The electric '80s palette is back—now in bold shots of color instead of head-to-toe Day-Glo.
Elena Agostinis, 57: The key to wearing brights like a grown-up: Try Day-Glo pinks and oranges in classic styles like a bow-tied blouse and pencil skirt (Liz Claiborne New York, $79 and $99). Hot pink looks terrific with Agostinis's gray hair (and lights up her skin). Except for beige shoes (Coye Nokes), there isn't a neutral in sight: "My work is always colorful," says Agostinis, an artist. For a more conservative look, you can wear the blouse with a black bottom, or the skirt with a simple white top. Bracelets, Vaubel for Jennifer Miller. Ring, Mimi So.
Melissa Napoleon, 26: "I was skeptical about neon," says Napoleon, an aspiring writer. "I thought, 'Barbie colors!' But this looks cool." The hipness comes from the contrast between an intense chartreuse T-shirt (Ella Moss, $90) and fuchsia patent leather pumps (Georgina Goodman) and pink clutch (Rebecca Minkoff). We also piled on jewelry (more is more when you're young): studded cuffs (Anna Beck) and chain necklaces (Ippolita Silver, Jessica Hicks, Giles & Brother by Philip Crangi, Dannijo). Jeans, Sisley, $89.
Kersti Bowser, 44: The lift you get from electric colors is invigorating, but you may prefer smaller doses. Grounding neons with something dark, like a black skirt (Michael Michael Kors, $80), is an understated solution for Bowser, a chef. "This orange makes me feel alive and happy," she says of the sweater, matching cowlneck (Michael Kors, $895 and $695), and shiny heels (Davis by Ruthie Davis). "I'm a visual person...it's fun to translate that into fashion." Ring, Kenneth Jay Lane.