Back to basics - neutrals for Springs

You're a Spring: You look amazing in bright colours, you sparkle in sunshine yellow and poppy red, you turn heads in vibrant azure. But sometimes, it's nice to know what the slightly quieter alternatives are, isn't it? The colours which will make your skin glow in the same way as those bold brights, but without all the, erm, colour.

For the bright seasons in particular (that's Springs and Winters), knowing your best neutrals is essential both for making your wow colours, or just a strong lip colour, pop in contrast, and for days when you don't want to be quite so dazzling but still want to look your most healthy, radiant and glowing.

Spring has the lightest dark neutrals of any of the four seasonal palettes, which can make sophisticated neutral dressing initially appear a little daunting. However, fear not, because effortless neutral elegance can be yours as effectively as any other season, by sticking to a few guidelines for each colour group within your palette:

Don't go too dark, or too dull and sludgy. Your browns should have a golden undertone and be lighter tints than dark chocolate. Your browns can range from bright golden tan through to very-nearly-dark chocolate.

Items shown: Lace Camisole in Tan, Faux Wrap Long Sleeve in Tan, Diane Swing Top in Chocolate, Suede Tassel Clutch Bag in Ginger, Fitted Cropped Cardi in Nut Brown, Mid Cascade in Chocolate

Such a terrible name, such a useful colour. Let's call it camel, shall we? So much more sophisticated. As with your browns, your camel shades (see, that sounds better) should be bright and clear, with no sludgy grey undertone. Think of golden beaches, light fawns and the inside of an almond kernel.

Items shown: Davina Tee and Tasha Top  in Almond, Cara V Neck and Short Ruched Skirt in Savannah, Jacqueline Trousers in Camel, Cashmere Gauze Stole in Fawn

Cream is Spring's version of white - so much brighter and kinder on Spring's complexion than true stark white. Look for creams which have an underlying brightness, no greying to this neutral. Think of double cream, buttermilk and vanilla custard - a neutral that's good enough to eat!

Items shown: Long Camisole in Soft White, Cashmere Gauze Stole in Ivory, Semi Scoop 3/4 in Vanilla, Cara V Neck in Antique White, Cotton Blazer in Oatmeal Melange, Jersey Trousers in Cream

Spring's greys can feel tricky at first, as so many greys are cool toned mixtures of black and white, perhaps with a little blue mixed in, but once you know what to look for you'll find them in abundance. Look for greys which look, for want of a better word, alive. Think of the warm grey of a dove's wing or a baby seal.

Items shown: Sleeveless Cowl and Short Ruched Skirt in Pebble Grey, Fitted Cropped Cardi in Light Grey Marl, Cotton Jersey Shirt in Light Dove Grey, Faux Wrap Long Sleeve in Soft Grey, Long Linen V Neck in Silver Birch

Spring's navy can be a tricky beast to track down. Lighter than what most of us think of as a true navy, it is actually somewhat closer to what most of us think of royal blue than navy. Relative to a Spring's brightness though, it looks like a sensible, functional navy, without any of the dullness of true dark navy. Make sure there is no softness in your navy, and that it always reads as blue, even in fairly dull lighting - if it ever looks like black or grey, it's not right.

Items shown: Soft Square VestSilky V NeckDiane Swing Top3/4 Leggings and Arabella Cap Sleeve Dress - all in Bright Navy, Marie Trousers in Light Navy

To see neutrals for the other seasons, click the links below: