Spring Trend Alert: Bright Colors & Pastels

From promotional marketing programs to catwalks and retail stores, eye-popping, vivid colors are all the rage this season. Valentino recently presented a bright red jumpsuit for women, and Derek Lam showcased a sheath dress in a similar color. Meanwhile, Bottega Veneta, Emilio Pucci, Furla and Ferragamo all featured shoes, clutches and flowing skirts in bright reds and yellows for their spring/summer lines. Not to be outdone, Missoni now offers beach-inspired tops and skirts in royal purple.

 "We're seeing a lot of clean, crisp, saturated colors," says Matt Waterman, director of marketing at Hanesbrands.  "We're not seeing a surge in frosted or dusty hues, but more in bright yellow, purple, orange and blue." Waterman says this is consistent with what retail stores are displaying. "Consumers see these bright colors in fashion apparel, and they want to see the same in their screen printed and logo apparel. Groups, teams and organizations tend to like bright colors for their promotions so they look unified and stand out together. Specifically, they want their message to stand out."

 While bright colors are popular now, Waterman says more muted colors may be on the way. "We see bright colors continuing into next year, with the possible emergence of more neutrals and heathers," he says. In fact, pastels are already appearing in fashion houses and on the catwalks. Just Cavalli now offers a light pink blouse, and Oscar de la Renta recently showcased a pale pink embellished dress. Jil Sander has a sea-green purse, and Tiffany & Co. presented a clutch in the same shade. The trend taps into a '50s retro feminine vibe, though it has applications beyond that initial inspiration. "We have a range of pastels this season, including colors such as light blue, lavender, pale pink and daffodil yellow," says Waterman. "Lilacs and all shades of orange and yellow continue to be popular."

 To get the most out of brights and pastels, mix and match the colors by pairing muted pants, cardigans and accessories with vivid shades. Brights work best as a singular pop of color rather than an overwhelming whole.