For a fit that flatters, color matters

Nothing is black and white about fashion trends, unless the trend is black and white fashion. From the streets of SoHo to the fast lanes of Los Angeles, to the downtown in every hometown in between, fashion stories are currently being told on polar ends of the gray scale: black and white blocks, herringbones, checks, prints, and the neutrals black and white make in tandem.

On the other end of the spectrum, big hits of color are also headlining fashion news. So how do you make sense out of it all? How do you skillfully pair up colors, or blacks with whites, or add a pop of intense color onto a neutral? And how do you know which hue or neutral is right for you?

Fashion magazines load their pages with the season’s hottest color trends, but fashion cataloger Monroe and Main helps readers stay on-trend by making sense out of it. Often fashion magazines show readers that accessorizing with color is a wonderful way to achieve figure-flattering effects on a model who is 6 feet tall and 100 pounds, but it’s hard to see how the concept works on average figures.

“Our selections are made with sensitivity to the wide range of figures in our customer base, women sizes 6 to 24,” says Ann Bush, Monroe and Main catalog president. “We think about all of our customers’ needs, not just the trends.”

“Providing flattering gray scale combinations is just as important as finding the right pieces on the color spectrum,” says Bush. “For example, too much white can create an oversized effect, so we add a warm shade to trendy blocks of black and white, and show that softening effect throughout our catalog and on our website.”

The spring catalog features black and white styles and big color trends, like spreads called Tangerine Tango or Blue and Purple. Its “Get The Look” blurbs give customers valuable trend tips, like:

“Tangerine, orange and coral continue to make a splash on the fashion scene. Pair them with neutrals and figure-enhancing silhouettes for a confident look that adds instant energy to your wardrobe.”

Find more recommendations for the season’s hottest colors and styles at

A Fit For You Guide outlines how color and fit work together to complement a wide range of body types, which makes pairing them ultra-easy. Here are its four key color do’s:

* A pop of color at the top reduces hips and adds height.

* A light color on top and darker on the bottom elongates a short torso.

* Strategically placed color blocks complement the midsection.

* A dark color on top and lighter on the bottom de-emphasizes the bust.

After the shopper has identified her favorite colors and styles, she can follow links to find specific fashions and accessories. It makes the hunt for complementary pieces a cinch.

“Every color, print and texture has a unique flattering effect and tells a unique story,” says Monroe and Main fashion expert Sue Thrasher. 

For instance, a big splash of red can create confidence, or it can draw unwanted attention in places you don’t want highlights. Or if a print is too big, it can overwhelm a shape, especially if the color is too bright or highly contrasted, according to InStyle Magazine’s March issue.

“We watch color and style trends, but we analyze how they work with different shapes to bring out the best in our customers’ range of real-woman figures,” says Thrasher.

Visit, or request a catalog using the link at the bottom of the webpage.

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