Caroline's Style Picks for Guests: Rainbow
by Caroline Young

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Raya Carlisle Photography

Ahhhhh -- nothing really gets my blood boiling (in the good way) more than knowing that I have to dress up for a fancy occasion, especially weddings. I'm just your typical college student who doesn't get many opportunities to wear that oh-so-cute dress that I bought because I deluded myself into thinking that I could work it into my wardrobe (HINT: I didn't). But seriously, there is definitely some sort of magical feeling in the air when I put together an outfit that is BAM! just spot on. However, with the rules and etiquette of what you can or cannot wear as a guest, trying to put an outfit together can often feel like putting together a Rube Goldberg machine -- difficult and frustrating.

And here's my version of putting together a Rube Goldberg machine. I shy away from bright colors like the plague. Feel free to call me strange or ridiculous, but I definitely think it takes a lot of self-confidence to wear bright colors because bright colors are more likely to catch people's eyes, and maybe I can't really handle the thought of scrutiny. SO, I have been trying out a challenge -- a challenge to create outfits that I would wear as a guest to a wedding incorporating all the colors of the rainbow. Plus, I figure that since it's Pride month and I'm in the Bay Area, it would be a nice tribute!

Red

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Red -- the color that actually gets people's blood boiling. In a previous post regarding what was safe and not safe to wear, red obviously raises a red flag because it's eye-catching in both a flattering and potentially consequential way. I personally enjoy the color red a lot, especially a really dark, rich burgundy red (can anyone else guess how excited I was when the whole oxblood trend broke out?).

I think that as long as you err on the side of a deeper hue of red than a really loud one, you can get away with wearing an elegant sheath dress like this Ava & Aiden one. Additionally, because it has an interesting neckline, you don't need to really accessorize around the neck and can let the dress do all talking! Pair it up with a sleek pair of black heels and your own glammed up version of the tuxedo jacket, and you're ready to go.

Orange

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Definitely the hardest color (at least for me) to figure out how to wear. I have a hard time imagining anyone actually wearing orange successfully beyond Velma and Blake Lively for some reason, and that's because orange is a very hard color to translate into a subtle appearance. It's not quite as delicate as a pale buttercup hue, yet not as mature or vampy as red. Basically, orange is the awkward cousin that you know could be really, really attractive, but you just don't know how.

After careful consideration, I decided to pair this orange dress up by emphasizing its strengths and minimizing glaring weaknesses. With a color this bright, you don't want to wear other items that would compete for the center of attention. However, I wanted to complement the color orange instead of going with neutrals, so I selected a very dark suede navy blue heel (because blue and orange go together, yay color theory!). That way, it doesn't look too Halloween-y but is mature and put together. Add some cold silver jewelry and clutch to let the warmth of orange shine, and you have a stunning and wholly unique look.

Yellow

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You wouldn't think it, but yellow is actually very romantic -- Coldplay even wrote a song dedicated to this awesome color! And why not? It's the color of the golden hour, youth, and how your hair gleams in the sunset when your lover reaches out to tuck a stray strand behind your ear. It's a color I wish I could wear more, but probably can't due to my skin color (a very pale shade of olive/yellow/golden).

I think yellow works best for spring and summer weddings, especially weddings in fancy gardens! Pair a textured (so that way you don't get grass stains working into those delicate silk fabrics) jacquard flared skirt with something a little more mature up top, like this high-collared navy blue blouse. A nude clutch and heels will keep the eyes focused on your outfit while keeping it more than seasonally appropriate for weddings.

Green

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Green, to me, is probably the most universally flattering color because chances are, no matter what shade of color your skin is, you will always find a shade of green to make you look great. Not only that, but green is a mature color that hasn't overrun its course like other popular colors such as blue or red. For this look, I chose a forest green lace sheath because it is very appropriate for a more formal wedding and is a unique enough color that you won't see many other guests wearing it.

Wear green with gold. Just trust me on this.

The military jacket with the brass detail gives the dress an edge, matching hard, straight lines with the soft curves of the lace.

And pair green with a bright color, like this orange-red beaded clutch! It's a pop of unexpected color that works because green and red (when it doesn't look like a mismatched Christmas color combo) are complementary colors and really bring out the best in each other.

Blue

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Blue -- my favorite color out of the rainbow, and for good reason. Blue is probably the most versatile color, ranging from a beautiful cornflower blue to a get-work-done navy blue. For an occasion as special as a wedding, I decided to go with cobalt blue -- a shade of blue that's elegant enough to stand on its own, but with enough pop to show people you know how to have fun too!

Toughen up the otherwise sweet structure of this cobalt dress with a classic leather jacket. Gold and silver jewelry can work with blue, but I chose silver for the sake of being able to pair this awesome marble-like clutch with the outfit. Throw on some perforated tie-up booties, and you're set for the night.

Purple

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If I had a color that I wanted to incorporate more into my wardrobe, I would probably go with purple. I think purple, if done correctly and not in a weirdly tacky satiny-sheen, can easily be the most elegant of colors.

For this outfit, I wanted a sense of free-spirited elegance. So, I went with a strapless (but not sweetheart) lavender silk dress paired with a delicate crocheted cardigan with fringe. Although some might argue that the fringe makes it less formal, I believe the good quality and artistry of the crochet pattern is enough to make it a beautiful piece that can stand on its own. Bling up an otherwise plain outfit with a metallic gold heels, pendant, earrings, and bracelet with stones that emphasize the lavender color.

After checking out what you can do with all these colors, do you have a new favorite one you want to try out? Comment below with how you would like to wear your big new accessory!

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