Winter Pastels: 14 Style Panel tips to wearing the season’s brightest fashion trend

Winter Pastel Trend
Winter Pastel Trend

Pastels have been making waves this year, and while they may have once been strictly associated with spring’s blooming flowers, they are one of this winter’s biggest statement makers.

Seen at runways including Jil Sander, Valentino, Oscar de la Renta and Acne, pastels running the gamut from mint green to pastel pink (the hue highlighted by this photo shoot in our Winter 2012/13 issue). H&M took the trend mainstream, by styling much of their fall and winter collections,—modelled here by Lana Del Rey and Frida Gustavsson—in the candy colours.

This week, we challenged our Style Panel members to appropriate the look for real life. The result? 14 stunning takes on the light and lovely shades photo’d everywhere form the skating rink to Central Park in New York. Our latest panelist, Melanie Morais of Born Lippy, paired two pop pastels with a contrasting black.

Question 33: What is your favourite way to wear pastels this winter?

Winter Pastel Trend Mo Handahu

Mo Handahu, 29
Halifax | Curvy Geekery

With this challenge came the realization that my closet is devoid of pastels. After a winter pastel mood board I found myself gravitating towards mint and knew that my outfit would include this hue. I chose a lightweight top with a flowy and relaxed silhouette so that I could layer it with other pieces and possibly incorporate it into my spring wardrobe. With mint I’ve discovered that I still like to add a richer color as I’m still warming up to pastels. Winter pastels have a soft, romantic and dreamy feel to them. I am so glad I gave them a try!

Mo’s wearing: Pants, thrifted. Sweater, thrifted. Top, Sirens. Earrings, H&M. Shoes, Asos. Clutch, Clutch Culture.

Winter Pastel Trend Alexandra Nikolajev

Alexandra Nikolajev, 27
Toronto | I’m a Little

Pastels are one of my favourite palettes to incorporate in to my winter style. Although it can be chilly, nothing complements a fresh white snow better than a soft mint green or pastel peony pink. During winter, I always try to keep a pastel piece as the focal point of my look and style around it. Pastels are incredibly bold amidst a sea of dark colours during the winter months. In Toronto, weather is a challenge as well, so I opt for simple but practical pastel pieces in my winter closet. This mint green sweater is a staple: it’s soft and cozy which makes it perfect to dress down with casual jeggings but I also love taking it from day-to-night and jazzing it up with these brown and pink polka dot trousers.

Alexandra’s wearing: Sweater, Matty M. Jacket, Zara. Trousers, J. Crew. Shoes, Aldo. Accessories, J. Crew, Helloberry and vintage. Purse, Fendi.

Winte Pastel Trend Sandy Joe Karpetz

Sandy Jo Karpetz, 25
Edmonton | The Pretty Secrets

I reserve winter pastels for the skating rink; the soft colours are sure to make you feel like a teen dream gliding along the ice in a floor length fur. Though I normally reside on the darker side of the colour spectrum, when I do lighten up the palette I prefer to go for a pop of pastel rather than a head-to-toe look… best not to appear to have dressed oneself in the baby department.

Sandy’s wearing: Fur coat, vintage. Silk blouse, vintage. Costume necklace, vintage. Shorts, vintage. Belt, vintage. Wool tights, Joe Fresh Style. Skates, vintage.

Winter Pastel Trend Stephanie Sterjovski

Stephanie Sterjovski, 22
Toronto | Stephanie Sterjovski

The winter pastel trend is so refreshing for the colder months. I feel that pastels work best when paired with neutrals, like white, beige, black etc. J.Crew offers an array of colours in their cashmere cardigans, which are my favourite because not only do they keep you warm but also lend a point of interest to a classic piece. I cinched my waist with a leopard belt just to throw in an unexpected element, which I think looks lovely juxtaposed against the mint.

Stephanie’s wearing: Cashmere cardigan, J. Crew. Pants, J. Crew. Necklace, J. Crew. Belt, J. Crew. Bracelet, ILY Couture. Ring, Kate Spade.

Photo: by Emma Burdett/

Niki Blasina, 26
New York via Vancouver | A Haute Mess

I love this trend a lot…on other people. It’s so pretty and feminine, and thus I feel like an idiot wearing periwinkle or powder blue. And I never wear pink (except maybe, when I feel like a Mean Girl on Wednesdays). So as the style challenge mentions, winter pastels are not the easiest.

My favourite way to wear this trend and a tip for those wary of it, is to stick to winter whites, creams, and dove grey. I paired a light grey blouse with a cream fringe skirt, and kept my accessories minimal: just a necklace, and gold ankle boots. It’s still feminine, but avoids the risk of feeling like a glob of cotton candy.

Niki’s wearing: Blouse, H & M. Skirt, Zara. Boots, Rag & Bone.

Winter Pastel Trend Cara McLeay

Cara McLeay, 28
Vancouver | A Fashion Love Affair

Pastels can wash you out during the winter, so I like to pair soft, pastel colours with bold, stand-out patterns or bright colours that pop.

Cara’s wearing: Dress, 36 Point 5. Jacket, Asos. Booties, Zara. Necklace, vintage. Bag, Rebecca Minkoff.

Winter Pastel Trend Kayla Short

Kayla Short, 26
Halifax, Short Presents

Initially when you think of pastels your mind probably goes straight to Easter eggs, and then directly towards chocolate Easter eggs. Bad news, you’ll have to hold off for a bit for the Easter goodies; good news though, this year we are shaking things up a bit in fashion world, as pastels are currently on trend for winter. I’m seriously loving this trend because it is a great way to brighten things up (thank you), and also more importantly break up the black (oh the black *rolls eyes*). To avoid your outfit to looking too summery, the best thing to do is to combine your pastels with winter fabrics. Make sure to combo up with knits, leathers, and heavier drappier fabrics, so people know that you are aware of what season it is out there. In case the minus a million temperatures weren’t already a clue.

Kayla’s wearing: Blazer, BB Dakota. Top, H & M. Gloves, Joe Fresh. Trousers, Winners. Necklace, Suzy Shier. Beret, random shop in Paris.

Winter Pastel Trend Melanie Morais

Melanie Morais, 24
Edson, AB| BornLippy

I’ve always been a fan of colour but even I could admit it can be quite difficult to wear pastels in the dead of winter without looking like an Easter egg. My approach to wearing winter pastels is to subtly do it and avoid going overboard. This could be as small as your nail colour, jewellery or handbag. I’ve decided to go with a pastel pink top with some fun shoulder details and a bright necklace but kept it winter appropriate with the darker elements. Pinterest, as well as clothing websites are a great way to find out colour combinations you wouldn’t have previously thought of! You never know, you might find pastel being quite easy to work with!

Melanie’s wearing: Top, H & M. Necklace, mark. by Avon. Shorts, Joe Fresh. Tights, Gap. Booties, Aldo.

Winter Pastel Trend Vickie Laliotis

Vickie Laliotis, 28
Edmonton | Adventures in Fashion

As temperatures drop, there’s no better way to liven things up than with some pastel duds. They’re bright, cheerful and a refreshing change from all those deep, saturated hues typically observed during the winter months. When it comes to incorporating these feminine tones into your cold weather wardrobe, it’s best to stick to lighter shades throughout your look, keeping it cohesive while offering the greatest visual impact. If the idea of head-to-toe pastel intimidates you, however, try taking one pastel piece — like a great coat or dress — and make it the focal point by anchoring it with dark, neutral shades… Either way, you can’t go wrong!

Vickie’s wearing: Dress, H & M. Blazer, H & M. Scarf, Wilfred. Pumps, ShoeMint. Belt, thrifted. Tights, Joe Fresh.

Winter Pastel Trend Kristin MacDonald

Kristin MacDonald, 27
Fredericton, NB | Doll Parade

As much as I love a jewel tone or two (being the ginger that I am), I’ve become intrigued by all of the Winter pastels that have been swooping over from the runway into the day to day blog world. Grey days are just that.. grey – and we’re in for a slew of them from here until the thaw. To combat this safe colour palette (and the seasonal blahs that can coincide) I chose a cotton candy pink trench that reminded me of Marie Antoinette or one of her darling French sweets. Pairing it with a weather appropriate knit, some corresponding ankle booties, and plain as day black skinnies made me feel winter appropriate, but lightened. Other options include: sweet mints, icy blues, and pale purples – and pairing any of these pastels with a smoky eye & juxtapositional metallic piece would feel just perfect.

Winter Pastel Trend Barbara Ann Solomon
Photography by Trevor Negin

Barbara Ann Solomon, 25
Toronto | Barbara Ann’s Style Blog

Winter pastels are a great trend to brighten the dark days of winter. I layered pastels into my favourite winter look—head-to-toe winter white and created a statement look. Blush, winter white, gold and beige styled together creates a whimsical (season appropriate) palette and using silks and a micro-fleece sherpa coat to make a contrast in textures makes this look feel effortless and comfortable.

Barbara Ann’s wearing: Sherpa coat, Pins and Needles. Silk coat, Wilfred. T-shirt, Tiger of Sweden. Pants, Joe Fresh Runway. Heels, Pegabo. Necklace, H & M. 

Winter Pastel Trend Kassandra Camponi

Kassandra Camponi, 26
Edmonton | Kastles

Pastels seem to have a soft spot in my heart all year long. As soon as winter hits everyone seems to forget about them or any other colour for that matter. The streets seem to be filled with blacks & browns, turning an already long winter even more dreary. So nothing excites me more than incorporating my favourite pastel colours into a winter outfit. If you are afraid of looking like an easter egg (not that there is anything wrong with that :)) I would try picking one pastel piece & working the rest of your outfit around that. I threw on one of my favourite blouses in a pastel minty blue & layered it with neutrals. If you seem a little unsure of trying this trend, one way to ease into it is with pastel nail polish.

Kassandra’s wearing: Top, Joe Fresh. Dress, Kersh. Blazer, vintage. Necklace, Forever 21. Heels, H & M.

Winter Pastel Trend Krystin Lee

Krystin Lee, 26
Toronto | Suburban Faux-Pas

The weather may be bitter and the days gloomily short, but I haven’t let that spoil my winter wardrobe routine. Winter pastels are a fun way to brighten up your wardrobe and your day as we eagerly await warmer temps. Mint seems to be a reigning colour this spring so why not get a head start with a fun blazer? I offset this bold blazer with a neutral palette of whites including this fun print blouse and pom-pom hat. To round off the ensemble, I’m sporting some fun mint loafers to tie it all in.

Winter Pastel Trend Jacquelyn Son

Jacquelyn Son, 20
Vancouver | Style Worthwhile

When wearing pastels for the winter, I like mixing a few contrasting colours to stand out. Here, I’ve chosen to wear green together with a light peachy pink. I really love how these two colours are so unlike each other and it is usually uncommon for them to be paired together. It makes a bold statement, but isn’t too overdone. Wearing pastels in the winter adds a nice soft pop of colour to make the cold weather seem less dull.

More Style