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’80s Obsession: Mastering the 2018 neon trend

Words by Melanie Victoria

It looks like the minimalist movement of the past few years is on its last breaths as this season is making the shift towards eye-popping, statement-making styles. One of the directions today’s designers and fashion houses are taking on is the resurgence of the neon trend, which was a staple back in the ’80s and early ’90s.

On the runway, designers are making it known that they are here to turn heads — from Prada reinvigorating their classic nylon bag with a fresh flood of neon green, to Fenty x Puma incorporating fluorescent accents in almost every piece in their impressive collection. On the other hand, celebrities have also been spotted sporting the trend and commanding well-earned stares in their direction. Thanks to the Kardashians’ loyal declaration for this season’s traffic-stopping shades, other style icons have started to follow suit. No longer is neon reserved for athletic wear or rave fashion, as pops of highlighter pink, yellow, and purple have been seen dominating minidresses, gowns, suits, and more. All this just goes to show that neon can be just as versatile for every day wear without being an overly blinding force.

You, too, can incorporate the neon revival in your wardrobe. Even if it might be a little intimidating at first, neon just might be what you need to add that much-needed shake-up to your look.

Accent with neon

Understandably, this trend can be a little challenging to approach. This is especially true if you’re not comfortable playing with colours in the first place. So if you’re not ready to go completely out of your comfort zone just yet, start with adding hints of neon to your normal looks. These are great for having that subtle but fun touch of colour — whether you use neon hues on your earrings, socks, sunglasses, or other accessories. You can also take your cue from Rita Ora and combine it with another rising trend this season: gloves.

Combine with neutrals

Neutrals act as the perfect canvas for neon. Pretty Me suggests taking advantage of these vibrant colours to add contrast against your darker-hued clothes. A pop of bright orange or pink can undoubtedly perk up the dullest of outfits — especially useful for gloomy days, too. Therefore, the next time you go out, experiment with the neon trend by wearing it with navy, grey, beige, or black.

Go all the way

This option one is definitely not for the faint of heart. If you feel like playing it bold, you can go all the way in full neon for a look that simply screams “look at me.” Just be sure to balance your ensemble out with simple cuts and silhouettes so you don’t go overboard and become a billboard from a mile away. Get inspired by the self-styling icon Blake Lively, who was recently spotted decked out in a fluorescent neon green Versace suit.

Complement with pastels

Who knew neon and pastels would look this good when put side by side? Just look at trend-setting couple Kim and Kanye, who looked cohesively chic next to each other in their respectively bright outfits. For an infinitely more interesting approach to the well-loved monochromatic trend, try combining neon with a more subdued colour that is in its shade range.

Colour-block your outfit

Yet another approach that’s not for the faint of heart, you can even amp up this eye-popping trend further by colour-blocking your outfit. Some popular combinations this season include pink and red, as well as blue and green. These combinations look fun, fresh, and playful. But again, balance is key to not overdoing it, so stay away from avant-garde cuts and frilly details.

Say it with make-up

If you just want to dip your toes in the neon trend, bright neon make-up has also been seen splashed across runway looks — even on the most traditional of outfits. Don’t underestimate the power of a pop of bright blue mascara or electric pink lipstick. These are just some unique ways to inject a little more youth into your style. Glowsly highlights Christian Dior’s sunflower yellow eyeliner and Au Jour Le Jour’s girlish hint of neon lime eyeshadow, which are both whimsical yet wearable. Top off your look with a slicked-back hairstyle — a no-fail favourite of ’90s style icons such as Jennifer Aniston. This ensures your make-up stays very much the centre of attention, instead of fading to the background because of a fancy ‘do.

Mix your fabrics

Lastly, one way to make the neon look a sophisticated while still being energetic is to wear it in an unlikely fabric, like knit. This season, there are now more winter-friendly styles that come in the most eye-catching shades. They pair well with gingham trousers too, so you can easily balance out the colour’s vibrancy while still ensuring you stand out. Finish off with some boots and you’re good to go for a holiday-ready ensemble that beats your typical Christmas sweater.