Pull the look off, and pastels become strangely powerful
There’s a reason they don’t make traffic lights in pastel colours. Primary colours are show-stoppers; pastels suggest serenity. A pretty sunrise or a boulangerie window are balm for your eyes, but can be ignored if you’re too busy.
This absence of urgency can be problematic when you wear pastels. The reason bridesmaids traditionally wear them is that in lemon yellow or mint green or baby blue, a pretty girl adds to the decorative picture without stealing the show. (No coincidence that the age of the grown-up, maid-of-honour bridesmaid has ushered in a trend for white, black and red dresses.) By pastel, I mean light versions of an actual colour. Pale neutrals are quite different: a nude or blush or toffee shade suggests skin, which suggests sex, whereas a watered-down blue, pink or green evokes nothing saucier than a single-bed duvet cover.