Neon dos and don'ts

JULIE BOWEN: A winner on the red carpet and off.
JULIE BOWEN: A winner on the red carpet and off.

Pop lime, acid yellow...citrus neon is the trend of the second.

Exhibit the Emmys: Julie Bowen in a key lime Monique Lhuillier trumpet gown, Julianne Moore in lemon meringue Christian Dior and a beautifully pregnant Claire Danes in gelato draped Lanvin. It was a dessert buffet not a red carpet. All three women took home statues for their day job and won big in the style stakes with each landing a place on the Best Dressed list. Cool and little bit unexpected, the neon trend can be tricky to master. The key to lies in the element of surprise and wearing just's how to make it modern, not Macarena.

DO: Keep It Simple.

JULIANNE MOORE: Nails the neon trend in Christian Dior.
JULIANNE MOORE: Nails the neon trend in Christian Dior.

You can over-think a trend and I'd much rather you devote that brain space to something more worthy. Like what you're eating for dinner? Neon looks best worn understated - this means restraint. The Emmys dresses worked because they weren't too fussy.

For everyday, add a coloured shoe to dark jeans, white t-shirt and blazer; swap your regular black bag for a bright yellow satchel, cinch in your dress with skinny, bright belt. Unless you're in evening wear, just a hint of the hue is all you need.

DON'T: Dress Like An Extra From A Wham Video.

KIM KARDASHIAN: On trend at Cannes.
KIM KARDASHIAN: On trend at Cannes.

Neon by its very nature is retro. It has had two big fashion moments - 1) as the go-to colour of the 1980s and 2) as Laa-Laa from the Teletubbies. Make the trend current by choosing classic shapes - blazer not bomber jacket; or a silhouette that is of the season - like a peplum top or pencil skirt.

This means you will need to throw the taffeta drop-waisted dress from the vintage shop in the bin. Unless you're under 21 in which case wear it immediately because it's 'ironic'.

DO: Go For Pop (Not Pantone).

Minimal neon accessories are a low-risk way to inject this trend into your wardrobe and are perfect for those of you who are still a little dubious about the whole vibe. You just need one great piece: a watch, a pair of earrings, a necklace. Don't over do it. Too many multi-matched accessories and you're a heartbeat away from Patricia Fields. Which is fine, if you're Patricia Fields.

DON'T: Channel Big Bird.

Bad clothes can happen to the chicest of women. One moment you're looking for a simple lime singlet and the next thing you know, you're wearing a yellow feathered mini dress out to dinner. Resist the urge for fun and fuss when it comes to neon (extra points if you can say that sentence fast five times). Opt for clean, simple lines and let the colour make the statement.

DO: Make Camel Your Friend.

The most flattering colour to wear with neon lime and yellow is camel. Look at Julie Bowen's tan at the Emmys - it was the ideal backdrop for her dress. Camel is great because it pulls all of the blue/green undertones out of citrus and warms up your skin tone rather than washing it out.

DON'T: Wear It On Your Face.

Unless you're under 18, a ballroom dancer or drag performer, please don't buy into the yellow and green as make-up trend. It's not lipstick. It's texta. The End.

DO: Try it on your nails. A bright yellow pedicure looks fantastic peeking out from just about any pair of sandals and if you really want to push the trend, try a coloured French Manicure (Beyonce and Rihanna are fans). Simply substitute the white tip for a splash of lime.

Sydney Morning Herald