Neon: Accessorizing the Boldest Colors with Jewelry

After a seemingly brief respite from the shockingly bright colors that designers such as Michael Kors reintroduced back in the fall/winter of 2009–10, neon is back in a big way again. Neon yellow, green, orange and hot pink are big not only in all manner of garments and accessories, but even in makeup colors. The March 2011 issue of Elle highlights tangerine lips and “fluorescent lids,” and the March 2011 issue of Marie Claire celebrates the dramatic effect of “brilliant lips, electric eyes and Day-Glo nails.”

Illustration: In the March 2011 issue of Marie Claire, bright earrings from Daniela Villegas and green cord bracelets from Pandora along with some rather uncomfortable-looking barbed-wire bracelets from Tom Binns accessorize a neon yellow top from Alex & Eli worn with Nars Palladium Soft Touch Shadow Pencil.

Illustration: Two neon-bright eyeliner looks pictured in the March 2011 issue of Elle magazine.

For the edgiest looks, neons are combined with prints and other brights. More wearable for most women are looks combining neons with neutrals.

Illustration: The February 2011 issue of Glamour magazine mixes neon with khaki and features these bracelets from Ettika.

In an early report on the trend, the November 2010 issue of Harper’s Bazaar recommended that readers combine “eye-popping prints in neon hues with khaki and other neutrals for a balanced look” and finish their looks “with a notice-me necklace or a more simple sandal.”



Illustration: The November 2010 issue of Harper’s Bazaar features neon-hued beaded necklaces from Alexis Bittar along with a bright print shirt from Loft and sandal from Yves Saint Laurent; also featured is a cuff bracelet from Yves Saint Laurent and a Lucite and neon bangle from Balenciaga by Nicolas Ghesquière.

Michael Carl provides some historical context for the colorful trend in his article in the February 2011 issue of Allure, writing:

“This season, designers turned to daylight fluorescents as a brilliant alternative to spring pastels. First used as a safety material in World War II (to avoid friendly fire), Day-Glo fabric has been a staple of youth culture ever since. In the spring of 1951, Time reported that ‘adolescents were fluorescent from coast to coast’; today, Day-Glo inspires paint parties on the dance circuit.”

Illustration: Among the neon-hued items featured in the February 2011 issue of Allure are a cotton cardigan sweater from Gap and studded leather bracelets from Tory Burch.

Illustration: “N is for neon,” proclaims the guide “Spring Fashion A to Z” in the March 2011 issue of Marie Claire, featuring, among other items, a necklace from Marni along with pants from MaxMara and hat and sunglasses from Stella McCartney.

“Spring has a new lease on light: brilliant neons that illuminate the room,” writes Esther Adams in an article entitled “Electric Avenue” in the January 2011 issue of Vogue. Actress Yaya DaCosta, interviewed for that article to comment about the eye-opening trend, states, “You have to be confident to wear neon—people see you coming!”

Indeed, the woman who wears neon, any amount of neon, is not by her nature a shrinking violet. Her jewelry, too, needs to be strong to complement her personality along with the bright colors she chooses to wear.

“Kick it up a notch with neons” urges the February 2011 issue of Harper’s Bazaar, illustrating the trend with bright ensembles by Lanvin worn with butterfly pendant necklaces.

In the March 2011 issue of InStyle, actress and model Liya Kebede wears designs from Raf Simons from his “prism-raiding collection for Jil Sander” that is “as joyously vivid as it is game-changing in shape and proportion.” Her ensemble is accented with a necklace from Aurelie Bidermann and bangles from Alexis Bittar, along with a ring from Low Luv by Erin Wasson not seen in the single-page crop of the photo above.

Among the edgiest examples of jewelry that incorporate rather than merely complement neon hues, is this punk/Goth inspired charm bracelet from Aurélie Bidermann, a bracelet that simply cannot be ignored.

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