The future's bright

Colourful accessories will lighten your look - and your mood but very very careful about yellow, war

One of the trends for this coming summer is brights: big pinks, oranges, yellows, reds. I never believe in trend predictions until they actually descend upon me, like snowflakes. Nevertheless, I hope this one is accurate.

The most likely way that most of us will hold hands with this trend is through that most famous of fashion words: accessories. Men, of course, will have none of this bother. They can wear a bright tie or T-shirt, but otherwise they can go on, merry in their murky-coloured way (I say this without a hint of bitterness, just simple apple-green envy). For women, I can see bright patent pumps and bags being worn aplenty.

There is something rather joyous about wearing colour. Scientists pooh-pooh the colour psychologists, but as I'm not hindered by such qualifications, I can throw myself fully into believing all that stuff about colours being on different wavelengths and making us feel different things. There is something frivolous about wearing brights. For one, it rather goes against our puritan belief (which we hold strongly with regard to fashion, in this country) that everything should go with everything else. Well, clearly, if you buy a pair of orange wedges, they might not be friends with everything else in your wardrobe.

Equally, I feel I should warn people about yellow, which suits very few of us. But I've just spent most of the day in the garden, looking at signs of spring and tiny, pretty flowers peeking through the eight inches of leaves I didn't sweep up last autumn, and I feel hopeful. If you want to wear yellow, go right ahead.

I think a pair of red shoes would cheer up most people. When I was three (did you think you'd be free of my childhood reminiscences this week? You were wrong), I fell in love with a pair of red T-bar shoes in Whiteley's, the department store that was on our doorstep (it's now a shopping mall). Every day, on the way to the park, my mother and aunt and I would walk through Whiteley's and I would ask to go upstairs and look at these shoes. I remember very acutely how important they were to me, their colour like a flashbulb that lit up everything around them.

One day - a glorious day - my mother bought them for me. I thought I'd die of happiness. I brought them home and put them carefully on the floor and did nothing but stare at them and think of the times me and my little shoes would have together. They were optimistic shoes and seemingly built for fun, simply by virtue of their poppy colour. I can't remember much of our adventures together. They make an appearance, I think - difficult to tell with black-and-white photographs - in a birthday photo, but it's very likely the sheer amount of endorphins released at the moment of purchase rendered me amnesiac for some time after.

Annalisa Barbieri was in fashion PR for five years before going to the Observer to be fashion assistant. She has worked for the Evening Standard and the Times and was one of the fashion editors on the Independent on Sunday for five years, where she wrote the Dear Annie column. She was fishing correspondent of the Independent from 1997-2004.

This article first appeared in the 25 February 2008 issue of the New Statesman, Pakistan reborn