more bolder, brighter colours and palettes, pinks, lilacs and oranges,” Delos Santos explains. “Playing with the colour blocking, I am inspired to create designs inspired by sunsets and sunrises. The possibilities are limitless.”

Among her designs is the Nati dress, named after Delos Santos’s aunt, that offers a one-size-fits-all, shift dress-style with pockets in a full colour spectrum of shades. 

The Colour Block Nati Dress ($160) from Hello Darling Co.
The Colour Block Nati Dress ($160) from Hello Darling Co. Photo by Hello Darling Co. /PNG

“It is the one-sized wonder and literally looks good on every body as a layering piece and I have seen it styled in so many ways,” she says of the bestselling design. “Our fall and winter wool Nati’s have given way to a spring-ready Organza Colour Block Nati that can be worn atop any beloved staple already in your wardrobe. A cute turtleneck, a nice wide pant, a crop top and bike shorts or bathing suit, and accessorize with a cute crossover bag or fanny pack. The options are limitless and can be tailored to how you express yourself stylistically. That’s the best part.”

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With her designs, Delos Santos aims to help wearers see themselves — and colour — in a new way.

“I love to think of our bodies, and the ways in which we adorn them, as walking art. An expression of all the joy and fun we can still have in small ways,” Delos Santos says.

No stranger to the power of punchy pops of colour, Delos Santos says she created her brand during a “really dark time” in her life.

“I held on to fabrics with bold colours as sort of an armour to design and wear. I felt empowered. It was colour therapy,” Delos Santos say. “I try to infuse this boldness and play of bright colour into all of my designs and hope the person wearing any of my pieces feels a bit of that joy and resilience — and a tiny bit of self-care.”

The effects of colour on human emotion have long been studied. Warmer colours such as red and orange can invoke a more passionate response, while cooler shades such as blue and green tend to prompt a feeling of calm.

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This spring, fashion is leaning in to the influence of bold shades by offering a wide variety of saturated hues. The proliferation of pops of colour has much to do with a post-pandemic desire to play with fashion again, according to Kate Bellman, managing editor at Nordstrom.

Cristina Martinez, a Seattle-based artist, is pictured with her mom in this undated handout photo from Nordstrom.
Cristina Martinez, a Seattle-based artist, is pictured with her mom in this undated handout photo from Nordstrom. Photo by Nordstrom

“After two years of being socially distant with very little reason to leave the house or put together an outfit, people are excited to finally step out and are embracing the joy of once again getting dressed,” Bellman says. “With that, colour is an overt way to radiate this renewed sense of buoyancy and happiness.”

Bellman says adding colour to one’s spring wardrobe can “elicit a huge jolt of energy and convey a sense of joy and optimism.”

For those who are unsure of how to add pops of colour to their day-to-day wear, the fashion pro suggests pairing punchy pieces with more familiar neutral hues.

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“There are so many colours that pair back perfectly and are a beautiful compliment to neutrals,” Bellman says. “A great approach to start infusing colour into your wardrobe is to start with a monochrome base and add in pops of colours with shoes or accessories. Similar to the sophistication of neutrals, pastels are also a muted palette and offer the same refinement, but with colour.”

To try the trend in a small way, Delos Santos suggests popping on an accessory like a neon headband.

For those who are eager to embrace the full rainbow of shades in their personal style, Bellman urges the adoption of a more-is-more approach this spring.

“Full-on head-to-toe colour mixing has been seen on both the runway and street style, and brings a very modern, impactful and creative approach to dressing,” Bellman says. “Particularly within separates or tailored pieces, look to mix-and-match bold colour combos like red and pink together or blue and purple.”

With energetic colours and playful prints slated to be key trend stories this spring, fashion insiders say we can expect to enjoy a season packed with joyful style.

And, after so many seasons of uncertainty, Delos Santos says it’s the perfect time to embrace the optimism of this sartorial shift.

“If it makes you smile or feel some type of way, why not try it?” she asks. “Maybe what you choose to wear will help bring some brightness into someone else’s day. And make them smile too.”

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