Neon Looks Awesome, Won’t Make You Cry

Welcome to spring! Color has finally returned to the world and I’m officially over black v-necks (for at least a few months)! Apparently everyone else felt the same way because this spring neon is everywhere. Neon is great as long as you keep everything else pretty neutral. That is, while a pop of neon is cool, a full-on neon yellow suit with a florescent green tie will just make you look like Jim Carrey in The Mask.

With that in mind, I’m well aware that busting out a lime green dress or florescent blue button-up can be a bit intimidating. I mean, color is totally scary. To ease the brightening process, I’ve come up with a few neon items that will seamlessly blend into your wardrobe and, yes, even look good with your 16 pairs of black boots.

Messenger Bags


You probably already know you need a messenger bag, simply to carry your multiple copies of the US constitution everywhere. A neon messenger bag (or any purse/bag/wallet for that matter) is a great place to start your neon campaign. Few expect your bag to perfectly match your outfit, so a brightly colored messenger bag is pretty perfect. However, make sure you don’t spend too much on this one. Unlike a high quality black or brown fall purse that you might last years, a trendy neon bag is probably not a long-term investment worthy of several hundred dollars.



Neon nail polish is just straight up fun. Even if you’re not wearing anything too adventurous, neon nails can give you just an extra little hint of style. The major pitfall here is wearing your nails super long while they’re neon and therefore looking like a hand model in a 1980s press-on nail commercial. Luckily, most of you guys have short nails so you have nothing to worry about. Also sometimes neon yellow looks like nail decay on pale chicks so I usually wear mine green or orange.



I know I said these would be easy-peasy ways to incorporate neon, but I swear neon pants are easy! You can just swap them right in for skinny jeans. If you already are wearing darker colored jeans, this shouldn’t be too big of a deal. Otherwise, as long as you keep the rest of your outfit neutral (all those grey v-neck and beige sweaters you’ve acquired over the years), your pants will just stand out as the fun part of your outfit. See those black booties up there in the picture? I told you that you could wear this stuff with your black boots!

Shoe Soles


You already know how confortable, dapper and adorable oxfords are. Now, someone decided to trim them with neon. I don’t know who started doing this or who decided it could be a thing we all get to enjoy, but I want to kiss them on the mouth. These are some magical shoes that will almost definitely maybe bring all the girls to the yard.

Swim Bottoms



I won’t blame you one bit if you’re not quite ready to work neon in to your day to day. Still, why not rock a neon swimsuit! Even if you don’t live in a part of the world that experiences “seasons” (as I do) you can still debut your bright new swimwear indoors or in a hot tub until if gets over 55 degrees. While there are plenty of nice look one-piece or two-piece neon swimsuits, I really like the idea of wearing a black or neutral top and neon bottoms. This is particularly handy if you prefer to wear a sports bra-type top for swimming and thus might have more limited swimsuit options.



I can’t get through an article without bringing up blazers, and that’s because blazers are the best thing ever. Despite being a classic fall staple, a good blazer can add a breath of fresh air to your spring wardrobe. For a more femme styling, a bright colored blazer works perfectly over a flowy tank with a pair of cropped jeans or dark shorts. For a more butch look, button the blazer over a lightweight button-front shirt with straight leg jeans or slacks. Make sure that when you’re buying a spring blazer you stick to a lightweight fabric and stay away from heavy fall wools.



If watches are a status symbol, then a neon watch will let people know just exactly how cool your status is. While neon is certainly a casual choice for a watch and should be avoided for more formal events, I see no reason you couldn’t work it in to heavy rotation in your day-to-day. I personally think that an analog watch in a neon color is the perfect blend of classic and modern.




Finally, if you absolutely, positively cannot fathom wearing neon out in public, you can always wear them where (almost) no one will ever see. Come on, live a little!

The key with any neon is just to keep things neutral and don’t worry too much about it. Besides — and this might make some fashion biz folks roll their eyes — I sort of think if an item is bold enough, you can sort of wear it with anything. Except red. No seriously, don’t wear neons with red.

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Lizz is a consumer, lover and writer of all things pop culture and the Fashion/Style Editor at She is also full time medical student at Brown University in Providence, RI. You can find her on the twitter, the tumblr or even on the instagram.

Lizz has written 261 articles for us.


  1. Tell the truth… is there some thing where y’all have to work that Effing Dykes fingernail link into every single article, thus never ever ever allowing me to complete the mental healing process?

    • Don’t tell me. One day I was taking my classes at university and I saw this guy with long fingernails (probably because he played the guitar) and I started saying “no no no no no long fingernails is a no no no no!ewww gross!” to my best friend. I think the dude probably figured out I was talking about his hands and now he will hate me forever.

  2. Oh my god: “Luckily, most of you guys have short nails”– YOU KNOW ME SO WELL

  3. I consider myself masculine of center. My first instinct is that neon is for fems. I could rock those boxer briefs, but the other options in this post really do frighten me a little. Maybe those oxfords…but I still think they would look goofy on this tomboy. Any glowing words of encouragement to help me dress like a cool kid this spring?

    • Get an electric-colored bow tie or neck tie and matching suspenders, wear them over a black button down shirt. Wear black pants or awesome neon jeans that match your tie/suspender situation. You can also buy sweet neon shoelaces.

      • that sounds like a fantastic outfit. I haven’t quite gotten up the courage to rock the suspenders/bow tie combo yet, but I am working on it.

      • I just bought green neon shoelaces! I love them! Now I need to find some fancy coloured bow ties and suspenders.

    • I’m not even remotely girly, yet I love neon. I don’t know, it’s fun. sometimes I like to dress up, go beyond jeans and tees and I think bright colours makes one look….interesting.
      mind you,I have definite hipster tendencies.

    • I also think that a neon tank top under an open shirt might look good but not too femmy(that’s how I intend to wear neon). Maybe the shirt in a neutral color (like white or pale blue maybe)

  4. I generally hate nail polish, but I used to have a bottle of it that was that exact shade of purple up there, and it was pretty much the best ever. It probably still exists somewhere at my parents’ house…

  5. Those Calvin Klein boxerbriefs trimmed in neon pink, are the only pink things I own.

    It’s ironic really…I’ll just leave it at that ;-)

  6. Dearest Lizz,

    Everything you post is awesome. If I still had slumber parties, you’d be invited so hardcore it isn’t even funny. Maybe I should start again. Queer slumber party! That makes me think of A camp, which I’m not going to. ;_;

    No but seriously, you rock and I appreciate it. Even though I’m pretty much up on fashion at the same moment you are, I enjoy seeing things regurgitated in your awesome writing.

    I kinda want some hot pink oxfords now. I don’t even like those shoes that much. Just sayin’

  7. “I sort of think if an item is bold enough, you can sort of wear it with anything.”

    THIS. Especially accessories. It’s a good thing I live in the tropics.

  8. Um those undies look pretty cool. Someone out there must make neon bowties. I’d tap dat.

    Also I drive a Plymouth Neon. That’s right. MY CAR IS NEON. I am two articles of clothing away from being a headache on wheels.

  9. I’m reading this while wearing a black v-neck so I should probably put it away for the season. Neon kind of scares me, butttt I think I can manage a couple of these things.

  10. I just bought a BRIGHT orange blazer from Charlotte Russe and it is the BEST. Their entire store is covered in neon right now. I want more.

  11. my goodness. Those oxfords. I have been seeing such things around the internets and I want some so bad.

  12. My closet is filled with nothing but dark colors because bright colors- especially neon- make me nauseous for some reason. I would love to wear brighter colors though. They’re so pretty.

  13. my fave recent neon purchase: FOREVER 21 BOYSHORT UNDIES. they are stretchy and cheap and make my butt feel fashionable

  14. oh my god. okay first. those jeans. i’ve been coveting fun colorful jeans since about three weeks ago when i woke up and it seemed like EVERY SINGLE GIRL IN NEW YORK BOUGHT COLORFUL JEANS AND DIDN’T TELL ME ABOUT IT. i want. in every color. right now. immediately. also, autostraddle is so badass, because with “bottoms” option (swimsuit and undies) you show TWO photos, one that i can wear and one that my gf would love. the only thing better than neon is INCLUSIVE NEON. goodness gracious, lizz, as always, you rock.

  15. That messenger bag looks AWESOME, but now in my town looks live EVERY girl has it. And I don’t want to look like all the girls. But I really like like the bag. My heart can’t decide. I have a tank top in yellow neon. (you didn’t mention a tank top in your post, I feel like it’s missing :D)
    I will probably buy a blazer!

  16. Neon pumps for me, obviously.

    I’m a big fan of neon clunky jewelry – it’s so cheap and is really easy to slip off when you realize oh shit, you’re wearing neon what if people are judging you.

    If you’re more masculine a neon belt would be easy to hide if you’re wearing a shirt that you CAN tuck in but don’t have to in order to look good.

    • Oh, and my hair is neon blue so I’m avoiding wearing neon at the moment in order to prevent looking like a highlighter.

  17. Neon is a trend every spring/summer AND I HATE IT SO TACKY. I like colorful hair and thats the absolute max.

  18. So, neon looks good on some people. I am not one of those people. Likewise skinny jeans.

    I have lost enough weight this year that most of my clothes are on the line between Comfortably Loose and Too Damn Big. So, I walk into an Old Navy yesterday with the idea of getting a few T-shirts and maybe some pants off the clearance rack to tide me over until I’ve lost all the weight I’m gonna lose.

    And every damn thing was neon. Or skinny. And the neck bands on the T-shirts were down to my cleavage, and the sleeves were short enough to show off my farmer’s tan to full effect.

    Right. Goodwill it is, and hopefully everyone’s getting rid of their brown-and-blue-and-green clothes from a few years ago when stores had clothes that did not make me look like a clown on an ’80s kids’ show.

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