When the mercury refuses to rise above freezing, and the streets, sidewalks and parking lots are all coated in nasty, dirty slush, we can understand if you just want to bundle up in black, gray or navy. Hey, our moods really do affect the way we dress, after all.
But sometimes you just need to face those winter blues head-on and add some brightness to your winter wardrobe -- not to mention your own disposition. Just look at all those actresses at the recent Golden Globes who swapped basic black for rich greens, reds and pinks on the red carpet.
"Color adds life and excitement to an outfit," fashion expert and celebrity stylist Lindsay Albanese tells StyleList. "It always draws the eye and makes things more interesting."
And popping in some bright shades is really quite simple.
"(Try) a vibrantly colored accessory like a scarf, handbag, shoes, boots or even some fun jewelry," says fashion designer Elene Cassis.
For advice on how to splash a little color into your regular dark winter ensembles, we turned to our experts -- Albanese and Cassis -- for their tips on getting things right and bright.
Start neutral and build with color. "I love black and white and use it as the two dominate colors of my collections," Cassis says. "What I love most about both colors is that they offer the perfect canvas for adding any other color. Yellow, orange and green are some of my favorites. For my Spring 2011 collection, one of my favorite dresses, the Lorrene, showed how accents of bright colors against a white background become so powerful."
Work trendy shades into your outfit. "I like emerald green, red, royal blue, magenta or fuchsia," Albanese says.
Pile on colorful accessories. "I always love a contrasting-color ring or jewelry," Albanese says. "It's subtle, but still makes the statement and changes it up a little bit. Scarves or wraps are perfect for accenting basic neutral-colored outfits. There's also something classic about a good red handbag to switch it up a bit."
Try a colorful dress. "A dress in a great color always works," Cassis says. "If you have darker pieces, like a black jacket or coat, a bright color or beautiful strong-color sheath dress under that jacket just looks so fresh and new."
Don't be afraid to mix in more than one color. "Try and complement with two colors max," Albanese says. "If your dress is red, then you can incorporate another color with your jewelry, like turquoise, or even ivory stones or enamel."
Add pop with pretty prints. "Sometimes a printed piece helps pull a lot of colors together," Cassis says. "Pick one or two colors from the print -- say it's a floral dress -- and layer accessories with some of the colors or a jacket to give it more dimension."
When it doubt, add color to camel. "Anything with a khaki or camel color is a great canvas to add color to," Albanese says. "It's like a blank slate and goes with all colors."
Still not sure? Here are two foolproof outfits. "I love a black-and-white striped sweater or top, skinny jeans and a bright-colored flat or even a statement necklace with orange, red or green in it," Albanese says. "You can also try a white T-shirt, leggings or jeans, and a boyfriend cardigan with a color or printed scarf. Adding a little color can take an outfit from basic to bold."
For inspiration, see how blogger Lindsey Calla from Saucy Glossie took her dark wardrobe in a more colorful direction.
Looking for more winter fashion tips? Here's how to choose and care for cashmere.