With RiRi’s half-time performance inspiring bolder wardrobe choices, brighten up the grey days with our high-street rainbow fashion picks
When Rihanna took to the Super Bowl stage a fortnight ago, anticipation for what she would wear was running almost as high as excitement for her long-awaited performance.
The fashion icon’s choice of an all-red ensemble — an Alaïa coat over a jumpsuit and leather corset by Derry-born designer Jonathan Anderson for Loewe — sparked an online shopping hunt, with Google searches for red puffer coats, jumpsuits and trainers soaring in the hours after the performance.
It seems many of us are looking to our wardrobes to enliven these grey days. A bit of colour can go a long way towards lifting your spirits, so while we wait for sunnier weather to return, you can brighten things up considerably with some more vibrant fashion choices.
Dubbed ‘dopamine dressing’ for its mood-boosting qualities, dressing the rainbow can help to make us feel energised and happy.
The impact of colour on our mental state has been the subject of numerous studies, showing certain shades can cheer us up, thereby producing the feelgood hormone that gives the trend its name, although which exact colours have that affect will vary from person to person.
The most important thing is to have fun with it, so the item will be something you’ll want to return to time and again, whenever you need a little pick-me-up.
If you’re shopping for something new, we’ve rounded up the best options for men and women from the high street.
It can be difficult to find bright colours in men’s clothing outside of athletic gear and novelty T-shirts, but sweatshirts are a good place to start. They offer a strong base for more casual outfits, as the vivid tone will do virtually all of the work for you.
Japanese brand Edwin has a 100pc cotton version in purple, with an oversized fit for an even more comfortable wear (€120, Brown Thomas, sizes S-XL), or go even bolder with Cornwall-based Sunray Sportswear’s boxy sweatshirt in a Hawaiian sunset-inspired shade of orange, made with 100pc cotton (€180, Indigo & Cloth, sizes S-XL).
For keeping warm amidst traditional weather, look to Rains’ deep blue fleece pullover (€120, Indigo & Cloth, sizes S-XL), which has a clean, minimalist design featuring a stand-up collar, concealed pockets and half-zip closure.
Dundalk brand Seeking Judy, which also has a store in George’s Street Arcade in Dublin, makes cheerful, colourful streetwear, including the blue and green World jumper in a cotton and merino wool blend (€130, SeekingJudy.com, sizes S-XL).
In casual shirting, Esprit has a cotton-linen blend button-down in aqua and turquoise checks (€59.99, Zalando.ie, size XS-XXL), while Massimo Dutti has a lovely linen slim-fit shirt that comes in a shade the brand calls “mustard”, but is lighter and zestier than that implies (€59.95, sizes S-XXL).
It’s mellow enough that you don’t need to reserve it for the summer months, and it really pops against neutral tones like beige, crisp whites or greys.
If you’d prefer to keep things simple, make a statement with accessories. Pantone’s Colour of the Year, Viva Magenta, is a rich and versatile pinkish red — see the extra-fine merino wool beanie by German company A Kind of Guise, available at Dublin boutique Indigo & Cloth (€75), or the crepe sole Jasper boots from Russell & Bromley (€325, sizes 7-12).
An excellent trans-seasonal shoe, they combine the shape of a desert boot with a modern squared toe, and are available in red or electric blue with tonal laces.
As winter turns to spring, you may be in need of a transitional jacket to keep you covered during the changing weather.
You can find many promising options on the high street, including Polo Ralph Lauren’s cropped trench coat (€499, RalphLauren.ie, sizes XXS-XXL), which gives the outerwear classic a breezy update with a cropped silhouette and sunshine yellow hue.
For something a little warmer, there’s Cos’s best-selling cropped utility jacket in a zingy green (€225, sizes 6-18). Made from a soft, lightly brushed wool blend, it has a boxy, gently oversized fit with a full spread collar, concealed button placket and wide flapped pockets.
These vibrant jackets are great for elevating everyday jeans and T-shirts or black and navy outfits, or you can amplify the brightness by pairing them with other vivid hues — they work particularly well with hot pinks or oranges.
Blues tend to be a safe starting point for those nervous about eye-searing shades, as we’re used to wearing subtler variations on the colour. Marc O Polo’s long-sleeved shirt dress is rendered in a bold yet accessible blue (€174.95, Arnotts, sizes 8-18). The relaxed fit and lightweight fabric make it suitable to wear with tights now and without when the weather perks up.
Another nice, easy-to-wear piece at a wallet-friendly price is Marks & Spencer’s pure cotton striped rugby top (€42, sizes 6-24). The tonal pink stripes ensure the top does all the sartorial lifting for you, so you can throw it on over basic jeans and trainers to create an effortlessly stylish outfit in an instant.
German brand Oui makes similarly wearable statement pieces, with its knitwear proving to be a particular standout. Check out the fun chunky knit jumper (€129.95, Kilkenny Design, sizes 8-14): it has a slouchy, boxy fit with dropped shoulders and features a striking orange-and-cream pattern, with wide stripes along the back, twisting into a spiral at the front.
From Oui’s spring-summer collection, the cotton blend knit is cosy, yet light enough to see you through changeable weather.
Acid yellow isn’t a shade we often see in scarves, which makes Le Bonnet’s lamb's wool version, made in Scotland and sold in Naas boutique Gallery 9 (€110), all the more striking. Also available in pink, teal and sky blue, the cheery yellow hue can bring some light even when the sun is hiding, and it can even be paired with a matching beanie, sold separately.
Likewise, Russell & Bromley’s sharp loafers come in an unexpected and delightful bright green (€275, sizes 3-8), complete with a gold snaffle bar trim. You can wear the back up or down as a mule to add a dose of colour to the simplest outfits.
For advanced-level dopamine dressing, try a pair of statement trousers. Look to Essentiel Antwerp, the Belgian brand known for creating offbeat, playful designs at affordable prices.
Its lilac checked wide-leg trousers, available from Killarney-based MacBees.ie (€235, sizes 8-14), are woven from a floral-jacquard fabric that catches the light, making those purple tones really sing.