Ask 10 women if they plan on wearing the season's newest neons and eight may say "nooooo way." Some remember the London punk-inspired neon of the '80s, while others are just plain scared of those powerful pops.
"I get why you don't want to look like a crossing guard in an orange jacket, but that fear shouldn't lead you to shutting off -- it's not all or nothing," says fashion personality and celebrity stylist Robert Verdi. Tough, East Village-style neon has morphed into Madison Avenue-East Hampton chic, says Verdi, especially when worn with neutrals such as navy, khaki, chocolate brown or light blue.
And if you truly can't stand the heat of the colors, take it down another notch -- perhaps a stack of wooden bracelets with a few thin neons. "It's totally chic," say Verdi.
"It's not your mother's neon," says color expert Leatrice Eiseman, the director of the Pantone Color Institute. "Neon is a relative expression," she says. "And you're not wearing it head-to-toe." Benefits of the new color bolts go beyond just being fashionable, says Eiseman. "They offer the consumer a psychological lift, and even if you just use touches, it empowers you to get out of the winter doldrums."
Carlos Saavedra, director of handbag design at Henri Bendel, suggests that neon-phobes wear "just a touch of it, whether it's a handbag, scarf or a great chunky bangle."
Neons of all kinds are blowing out the door at Singer22 in East Hills. "We bought a lot of it for spring and it has been a must-have for customers online and in our stores," says owner Alicia Singer. Word to the wise? "The wrong way to wear it would be to wear too much of it." But Singer thinks anyone can pull of a bit. "The beauty of neon," she says, "is that it really pops on everyone and brightens your overall appearance."