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How to Look Classy in Colored Pants this Winter

December 6, 2022

I love wearing neutrals; that’s no secret. But I’ve really been trying to incorporate more color into my outfits in recent weeks. This year color in general is really trending, and some of the most fashionable colors are richly pigmented and bright. So it’s considered quite modern to wear those trending colors – think Barbiecore pink, fiery red, deep purple, bright green and rich teal – head to toe. To that end I’ve been getting questions from readers about how to wear colored pants with style. So let’s talk about how to look classy in colored pants this winter.

How to Look Classy in Colored Pants this Winter
Hampshire ankle pants // pumps // clutch // blazer (more economical option 1 and option 2) // cashmere sweater no longer available (similar) // chain link necklace // small necklace (coming soon!) // similar brooches // earrings (not shown here)

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First up, I apologize for the packaging wrinkles in my beautiful red Hampshire ankle pants. Chalk those little indentions up to me not inspecting them with my glasses on. I steamed them well before showing them again in an upcoming video and wearing them to church this past Sunday. But if you’re familiar with Talbots, you know that these classic Hampshire ankle pants generally have a lovely drape and a very flattering silhouette.

Look Classy in Colored Pants this Winter

Red is one of my signature colors, so I didn’t hesitate to purchase these ankle pants in Talbots’ red pop. But they’re also available in other trending colors, such as fuchsia rose (Barbiecore pink), coral punch (on sale!), peacock blue and shiraz wine. And the principles for wearing these and other colored pants are generally the same. The Hampshire ankle pants fit true to size and come in misses, petite, plus and plus petite sizes. Currently Talbots is offering 40% off your full price purchase and an additional 50% off markdowns. They also have special holiday deals starting at $19.50.

Hampshire ankle pants
Hampshire ankle pants // pumps // clutch

My first style tip for looking classy in colored pants is to choose your footwear carefully. Remember your footwear should always accomplish something in your outfit, and the wrong shoes can actually sabotage your look. Consider proportions when choosing whether or not to repeat the color in your pants in your footwear. I actually wore these red pop Hampshire ankle pants with my red pop driving flats Sunday, and it definitely worked with the slightly longer turtleneck sweater I wore that day. But flesh toned shoes – whether they’re flats, pumps, booties or whatever – almost always work with colored pants. These Nine West leather pumps actually come in five different skin tones, and they’re quite comfortable, too.

Look Classy in Colored Pants this Winter

While you actually can top colored pants with another color, it’s always safe and classy to pair them with your favorite coordinating neutral. You’ll definitely see fashion forward women wearing red pants with, say, pink or orange. And those trending combinations definitely look stunning and eye-catching. But I think you have to feel very confident with your style choices to pull those combinations off, and color needs to be part of your personal style aesthetic for you to wear it with such aplomb. I feel much more like me in an outfit of mostly camel with a bold splash of red…even if that splash is in my pants.

Camel Sweater and Blazer
blazer (more economical option 1 and option 2) // cashmere sweater no longer available (similar)

On the day I modeled these colored pants, it was actually freezing cold. And I would not have worn this camel blazer and sweater pairing “in real life” that day. Ha! But today, when it’s going to be in the mid 50s, this combo would definitely work. Take the formula I’ve worked here and adapt it to your style and climate and occasion. The formula?

Neutral x (top + outer layer) + Color x pants = Classy

~ style formula ~

You could work this same easy style formula with a tee and utility jacket, a blouse and blazer, a sweater and coat, a sweatshirt and quilted vest, a camisole and cardigan. You get the picture. So whether your colored pants are dress slacks or casual cords or denim, this simple style formula will keep you looking classy and pulled together.

Neutral + Neutral
chain link necklace // small necklace (coming soon!) // similar brooches // earrings (not shown here)

That’s not to say that there aren’t other equally classy ways to wear your colored pants this winter. In fact, I’ll be sharing another style formula that works later. But this one is pretty much failproof and, especially if you enjoy wearing neutrals like I do, it’s easy to pull straight from your closet.

Look classy in colored pants this winter

I added only the smallest hint of red at the top of my outfit with a pretty red cardinal brooch. This is a great way to tie the outfit together with your colored pants. But you could do the same thing with a scarf, hat, earrings, or necklace pendant that features the color of your pants.

Colored Pants
Hampshire ankle pants // pumps // clutch // blazer (more economical option 1 and option 2) // cashmere sweater no longer available (similar) // chain link necklace // small necklace (coming soon!) // similar brooches // earrings (not shown here)

I like that this outfit formula feels very accessible and easy to duplicate in so many ways. What about you? Have you used this style formula before? Do you have the items in your closet to create a similar combination, even if it is more casual or even dressier? I’d love to hear from you today!

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Blessed for My Day

One of the rules of etiquette my mother drilled into me from a very young age is to call people by their names whenever possible. She consistently reminded me that people like to hear their name spoken out loud, they like to know that you have remembered their name. As a young child it was hard for me to look people in their eyes and greet them by name. But as I grew up this “rule” became a habit became an intentional practice. And now I call people by name…to a fault. Sometimes I actually forget people’s names and I blunder because I’m so set on calling them by name and I end up verbally stumbling. Ha! But I do make an effort and I’ve learned to laugh and humbly apologize if I mess up a name.

I’m so glad that Jesus knows me by name. And while I’ve never heard Him say it out loud, I feel like He calls me by name daily. I know Him intimately and feel known by Him. This is indeed such a source of comfort and validation, don’t you think? He treats me as an individual, a friend, an intimate. And as I feel known by Jesus, I am more prone to make Him known to those around me. Do you have that kind of intimacy with Jesus? You absolutely can. Get to know Him and you will soon feel more known by Him, too.

I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. ~ John 10:14-15

xoxo, Kay
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16 thoughts on “How to Look Classy in Colored Pants this Winter

  1. Love this outfit! I ordered the red pants. You styled a pair of straight leg jeans from Talbots’s. I ordered them. They fit perfectly, since I have ordered them in a darker wash. I hate paying shipping! Nordstrom has spoiled me.

    1. Yes, I hate paying shipping too. I’m a little spoiled with Talbots because I have their Premiere credit card and get free shipping. But they do offer specials on shipping now and again.

  2. Kay, you always look very classy! I have a steal deal for you and everyone. I just discovered that Talbots has some of their cashmere sweaters from last year on sale for $69.99 and they are 50%off . That means they are $35. Wow!! Be sure to check k out their website!

  3. Hi Kay,

    Thanks for this post. With my coloring my neutrals tend to be gray, navy or black. Do you think this works as well or too much contrast? Also, do the two top items have to be the same neutral color, i.e. black blouse and coat for this to work or could they be different colors like a white blouse and black vest?
    Thanks so much for all your helpful posts and advice!

    1. I think the grey and black would work similarly. In fact I know they do. I wore a grey sweater and grey coat with these pants on Sunday. The navy will work but you do have to be a little more careful with it than the true neutrals. I know we treat navy like a neutral, but sometimes it does read like a color, which it really is I guess. If you wear a different color top from the jacket you’ll certainly still have a good outfit potentially, but it will definitely read differently. 😉

  4. I love these red corduroys. I purchased an already, and have worn them with a black sweater and I also purchased the pearl button scallops, white blouse from Talbots I wear them for christmas. I love the look, you have here so classy.

  5. I was glad when I read the title of this post – I was hoping to get some ideas for my teal pants. Great ideas, thx

  6. What a beautiful outfit Kay! I have all these pieces but the nude heels. I will have to give it a try, Very pretty! I am curious about your new assistants! Can’t wait to meet them.🥰

  7. I have owned and worn red pants off and on my whole life, but I am a bit more hesitant about them now that I am over 70. And I love colored jeans in both neutrals and colors. I have or have had everything from camel, brown, and navy to teal, cobalt blue, red, rust, various greens, light pink, lavender, and aqua. My go to formula for wearing colored pants has always been a print top which includes the focus color of the pants and a layering piece of the neutral that is predominant in the print. I think I like print tops so much and combining two of the colors in the print because my grandmothers and mother were quilters and this is the way their quilt colors were chosen and coordinated, so it is the way I learned to coordinate and select colors.

    Sometimes, especially when I travel in spring or fall, I choose a print jacket (usually cut like a denim jacket) and solid tops and pants that draw from the print. So a multi-color print is desirable. I vary whether the neutral is the pants or the top, depending on what I have.

    I have a question relating to prints. I have had some comments in another fashion focus group that prints are out, or are aging. I do have some strong preferences in types of prints and don’t wear ones that seem to dominate me such as large florals, strongly contrasting large bold prints, etc. I would enjoy having some other opinions on choosing and wearing prints.

    1. Hi Jan, I can tell you really love wearing prints. Maybe that’s part of your Signature Style? Did you see the recent video I posted about that? Anyhow, it is true that prints can be aging. And while it may sound counterintuitive, the smaller prints can be some of the most aging. In fact, you alluded to the “why.” Smaller prints can look like quilt squares, which conjure up thoughts of grannies and all things old fashioned. So while you may love that quilting concept – I certainly do! – those calico type prints are the very ones that we older women might do wise to stay away from. And in fact, large bold prints in bold or vibrant colors are very in style. So you don’t want to choose something that would overwhelm you. That’s true. But wearing a larger, bolder print on a small area – say a shirt that is peeking out from behind a solid colored jacket, should not overwhelm even the smallest frame. So you might want to rethink your tactics a bit. I love the “thought” of a print top matched with a colored pant, too. But as we get older that very combination can begin to look a little childish or overly contrived. You’ll look more modern and appropriately mature (not old) in a pair of neutral slacks or jeans with that print top and a solid jacket. I hope that was helpful. And remember, take my advice for what it’s worth. But you do you!

  8. Thanks, Kay, for letting your light shine! You are encouraging in every way, and I feel I have a new friend in you! Keep the posts coming, even if it’s just to talk about your day!