Olive and Khaki – The New Neutrals for Spring 2015


How to pick a a cool or warm khaki or olive
Clockwise from left: Dress  Skirt Jacket Jacket

The other day as I was walking through my local shopping mall I glanced in the doorway of Country Road (the Australian version of J Crew or Banana Republic) and discovered that it was awash with olive/khaki type greens. Pantone had forecast that Dried Herb would be a big colour this year, and here it is for the Australian Spring/Summer in its many shades and I’m also seeing it in the Autumn/Winter collections for the Northern Hemisphere. The Pantone version is definitely warm, but interestingly I’m seeing some cooler versions here in stores and so I wanted to show you the differences so you can look out for the most flattering version for you. This khaki green is a brilliant neutral for you if you are warm – particularly if you have an olive green or hazel eye – as it will be a fabulous eye enhancer, so snap it up while it’s in the stores! Here are some ideas on how to mix Dried Herb with other colours in your wardrobe.  It goes brilliantly with the warm military navy of Reflecting Pond.



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  • This is so helpful Imogen!! I’m warm colouring (medium copper/auburn hair and medium-dark blue/grey eyes) and I always gravitate to khaki/olive clothing when I see it in stores thinking “oh that’s a warm colour, it will suit me”. I have tried on (and sometimes bought) the more sage green and also the muddier warm/light/soft green before and was disappointed when it washed me out. I now try to stick to the warmer brighter more medium olives and they are great. I love seeing these colour comparisons – an excellent reminder.

  • I love khaki but find it really hard to wear with my colouring, being Bright/Cool with dark brown hair, lighter skin and a turquoise eye. Any suggestions?

  • Thanks for this Imogen. I have adored olive and khaki trousers since forever. My best pair was from Country Road in around 1980 and I wore them for years. I bought a pair of J Brand khaki jeans on sale last year out of nostalgia for the CR pair, so I’m glad I will be on trend!

  • Although I love pseudo neutrals  Ive never find them appealing to wear them head to toe like black or grey. Its not because it doesn;t look “flattering”, It just doesn;t goes with my personal style, so I always break it up with beige, black and/or taupe. 😛

    Dark olive tends to wash me out but works fine when teaming up with taupe, rose gold and peach plus peachy-pink or plummy toned makeup. I;ve soft and light colorings but light clean colors or deeper smokey cool colors seems to work better, Pale lime is one of them. (Must has something to do my skin. Its peachy but my eyes and hair are medium-deep smokey). On the contrary, I don't really care if colors wash me out or looks too bright, because I would still wear them! 😉

  • I can relate to the champagne taste comment. I’ve just bought a lot of basics in Targets Lily Love range. The tag says muted olive. Its like your warm and bright but softer yet not as softer and greyed off as your cool & soft (above). I love it on me. It made my skin come alive… yet I can also wear black and clear bold colours too? Although I have to wear heavier makeup to compensate – with the soft salmons, plums and dusty olives and peaches, makeup becomes less necessary.
    So, if you have ever seen the lily loves range in Target, can you tell me where they fit in, with your categories above? I would think soft autumn?

    • Hi Meredith, the Lily Loves olive is soft – it would fit in my Spicy and Exotic ranges – Soft Warm & Toasted (I don’t do seasons so can’t comment on Soft Autumn).

  • Yes. I was told that today by the optometrist assistant. First time in my life I tried soft, warm glasses in muted autumn tones & what a difference. My face wasn’t “swallowed” by frame.
    It really does save time & money.
    Thank you to Adrienne my new found accurate stylist & Imogen. It’s so wonderful to get things right. So freeing

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