How to Wear Yellow: Pale Lemon, Orange, Printed Mosaic Trousers

Are there certain colours you shy away from wearing because you find them just so darn tricky to wear?

They don’t sit well on you, however you wear them.

And how many times have you heard someone say ‘I can’t wear yellow, I don’t look good in it.’  And to be fair, it is one of the trickier colours for many women to wear.  For years, yellow was that colour for me.

I tried so many different shades in my effort to wear it, I nearly gave myself a sartorial hernia.

Gold never felt right on me.  I rarely wear gold jewellery.
Bright lemon – think lemon curd – made me look ill and jaundiced.  Too acidic for my skin.
Mustard made me look like I hadn’t slept for 3 years.

I was convinced I couldn’t wear it, even though I rather liked the idea of wearing such a bright and sunny colour.  However, the problem was I had unfairly tarred all yellows with the same brush, deciding that every yellow, from primrose to canary was verboten, when in reality I hadn’t found the RIGHT shade to wear!

Time to apologise to yellow!

With my skin tone and colouring, there are certain colours I can wear all the shades and saturations of.

Take blue. I can wear every kind of blue from baby blue, cobalt, petrol blue to midnight navy.
The more blue the merrier, I say!  Tis my favourite colour.

But equally, there are a few colours where I have to tread carefully.

Take green. I can wear apple, emerald and forest green till the cows come home from the very green fields they’ve been grazing in.  But khaki, olive, lime…. will suck me dry and spit me out UNLESS …

– they are worn in very small doses,
– are worn away from my face,
– or paired with colours I CAN wear to balance them out.

It was only a few years ago when I had my ‘colours’ done by a friend who was training to be a colour consultant and needed a guinea pig to practice on and I was a willing guinea pig to the extent I resembled an excitable 3 day old puppy, that I discovered the ONE shade of yellow that I COULD wear.   Sound the trumpets!

A soft pale lemon.  

My default yellow pairing is mostly navy or navy and white.  Classic, tried and tested, if not a little obvious. The benefit of blogging though, is that it pushes you away from comfort pairings to try colour combinations that are a little less familiar to you.

These trousers were a recent, end of sale buy a couple of weeks ago; something of an impulse purchase!  Summer had finally hit her stride back then, with blue skies, hot days and muggy nights in London.  Typical, huh? Just as we were saying au revoir to August!

I knew at first sight I could create an immediate outfit by highlighting the yellow in the trousers with the embroidery anglaise top, already in my wardrobe.

And as we increasingly say salut to September, adding my orange cardigan not only warms up the yellow (even better for my colouring), but I’ve an ideal outfit to transition from late Summer into early Autumn.

And when the leaves start turning and the days shorten, I’ll just add a taupe leather jacket and swap the wedged sandals for ankle boots to stop my toes from turning the colour of my nail varnish.

Yellow Combinations I Wear:

My pairing here is quite zesty; colourful for Summer but the orange and cognac sandals also give a hint of Autumnal colours to come. A neat foot in each seasonal camp.  If like me and you’ve clear, porcelain skin with dark eyebrows, then here are other pale yellow pairings that work.

– As well as wearing pale lemon with the aforementioned navy for a very classic look why not swap navy for aqua or light teal?  As refreshing a look as a chilled glass of H2O.

– I sometimes wear yellow, silver grey and ivory for a soft, neutral look.

– Contrast colours always look good.  Pale yellow and charcoal grey are striking as are yellow and evergreen.

– But you can also do top to toe pastels.  On holiday in Copenhagen back in June, I teamed pale lemon with baby pink, accessorised with a two tone white and yellow bag.

But if you can carry strongly saturated yellows, take a leaf out of nature and be fiery!  Canary yellow with orange and red tones.

I photographed these Kees Nelis Tulips at The Eden Project a few years ago, when all the Spring tulips were in full bloom. Aren’t they stunning?

Tips for wearing a tricky colour:

– Experiment to find the right shade that works for you before you toss a colour in the bin!
– If the colour or shade doesn’t work near your face but you love wearing it, do so on the bottom half.
– Pair it with a colour/s that you can wear and which either compliments it or softens it.
– Wear it in a print with other colours – as with my printed trousers.
– Wear it as one small block small on your body.  I like to wear lemon yellow on my top half with a strong complimenting colour.  Here my pale yellow embroidery anglaise top is warmed up by my orange cardigan.
– Wear it as an accent colour in your accessories – bag, shoes or jewellery.

Tu at Sainsbury Pale Lemon Embroidery Anglaise Top SS16
Monsoon Orange cardigan (old) seen previously on the blog in my Citrus & Spice post.
Petite Wallis Mosaic Print Trousers; sold out but the Petite Mosaic Print Jumpsuit is still available in the sale
New Look Wedges sandals (old)

Mellow Yellow Footnote

It’s always good to remind ourselves every now and then, that not all colours are equal.  Just as with some you’ll be able to wear all shades, accept that with others there may be only one or two shades that work with your colouring.

Whilst yellow may not be a colour I naturally gravitate to, it’s no longer consigned to the colour scrap heap in my wardrobe.  

What colours do you find tricky to wear?  And is yellow one of them?

Linking with  Not Dressed As Lamb / Confident Twosday / Garay Treasures /  Turning Head’s Tuesday  /  Style Me Wednesday / ColorandGrace / High Latitude Style   / Happiness At Midlife / JerseyGirlTexanHeart  / Eleganceandmommyhood  / A Labour of Life / Fashion Should Be Fun /  A Pocketful Of Polkadots / Jeans And A Teacup / Nancy’s Fashion Style / Fine Whatever /


  1. September 11, 2016 / 3:23 pm

    I agree whole heartedly Jacqueline—there is a shade of every single color for every single person!! You're right—it might be hard to find at times (especially since the retail stores only carry certain colors at certain times). But yellow is a fun & lively color that everyone should partake in!!
    And I must say, your color combination today is wonderful bright, yet still reminds us that fall is right around the corner!!

    • September 11, 2016 / 8:03 pm

      Very true, Jodie, you often have to wait a few seasons for the right shade to appear or employ the detective skills of Sherlock Holmes to fine it somewhere but you can get there! Glad you like the colours, they certainly made me smile.

  2. September 11, 2016 / 8:42 pm

    I totally agree with you and yes, yellow was that colour for me too. But I don't know why since I used to wear it as a young child and it suited my skin. Now, I love mustard although the pastel yellow bordering on yellow cardie I picked up once didn't work for me whereas a yellow broderie anglaise dress DID! I agree with the using it on your bottom half!x

    • September 11, 2016 / 9:25 pm

      Isn't it funny how materials can also make a difference as well as the shade. I love mustard on other people but it looks yuk on me unless it's in teeny tiny doses. It's funny as I don't really like eating mustard either!

    • September 11, 2016 / 9:25 pm

      Thank you Jaymie. I'm pleased that after much trial and effort I've finally found the right shade to wear.

  3. September 11, 2016 / 10:16 pm

    The soft pale yellow is wonderful on you, PSV! I too have avoided all shades of yellow near my face but you have inspired me. xo

    • September 12, 2016 / 4:09 pm

      Thank you Patti. I'm glad my post may have inspired you to try yellow again.

  4. September 11, 2016 / 11:34 pm

    Yellow is a sly mistress, she is. I tend to avoid the precise shade of yellow which has now become your bosom buddy 🙂 and also anything remotely citrusy or neon. Mustard works, thank the lord, so too sunshiny yellow. However, seeing how you went through the entire spectrum to find the right hue for you, I believe I shan't write yellow off completely. Just yet 🙂 xoxo

    • September 12, 2016 / 4:11 pm

      She certainly is sly, Sheela! Citrus or neon is a total no no for me too but at least you have sunshiny yellow and mustard to console yourself with. It definitely was trial and error – a lot of error – but only one shade is all you need! Glad you're not writing off the colour yet!

  5. September 11, 2016 / 11:45 pm

    I've always wanted to have my colours "done" by one of those ladies. I feel that black is not liking me at all nowadays. Your colour lady was right, yellow is great on you. I'm surprised you don't like mustard. I would have thought it would look great on you xx

    • September 12, 2016 / 4:13 pm

      It was really interesting to have them done, Laurie. As we age our skin tone can change so maybe a little less black and paired with a colour that makes you smile! I think it's the sludginess of mustard that doesn't work on my pale skin – I just look bleugh in it!

  6. September 12, 2016 / 12:42 am

    Yep, yellow is that color for me although I can and do wear mustard yellow as it works well with my hair. This pale lemon is a beautiful shade on you…good thing you discovered it!

    • September 12, 2016 / 4:14 pm

      I can totally see how mustard would work with your flame haired locks, Debbie!
      At least I've got one shade now that I can wear.

  7. September 12, 2016 / 3:53 am

    You look very bright and fresh in this pale yellow/orange combination. Very pretty! Great tips on choosing colours. I mostly follow my intuition when deciding on this or that colour mixture.

    • September 12, 2016 / 4:16 pm

      Thank you Olga.
      I've always been intuitive about colours too. Having them done confirmed that the colours I naturally gravitate to and wear are the right ones so at least I was doing that right! But it was interesting to see which shades work best and hurrah I found one for yellow.

  8. September 13, 2016 / 12:40 pm

    Yes, there is a shade for everyone, and your outfit looks very cute.
    Like you, I tend to avoid yellow, or wear it in very small doses and away from my face. But I would never, ever pair it with blue… Sure, it's pretty, but I'd look like the Swedish flag. And it's hockey season, I think I need to stick with blue and white…

    • September 13, 2016 / 9:09 pm

      Ha, ha, yes, I see what you mean about the Swedish flag – a little too close to home for you in your neck of the woods!

  9. September 13, 2016 / 7:02 pm

    I'm a huge fan of yellow, Jacqueline, so am always surprised to hear that someone might struggle with this summer bright. And looking at these photos is hard to believe that you can't wear yellow – methinks you doth protest too much! You've done a great job finding the perfect tone as it looks like you live in this soft lemon colour. I love the trousers too and think they will be perfect for the transitional period we're in currently. Have a great week x

    • September 13, 2016 / 9:12 pm

      Thank you. You wear yellow expertly, Anna! I really don't protest too much! It wouldn't be a pretty site at all if I wore lemon curd – it would have you running for the hills! But at least I can glory in my pale lemon. It certainly feels right to wear.
      And yes, with the weather going in all directions at the moment at least with these trousers I can layer or unlayer where necessary!

  10. September 13, 2016 / 9:22 pm

    That pale yellow is a beautiful color on you! While I agree there are definitely colors that look better on certain skin tones, by keeping other colors in small doses or balancing them out with more complimentary colors we can really wear any color we want!

    • September 13, 2016 / 9:43 pm

      Thank you Laura. Exactly, judicious use of colour means limitless choices. And I'm all for limitless choices!

  11. September 14, 2016 / 11:41 am

    Great Advice!!, I'm loving every tip you've shared, as they're really useful!. I was used to think that yellow or pink were not for me, but I realized that canary yellow and hot pink could look nice on me!. I'm used to tell that red is a color for everybody! you just need to find that right shade of red!
    Lovely ensemble, perfect color combo and wonderful transtitional inspiration!, it's time to incorpórate some autumnal vibe!. Love your orange cardi, it's a warm touch and enhances everything!

    • September 18, 2016 / 9:09 pm

      Thank you Monica. You look amazing in yellow and pink – I love your colour combinations.
      Yes, time to think about transitioning- inch by inch!

  12. September 14, 2016 / 5:32 pm

    Jacqueline, this is actually my favorite shade of yellow, and I am one to steer away as well, from it, unless perhaps a gold ( which I have a maxi dress). This soft butter yellow looks fantastic on you with the coral and the patterned pants. Here's to the sunshine!
    thanks for linkning up with turning heads tuesday
    jess x

    • September 18, 2016 / 9:10 pm

      Yay! We share the same love of pale lemon. And absolutely here's to sunshine!

  13. September 15, 2016 / 3:44 am

    This is such good advice! I'd always thought yellow was too tricky to wear until I had my colours done too and I found I can wear bright yellows like mustard. I picked up a cheap $1 yellow tank in an opshop and always get compliments when I wear it – it's made me much more adventurous with colour! 🙂

    Your yellow top is lovely with those printed pants 🙂

    Away From The Blue Blog

    • September 18, 2016 / 9:11 pm

      Thank yo Mica. It's amazing having your colours done, isn't it? You get to really understand the shades that work and don't work.

    • September 19, 2016 / 10:16 am

      Thank you Katie. I couldn't resist the trousers, I thought the pattern was so unusual.

  14. September 16, 2016 / 9:19 pm

    I think that yellow is so tricky because of all of its shades. Soft, buttery lemons can be quite flattering but harsher, brassy yellows make me want to run away. Your use of a yellow top balances nicely against the darker colors of your pants and makes for a lovely outfit. Thank you for sharing your post on my Fine-Whatever link up.


    • September 18, 2016 / 9:13 pm

      Thanks Rena, it's amazing the difference between the shades and how they can look on you. We're so similiar – I don't like the harsher, brassy yellows either!

  15. September 18, 2016 / 9:53 am

    What do you mean women "yellow doesn't suit me"?? It suits you fine. No problem. Loved that picture of you at Adrienne's How to wear yellow very much. Lovely skirt you were wearing there as well. And always with modern shoes to keep frumpiness far away. Excellent dear.

    • September 18, 2016 / 9:17 pm

      Well you look truly fabulous in yellow, Greetje! Thank you – yes the one with the leather skirt and the leopard booties. I was rather pleased with that one. Post on it coming up in the next two weeks. I've been on a photo frenzy lately!
      And we were both in leather – wow, those joggings of yours were ace.

  16. September 18, 2016 / 9:12 pm

    Glad you liked it, Ada. Yes, paired with black and white it can look very chic.
    I will link shortly – I'm slightly behind in my linking!

  17. September 19, 2016 / 3:52 pm

    Thanks for linking up to Top of the World Style. You hit a nerve with how to wear yellow. Great inspirations.

  18. September 21, 2016 / 10:32 am

    I used to avoid yellow too, but when I dyed my hair red it suddenly seemed to suit me and now I love it. The soft lemon really suits you and looks lovely with the orange cardigan and patterned trousers. The lemon cardi and pale pink jeans is a rather fab combination too 🙂

    Emma xxx

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