A Stylist’s Guide To Wearing Green

In this month’s instalment of her SL column, stylist Anna Bromilow explains how to wear the colour of the season. From emerald to sage, here’s how to make it work…
By Anna Bromilow /

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Green

Green has really made a mark this season and yet, it seemed to be sorely lacking in my own wardrobe. When I looked through my summer clothes, I saw a clean sweep of blue, pink, yellow and white. But the green pieces I did own tended to be reserved solely for winter – emerald silk for the festive season and rich forest hues for country walks. It just wasn’t a shade I associated with this time of year –  khaki was too muted and bright green unflattering against sun deprived skin – until now. Once I started compiling my new-season wish list, I realised green was taking centre stage – a printed ruffle shoulder jumpsuit from Claudie Pierlot, a low waisted, puff-sleeve floral dress from Nackiye and a co-ordinated set from Muzungo sisters were all up there. 

On reflection, I noticed green was sweeping the board, from the high street to high-end brands. If, like me, you're always looking to explore your signature style, this really is a trend worth taking on board. Green feels unexpected, contemporary and can be seriously sophisticated and this season, there’s no shade that’s been left unexplored – from acid lime to deep olive. That said, it’s always worth trying to find what suits you rather than what feels too of-the-moment. 

Everyday Boho

Pretty blouses, smock dresses, full skirts and artisan detailing – green brings out an earthy, calm quality and puts a grown-up twist on the boho trend. It’s not all about aggressively bright tones, limes and strong primary colours, either – Vita Kin's colour palette this season is full of flattering, expensive looking tones that work for everyday. Pale embroidery works beautifully against a shade of rich aqua green, as do paler prints like gingham, stripes and delicate florals.  Right now, Zara has a dress reminiscent of Vita's work with contrasting single tone embroidery and elegant detailing – it looks a million miles from ‘high street’. 

Both Sea NY and Horror Vacui have worked with a fresh aqua shade that looks particularly pretty and if you're looking for a modern take on the floral dress, check out Nackiye. The designs are so clever – with an element of exotic drama, it’s amazing how the brand has managed to make a flower print look powerful with an exaggerated sleeve and drop waist. I also love a stripe and Emporio Sirenuse's skirt is so cleverly constructed. Meanwhile, there are plenty of neon lime gingham dresses around, but for day, this deeper green from Weekend MaxMara is more wearable. Finally, Ulla Johnson has everything from leaf prints to watercolour stripes – just wear them with pale grey or ecru to maximise the look.

Evening Romance

If you've never thought about green for evening, now is the time. The colour evokes the art deco period and is also far less predictable than pink or red – particularly where statement bows and ruffles are concerned. For summer, dazzling emerald silk and flamboyant cut-out styles feel feminine and modern. Rachel Gilbert's asymmetric mini dress packs a serious punch. Paired with strappy high heels and minimal accessories, you’ll be modern glamour personified. Lanvin's Grecian gown is also the stuff of dreams – in this strong tone, the fluid silhouette evokes power and confidence. Self Portrait's pretty A-line dress is also a wedding guest gem and if you're looking for a hight-street beauty, Warehouse's lace dress has serious wow factor.

If you have never tried wearing mint green, you’re missing out. I have a bespoke Johanna Sands lace dress that never fails to win compliments. Mint is the prettiest of all the green shades, and feels more subtle than other pastels, particularly when metallic or high shine is involved. It looks great accessorised with diamonds or crystals for evening, too. Monique L'hullier's tulle dress is vintage heaven and this ASOS paillette baby doll dress is such a find. Saint Laurent's pale strappy sandals in this metallic sheen have a real disco feel, and if you're looking for glam flats, you can't go wrong with Aquazurra's jewelled sandals. 

When accessorising, silver or gold are an obvious choice and both will let the tone of your outfit shine through. If you're more into colour, you can add other shades of green, although my golden rule is to either shoes or bag – not both. It starts to look cartoonish if you colour block in such a strong shade. 

Island Life

Khaki is so chic on holiday. When you've exhausted summer brights, and are bored of monochrome, army green looks sensational with a tan. Right now, & Other Stories has a knotted crepe textured bikini and a 50s-inspired floral one piece – both of which will look perfect with shell jewellery and raffia accessories. I still adore Arizona Love's pearl encrusted sandals and Pippa Holt's plain belted kaftan would look amazing with gold jewellery and tan sandals. Loewe's current Paula Ibiza collection also has a ruffled woven bag that makes a sophisticated change from plain raffia.

Muted sage green – like Johannah Ortiz's one shouldered dress – is perfect for elegant beachside evenings, and  Mango has a similarly printed wrap-around skirt that screams tropical getaway; pair it with a cream asymmetric top and wet hair tied back in a bun. If you're looking for a low, strappy holiday heel, Vicenza Lorenzo's gingham pair work so well with khaki, and Dion Lee's cut out body con dress is a sensational addition – add flats, a bucket hat and you're good to go.

Retro Resort

Easy, languid separates in retro prints are such a strong choice. They’re so versatile and work well with eccentric 70s-inspired overtones – think Gucci and Pucci in their heyday. With the right styling, these are the pieces that can take you from a lunch to dinner, and from city to beach. I fell hard for Muzungo Sister's co-ordinated two piece and the green felt less obvious than the red and blue. Once again, Mango has delivered on strong prints this season and this long sheath dress in rich blue and green is a great purchase – it's such an elegant shape and the surprise cut-out back pulls it into the modern era. Dress it down with sandals for lunch or add extravagant costume jewellery and strong make-up for a night out. 

Zara also has an ageless geo print shirt dress that would work brilliantly with a red lip and cream accessories, as well as a pair of paisley printed cropped culottes that would look good with a striped top. Crochet and woven fabrics work so well in green, and Faithful's sweet striped bucket hat is pure joy. Finally, for serious 70s luxe appeal, this Gucci monogrammed tote is it.

Neon Nights

If you dare to go neon, keep it plain, clean and feminine. Nothing printed, nothing patterned, just simple form and tone. This high-octane shade is best served up at night – it’s so loud that tacky territory is easy to fall into; the key to sophistication is to combine hard and soft. 

Valentino's off the shoulder puff sleeve gown was one of the most dramatic dresses of the season and would be sensational if you have a big event in the diary. A pink lip and simple hair are all you need. Emilia Wickstead is a brand synonymous with the word ‘ladylike’ and the Mina pleated maxi dress is a vision. Batsheva has created its signature mini in acid lime this season, too, and it feels flirty and fun. Again, minimalism is key, so opt for simple accessories with just a flash of a lip and clean, fresh make-up. To dip your toe into neon, shoes are a good way to go. From feathered styles at Brother Vellies to Perspex mules at Mach & Mach, wear them with black or cream or just a pair of jeans and white t-shirt. 

 

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