Summer's shocking color palette isn't for the timid. Flashes of neon are adding a sporty feel to warm-weather dressing that's a throwback to the roots of Southern California beachwear. Think Body Glove (see Page 7), Camp Beverly Hills and Sarah Jessica Parker's SanDeE* character in "L.A. Story." How could we not do this shoot at Venice Beach?
British designer Christopher Kane was onto the trend a couple of years ago when he showed tube dresses in highlighter shades. But neon didn't really make its mark until this spring with Alexander Wang's boyfriend jackets in "Miami Vice" brights, DKNY's sporty anoraks and miniskirts, and Louis Vuitton's Pop Art Stephen Sprouse collection totes and shoes.
Adding neon accents is an easy way to update the casual summer gear you already have in your closet. It can be as easy as slipping neon laces into your sneakers (Converse has them in several colors), or giving yourself a neon-pink pedicure (Essie has several great shades).
On the higher end, a Tod's neon purple neoprene satchel is great-looking, light and functional, while Paul Smith's new vibrant neon camo print Frogskin sunglasses for Oakley pay homage to the sporty style first released in 1986.
For those who want flash with less cash, American Apparel has neon accessories, too, including wristbands, headbands and duffel bags, while J. Crew stocks neon patent leather flip-flops and skinny belts, as well as basic ribbed tank tops and short-sleeve sweaters in shocking shades.
If you're feeling adventurous, try a pair of neon yellow skinny pants by DKNY Jeans or a mesh hoodie in eye-popping orange and green by Joyrich. Just be sure to temper those pieces with basic denim, black or white for a clean graphic contrast.
Piling on competing colors runs the risk of looking more Punky Brewster than Pop Art.