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How to wear neon without glowing overboard


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Photo: Stocksy/Lauren Naefe

Experimenting with color—especially in the summer—is a great way to shake up your style game. And while pastels are at the forefront of fashion trends this season, neon shades are picking up speed. The key is to incorporate them into your look in a way that doesn’t scream DayGlo.

“It’s all about how you choose to wear these pieces,” says celebrity stylist Micaela Erlanger (her clients include megawatt stars like Lupita Nyong’o, Diane Kruger, and Candice Huffine), who notes that neon started to garner attention on designer runways like Prada, Calvin Klein, Balenciaga, and Tom Ford. “A subtle hint of neon has a serious impact. It becomes more fashion and less costume.”

“A subtle hint of neon has a serious impact. It becomes more fashion and less costume.”

Electric shades can feel tricky to pull off head to toe, but Erlanger has a tip for tempering the effect. “You always want to pick opposites on the color wheel”, she says, such as pink and yellow, orange and blue, green and red, and purple and green. “Layering pieces is also a great way to accomplish this trend, a hint of a bra strap or a bodysuit layered underneath a bomber jacket,” adds the author of How to Accessorize.

In the studio, this could be a bright sports bra peeking out of a backless top or a pair of leggings with neon piping or an electric tuxedo stripe. When you’re looking for creative ways to incorporate the trend into your workout wardrobe, don’t forget to think about what’s going on below your ankles. Opt for a crew sock in a high-voltage hue like lime green to set off your optic white kicks. Next-level your neon by lacing up a pair of statement-making sneakers like these tri-tone Nike Air Max 270, New Balance Fresh Foam Zante, or Adidas by Stella McCartney Pureboost X TR 3.0.

To take the trend a little more into athleisure territory, Erlanger has this advice: “[Try] fluorescent heels paired with track pants or a colored bra under your tank top. Reflective lenses also make for a cool gym-to-street moment, too!”

Yes, accessories are fair game when it comes to fluorescents because, like any major trend, neon is seeping into other style areas. This includes beauty. Those looking for a subtle way to add a pop of color to their summer look without investing in a new wardrobe should go for a megawatt manicure or pedicure instead. Perhaps a neon take of this season’s buzziest color, yellow.

Kind of makes you want to swap your summer whites for brights, doesn’t it?

Summer’s a great time to shake up more than your style. Here’s how to give your lunches and your fitness routine a seasonal makeover, too. 

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