The New Black: Blue and Pink?!

And the award for color of the year goes to ... rose quartz and serenity?!?

Pantone Colors of the Year 2016

When the Pantone Color Institute announced last week that those two hues — a pale pink and a light blue — would be 2016’s colors of the year, my reaction quickly morphed from snark to acceptance.

The snark: Frankly, my dear, my closet and I are not about to pivot from confident neutrals to passive pastels.

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The acceptance: The Pantone Color Institute is the leading forecaster of the shades that will dominate every consumer product from lipsticks to toasters over the next 12 months. So when the PCI says pink and blue are the new hues, it makes headlines — and turns the heads of fashion insiders. Hmm, I started to think, could the calming effect of these two tints be just what this troubled world needs right now? And that led me to some guidelines to help you make pink and blue the new black.

Think wow, not wimpy. Don’t take the new shades too literally. Which is to say, avoid sweet, sugary tints in favor of sexier nude pinks and light blue-grays. And keep the hue sophisticated: Beigey pinks with warm undertones in sensual silk, suede, leather or cashmere flatter mature complexions. (So do their synthetic versions, if you’re strapped.) They’re a good choice for dating, parties or just times when you need a pick-me-up.

Soft blues cool you down with their let’s-work-things-out vibe, making them the ideal clothing choice for stressed-out days of multitasking, business meetings and thorny social situations. And don’t forget that nothing beats a coat for making a big statement. Options include Halston Heritage Coat or J.Crew Chateau Parka.

J. Crew Martie Pant
Pair pastels with neutrals — and jeans. Light pinks and blues go well with softer neutrals such as gray, camel, beige or white. They also marry especially well with blue jeans — notably lighter, vintage-wash denims. To achieve a slim head-to-toe look when you’re putting together various pieces, keep everything in the same tonal range — nothing too dark, too light or too contrasting should be allowed into the combo. For a little sizzle, add a touch of leopard, metallics or sequins. J. Crew Martie Pant (right) or Zara Culottes are just two among numerous candidates.

Let pastels subtly brighten your makeup. Pink blush kick-starts a healthy,  well-rested look, giving your

L’Oréal Paris Infallible 2-Step Nail in Infinite Sky

self-tanner or bronzing powder a sunny authenticity. Pink lipstick — worn solo, or over an everyday nude lip — freshens your smile. A delicate rosy pink or gray-blue shadow, layered over beige or taupe on lids, enhances every eye color and wakes up tired eyes. (Don’t forget the black or brown liner and mascara, of course.) Finally, a blue or pink nail polish makes you feel more vacation-happy than wintry darks, so why wait for spring? Start tweaking your look now with such choices as Maybelline New York The Blushed Nudes Eyeshadow Palette, Burberry Complete Eye Palette in Slate Blue No. 20, L’Oréal Paris Infallible 2-Step Nail in Infinite Sky or Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Creme de la Creme.

Warby Parker Wilder frames in Squall Blue Fade
See the world through blue-colored frames. Last year’s trendy frame choices were black, tortoise or clear; this year the selection is much simpler: It’s blue plastic, end of discussion. To give your face structure, stick to a strong, angular shape, then let the color brighten your face — and your mood! You might experiment with Warby Parker Wilder in Squall Blue Fade or Vince Camuto VG134 BLTS Blue Tortoise.

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More beauty and style tips for women 50-plus await you in AARP’s new Beauty & Style digital magazine, which began hitting tablets this month, as well as in my new Woman’s Wakeup: How to Shake up Your Looks, Life and Love after 50, due out from Running Press on Dec. 22.


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