Shades of yellow shine this spring

Shades of yellow shine this spring
BRIGHT AND SHINY: Theory pants, $235 at; MIH tank top, $63, Club Monaco scarf, $99, and cuff, $59, (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
Sunflower, goldenrod, dandelion, canary. Accessories, outerwear and even cocktail dresses are beaming shades of yellow, which was all over the runways of New York and Europe and has taken hold as the color of the season.

That's a little daunting for those who adore the cheery color, but are sure they can't wear it. And that would be most of us, says L.A.-based color stylist Jill Kirsh, who confides that practically no one thinks yellow looks good on them. But in fact, she believes, "Everyone can wear every color -- it's all about the specific shade of that color. You have to wear the right shade for your skin and hair."

So, while your best friend can rock a more muddled hue of yellow such as mustard or an orange-tinged marigold, you might be best in a icy, pastel lemon. Kirsh has specific suggestions for finding the spot on the color wheel that will make you see yellow in a flattering new light (see accompanying story), but if you're still nervous, experiment. And try it in small doses -- shoes, or a scarf -- or in a vibrant print.

Choosing yellow that's set into a print among deeper colors can make it feel a lot less intense. Madewell has a fitted cardigan with inky blue flowers that offset the brighter yellow ones in the mix, and you can temper the busyness of the print by playing up the darker tones. Pair the sweater with gray or dark jeans, for instance, and try a necklace that has earth-colored stones.

If you never thought yellow could work for nighttime, consider the hammered silk cocktail dress from Rachel Roy. It screams 1940s screen siren -- and it would look radiant against a red carpet.

And don't be afraid to take advantage of the color's graphic possibilities -- or its romantic ones. A tiered ruffle top from 3.1 Phillip Lim softens up some tomboy cutoffs from Current/Elliot, and a bauble necklace and broken-in fedora help create an elegant, beachy look. A solid cardigan instantly takes on a strong, modern quality when worn with a black and white block-print pencil skirt. Just stay away from pairing yellow with black and white horizontal stripes or a solid black skirt -- you don't want to look like a cartoon bumblebee.

Bees aside, this season's rule of thumb when it comes to wearing yellow is simple: Relax into it. Put aside some of the caution and just let the color butter you up.