Greek for “new one,” the use of neon coloration on clothes and jewelry was really a byproduct of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s club scenes, but actual neon got its Periodic Table start in the late 1800’s. Sir William Ramsey most likely didn’t imagine that a hundred years down the road retailers would be trying to peddle off his discovery onto members of the Peter Pan generation, but then again, I’m sure Benjamin Franklin never really saw Ben Bernanke coming either.
Being strict the libertarians we are, PD doesn’t like to think of anything having rules that should be abided by to prevent fashion suicide. (Please note the lovely word play.) Unfortunately summer neon is just one of those exceptions.
Let’s call them guidelines instead of rules.
The first guideline and where PD gets all ageist on you, is neon shouldn’t be worn by people
30 40 50 60 okay 70 or older. How about this: As you get older, the less neon you should wear. A neon sports bra can look great on a 31 year old hitting the trail, but like a highway cone on a 73 year old.
Second, neon is for summer, and summer alone. Neon is too vibrant to whip out in early spring, and going along with the first guideline, neon can look costumey after September 1st.
Third, if you look like you could be a stand in for Swiss Miss, neon isn’t for you. Sorry European pallor, neon needs a Rio de Janeiro tan. If you attempt neon on alabaster skin you’ll only come across as having a bad bout of cholera. Not a good look.
The fourth guideline is PD’s standard fallback of: less is more. A small neon pop in a tank, or bracelet can be cheery and fun. Parading around in neon from hairclip to pedicure will look just like that, as if you are in a parade. Pass. Also note that not all neons are created equal. Neon yellow is a staple. Neon green in more of a hunter shade and less of a lime are acceptable. Blues work across the board, and neon orange can be magic when toned down with old school primary colors. Neon purple? Eh. Hit and miss. Neon pink is really an extreme, and not for the faint of heart.
The fifth and final guideline is to keep neon simple. Do yourself a favor, and just say no to neon pants. No. No. No. A neon jacket is on par with walking to into a room shouting. If the occasion calls for that type of assault on the senses, then by all means go for it. If not, pass. A loose neon tank beats out a tight neon cocoon every single time. Thinking of mixing neons? Proceed with caution, otherwise you’ll get a Barbara Ann Bunny thing going. Along with keeping it simple, to all of you gentlemen out there, neon is not for you. No. It’s not. Never ever. Sorry, PD hates to go there, but men, if you wear neon, you’ll look like a douche.
There, we said it.