Reader Request: Haircolor as an Accessory

how to dress with bright hair color
Michelle sent me this query:

I love dyeing my hair unnatural colors and won’t have natural colored hair for a LONG time if I can help it. I was curious if you had any creative thoughts on treating hair color as an accessory with outfits.

I loved this question. You all know that I am the self-proclaimed Czarina of Accessorization, but I had never even THOUGHT about this one before. Here’s the advice I gave Michelle.


Wear it up, braid it, stick a million barrettes in it, learn to beehive it, curl it, straighten it … DO it. I think the most important thing you can do to best utilize pink, blue, or purple hair is draw lots of attention to it. If you’re a gal who is interested enough in her ‘do to dye it Skittle colors, you may be varying your style already, but most women wear their hair the same way every day. You change your entire look when you change your hairstyle, so have some fun with that.


Angie over at You Look Fab posted recently about framing your look with your hair color. She was suggesting that brunettes wear brown suede and blondes wear cream patent … but you of the lavender locks, why not try this? Invest in some red leather boots or heels, blue satin flats, or bright orange sandals for summer and build your outfits around the shoe/hair color.

Learn about color pairings

Do a little research into what looks best with your particular shade of red/green/pink, and wear those colors – especially on top in sweaters, blouses, and tees. Color matching guidelines go for clothes, they should go for hair, too! My favorite resource on color combos is Design Seeds. But a graphic design manual or any other resource that provides information about complimentary colors might provide an equal dose of inspiration.

Go metallic

I assume that if you have fire engine red hair, you’re not sauntering around town in head-to-toe normcore. SO. Sequins are huge this season, and metallics are pretty much always a good bet. Get a shiny silver shell and wear a black blazer over it. Find a sweater shot through with copper lurex thread and pile a metal belt on top. Shine, baby, shine.

Bright hair is all the rage right now, so I hope these tips are useful to those of you with vibrant locks!

Image courtesy Daniela Martinez

Originally posted 2008-12-15 07:12:00.

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27 Responses to “Reader Request: Haircolor as an Accessory”

  1. Shannon (A beautiful Dream)

    I used to be fire engine red. I actually found it was a lot harder to match clothes to than my natural brown or usual predilection for blue black.

    i’ve never really experimented with skittles colours because I’ve always had jobs which frowned on that kind of thing. Now that I’m going back to uni I’m determined to have blue black hair with mauve streaks… I’m going to stock up on purple accessories for sure!

  2. K.Line

    Hving recently highlighted my hair in a bit of an extreme (unnatural) way, I must say it’s made it impossible to wear a number of things I used to. And I’ve had to go out and buy some new things in the appropriate colour palette. So changing it up all the time could get expensive, I imagine. Until you circle back to the same colour!

  3. Rowena

    I’ve never dyed my almost black hair, but I love to play with color.

    I think your suggestions of framing it with shoes is a great idea.

    Using sparkle is also a great idea. I would totally be envious of a magenta haired beauty walking down the street in one of those glam sequined tunics. With fab boots? And a cobalt clutch? I’d probably be jonesing for the life, not just the clothes.

    I also love the skittles color idea. Blue hair– apple green jacket, turquoise shirt, navy skirt. Pink hair? orange tee, burgundy cords, eggplant shoes. So many options for this.

  4. La Belette Rouge

    I am a red weasel and I am very keen on red shoes so as to start and end with red. Even if nothing in between my hair and shoes are red I feel book-ended by my favorite colour.

  5. Michelle

    yay! I was beginning to wonder if you had forgot about this 😉

    Again, I love the tips. My hair is blue now (and magentaish, it should be pink, but the blue keeps bleeding into it grrr) and I’m actually planning on keeping it this way for a while…I’m digging around on Endless looking for a pair of blue shoes as we speak, hah. I’ve also got several fascinator ideas in the works so, I’ve been heeding your advice 😉 Another thought I had is that matching fingernail polish to hair color could look really cute…I’ve been meaning to pick up that book and keep forgetting.

    Anyways! I appreciate the advice, Sal and others! Keep ’em coming! 🙂

  6. Miss Woo

    I used to dye my hair dark black regularly, I’m not sure why as I kinda already have black hair..hmm…

  7. Hate This And I'll Love You

    I’m naturally dark brown haired – but I definitely use my hair as an accessory.

    I’ve had:
    – Turquoise
    – Postbox Red
    – Deep Purple
    – Electric Blue
    – Black / Blue
    – Cherry Red.

    and I change my wardrobe accordingly. I’m planning to go black and white next.

  8. dapper kid

    Haha awesome, I’ve never dyed my hair (I think it would end up far too dry!), but I love seeing people with colourful hair 🙂 I think of it as one of those forgotten about accessories to be honest, most of us have hair, but forget to use it!

  9. lisa

    Wow, great tips! I’ve never dyed my hair because I’m always afraid I’ll damage it irreparably (the black has to be bleached out before any colour will be visible). I think if she dyes her hair and decides to experiment with hairdos a lot (curling, straightening, beehives…), a good leave-in conditioner is essential–but if she’s dyed her hair before, and often for that matter, she probably knows that already. 🙂

  10. Savvy Mode SG

    i am too conservative to go all out with my hair. however, layering and highlights really give my hair more interst and texture.

  11. Imogen Lamport

    I used to have violet highlights in my brunette hair – and as it worked with my colouring, it also worked well with most of the clothes I wear already.

    I love Belette’s comment – that’s what we call in the trade Visual Grouping – a great tip.

  12. Beka

    Awesome tips! I’ve always wanted to have brightly colored hair, but I’m too much of a wimp. If I ever go through with it, I know where to turn!

  13. Lacy

    Currently I have royal blue highlights! My stylist is brilliant and she put them UNDER the top layer of hair for a couple of reasons. First of all, no one can see my roots! 😀 Second, I can wear my hair down and show just a hint of color, or part it or wear it up to show much, much more. And, in fact, because of the placement of the highlights (on each side of my face), I can pull my hair back into a pony tail and almost completely hide them if the situation calls for it. I love them!

  14. Miss Karen

    Half of my head used to be bright pink and long and I used to wear hot pink accessories to match. It looks so cool but the maintainance was a biatch! Now I just use my hair as a hat-replacement – it’s short enough!

  15. The Seeker

    Again an awesome post with great tips.

    Thank you so much my dear for both your comments about La Mimi FIW, you’re very kind and nice with me.


  16. Anonymous

    Longtime lurker here, I had to comment because I have PURPLE hair and I love it! I find that I can wear anything with it, as long as a neutral color predominates. White, black, denim and charcoal gray are my basics, then I often add a pop of color via tops or hoodies. My favorite combinations so far are purple and magenta, purple and navy, purple and red (yes, really! Think of all the wild red hat ladies) and most recently, purple and orange. The only absolute rule seems to be no busy prints. You don’t want to blind anyone!

  17. SOS!

    Your hair is lovely! I got my hair dyed red last september, and I loved it! I dyed it twice after that, and it is mahogny! i’m planning on going for either copper or purply shade in January….2009 and a new start!

    xx- LJ from SOS!


    …as I grow older it seems that I’m getting more conservative, been there/done that with some colorsss…prefer to blend-in instead of standing out in the crowds these days… for now that is! ~Lovely week for you beautiful Sal!

  19. The Paper Doll

    I’ve actually never dyed my hair before!! But i do try and use the colour as an accessory – sometimes!

  20. AsianCajuns

    And I nearly had a mini image-crisis when I highlighted my hair (subtly)! I’ve since moved to highly my hair drastically. Maybe next year it will be pink.
    Great advice!

  21. LaMimi

    Great post!
    I used to be blond for like 7 years but now I’m back to my natural chocolate brown color. Coloring my hair did a lot of damage, so I guess I’m going to need another 7 years to repair all that…he-he
    Thank you for your lovely comments on my blog 🙂
    Have a lovely day!

  22. Hammie

    So Sal, does this mean I should buy some brown shoes with grey streaks? Or will you pass me the Clairol?

  23. Courtney

    I’m glad you brought this up! It applies even beyond girls who dye. I’m naturally auburn (and refuse to dye b/c I love the color … blessed). When I pick shirts that play that up, the wow factor goes waaaay up. Working with my hair color instead of against it is the best way I have to be stunning 🙂

  24. enc

    This is a great topic. I never thought about any of this when I had platinum. Or black. Or orange. Or red. Or green. Or purple.

    Not at the same time, mind you.