FRINGE: Neon: fun, fashionable and fluorescent

Rachel Liquindoli for WSN

Spring has arrived, and with it comes the return of neon. Labels like Oscar de la Renta, Simone Rocha, Christian Dior and Rag and Bone all incorporated vibrant hues into their spring and summer runway shows. However, a neon dress may be a risky choice. It can be a surefire way to make you look like a human glow stick, and neon pieces definitely aren’t suitable for everyday outfits. Here are some simple ways to style a neon dress to make it look both practical and chic.

Ladylike monochrome

Pairing your statement neon dress with delicate black accessories and monochromatic layering pieces allows the vibrant color to remain the focal point of the outfit, creating a fantastic contrast. For a daytime look, try dainty bangles, cat-eye sunglasses and a simple black blazer to keep your look polished. To transition effortlessly into nighttime, remove the blazer and add strappy black high heels and a ladylike shoulder bag. Matching delicate accessories with the bold dress strikes the right note between daring and refined.

Classic Casual

Neon may seem overwhelming, but when downplayed and matched with subtle layers, it can bring a trendy touch to an otherwise casual outfit. Pair it with a classic piece like a denim jacket. Layer a printed scarf in a neutral tone over the dress with short leather boots. A chunky cardigan can be a great alternative — match with subtle lace tights and oxfords for an everyday look perfect for class or grabbing lunch with friends.


If you’re a risk taker, try neon on neon for a look that will grab everyone’s attention. Boxy, oversized neon bags make an electrifying statement when paired with a neon dress. Make sure to keep the bright pieces solid-colored, with simple shapes so the colors speak for themselves. Match a pink dress with a yellow bag, printed wedges and chunky neon jewelry, like stacked bracelets or dangling earrings. This color-blocking technique creates a daring, modern combination that can transition easily from day to night.

Rocker Chic

If you’re sick of wearing all black to go out at night and want to try something more daring, opt for a neon maxi dress. Amp it up and give it some edge with a cropped black leather jacket. The boxy cut of the jacket breaks up the neon, but still highlights the contrast in colors. Keep it simple in the accessories department — throw on a long, gold chain necklace and black patent heels to give this pairing a girly touch. The neon is still the center of the outfit, but the details keep it from becoming overwhelming.

Abby Nathan is a contributing writer. Email her at [email protected]