How to dress: pink with red

So I've got this pair of pink jeans, which I really like.

(No, trust me. They're nicer than they sound.) Thing is, I have only two tops – a short-sleeved navy silk blouse and a navy T-shirt – that I wear them with. (Navy and pink is brilliant. Obviously.) I am too proud to wear them with black, because that's so lamely obvious. I can't quite pull off wearing them with grey without feeling like I'm an extra in a 1980s bratpack movie. White: well, the thing is, the jeans are pale pink and I am a total scruff, so 10 minutes out of the house and I'd be streaked with pavement grime and coffee drips, looking like a marshmallow that fell into the coals.

So, anyway, what to do when the navy tops need washing? Or ironing, which is just about my least favourite activity in the world? The answer, at least as far as the autumn/winter catwalks are concerned, is clear. Alpha girls wear their pink with red.

Except: really? Pink with red? Pink with red is a Hallmark Valentine card, the kind where the roses are in bristly relief. Pink with red is the stripes on a Victoria's Secret carrier bag. Pink with red is everything that pink with navy is not. However, according to the Jonathan Saunders catwalk, pink with red is Chic Now, and what Jonathan Saunders doesn't know about being Chic Now isn't worth knowing. So I'm willing to give it a shot. Especially since those navy tops still aren't ironing themselves.

And you know what? It works. There's something about combining two shades that are close together on the colour wheel that makes you look quite sophisticated. (See: navy and black.) The key is to make it bold and decisive, so everyone knows you are making a deliberate choice to wear red and pink together. (In other words: no, pink hairclips with a red top doesn't count. Although a statement pink necklace might.) A colour combination such as this says: I can see beyond the obvious. I am beyond the nursery slopes. If black-and-white is the two times table of fashion, then pink and red is, like, the sevens. One of those tricky ones. And the best part is, it's still loads easier than ironing.

• Jess wears trousers, £30, Courts, £65, Satin long-sleeved top, £170, by Stills, from

Hair and makeup: Tonee Riberio using Mac Cosmetics. Styling: Priscilla Kwateng

Powered by article was written by Jess Cartner-Morley, for The Guardian on Friday 12th July 2013 16.30 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


image: © aiden