A Case of The Mean Reds

In Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Holly Golightly uses the phrase “the mean reds” to describe her generalised anxiety:

Holly Golightly: You know those days when you get the mean reds?
Paul Varjak: The mean reds. You mean like the blues?
Holly Golightly: No. The blues are because you’re getting fat, and maybe it’s been raining too long. You’re just sad, that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid, and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?

Although I love these skinny jeans from Gap’s amazing 1969 denim range, wearing them quite often brings out anxiety in me – what to pair them with (nude seems to be the way I’m leaning for this crimson red colour) and just how much my legs stand out when I walk. I put this outfit together for brunch at the weekend, a wonderful food-fest at the fabulous Goat Town in the East Village.

I realise I need to find a way to avoid the mean reds, at least when associated with bold colours, because neons are going to be huge for spring and I’d really like to find a way to incorporate them into my wardrobe.  If I can’t master crimson then I’m really going to struggle with hot pink.

I love these jeans, but what on earth else do I wear them with, Blog Reader?

Wearing: Jeans from Gap’s 1969 range; white tee from H&M. Cardigan from Reiss. Heels, Dorothy Perkins.



  1. says

    I know, definitely familiar with the ‘mean red’ concerning styling issues! not a big fan of bright bold colors, either … got lots of respect of them! ;)

    but I hear ya, and love love those red jeans, actually saw a deep wine red version at ZARA just recently and fell in love … but what to wear, well… with your red hue jeans, a light pouder color of pink/rose would go along as a top or silver/grey perhaps! what you think! xoxo

  2. says

    Great look! I actually did a post last week on finding reds and pinks to match your skin tone. I thought I couldn’t wear reds, but it turns out everyone can. Good luck with mastering crimson, look out hot pink!

  3. says

    I love that you quoted Holly Golightly in this post, and I know just what you mean about red jeans. I’ve been debating a pair myself for ages… but I can’t get past the brightness! Seeing you, my monochromatic friend, wearing there definitely gives me a push in the right direction, though. They fit you so beautifully! As for styling, I’ve always envisioned pairing my hypothetical pair with a loose gray sweater and black wedge boots… Maybe that’s a start?

    • says

      We do share a love of Audrey Hepburn….! I did a bit of experimentation with a sweater last weekend Cee, if it’s not too slimline it really works. I also loved the combination of red and grey so thank you xo

  4. says

    seriously? i can’t even begin to contemplate answering your question because the sole fact that i’ve overlooked this ‘breakfast at tiffany’s’ quotation has totally perplexed me! i know exactly what i’ll be viewing tonight . . . looking specifically for the fat comment. :) x

  5. says

    I love these red jeans on you but you do know how i love color! They look great as you’re wearing them but you could also pair them with something camel. I love red and tan together.

  6. says

    you look amazing!! i love how you’ve paired these red stunners = so perfect w. the long cardi and pumps!! and you have the most perfect figure {i wish i had your legs!!}
    xo ~ kristina

  7. says

    Love them! Perhaps wear them with black, white, grey, light beige, or even a breton top? Just throwing on a cool t-shirt with these would look fab. I need to find me some coloured denim :)

    • says

      This was my worry when I bought them really. I really liked the suggestion of greys here, but also black white and neutrals have been getting a lot of votes. Thanks for taking time to comment!

  8. sereniteacafe says

    A solid belt with a large, decorative buckle will bring the bright colors down to earth a bit, and keep things balanced. All in all, lovely!

  9. FASHIONISTAdam says

    I love that red skinny jeans of yours. I wish I could have them. Bold colours are so fun to play with! Anyway, I love your post!

  10. says

    Don’t see why you’d have a case of the ‘mean reds’ (hope I used that reference correctly!) because you look fantastic! Definitely loving your style and wish that I could pull off such a look so easily! Looks well thrown together ;)
    I think lighter earth / creamy tones would go well with that red!

    • says

      Thanks Inidna – you used the reference perfectly given my original dilemma :-)

      I had a lot of other comments about neutral and nude tones so I’m thinking about this now. Thanks so much for stopping by….

  11. says

    You look amazing in them! I love the entire outfit! I get the bright colors anxiety, but don’t be afraid to pair them with whatever crosses your mind and makes you feel comfortable. You’ll get the hang of it! Fashion is all about expressing ourselves!

  12. says

    OMG, at first glance I thought that was a picture of Kate Middleton! I mean YOU LOOK LIKE HER! And the jeans are super on you! A white v neck t shirt with a little blazer or jean jacket. That’s what I would wear with it. I couldn’t pull red jeans off at my age. I look better in boot cut anyway. They are a daring color!

    • says

      Lol the interesting thing about me and Kate Middleton is that we share a love of too many key brands! I have so many clothes from the UK label she wears a lot – she’s playing safe with her brands but I admire her choices. Nice to see a bit of style in the Royal Family too. Thanks for stopping by, your comment made me smile…

  13. says

    Neutrals work, but predictable like black. …if you’re gonna wear red, go bold. Striped blue and white/beige top for nautical Spring. Some mulberries or purples will go depending if jeans red is blue-ish. If red has orange-ish tones , think pinks toned colors or orange hues and yellow. Bulky oatmeal sweater may work as well as the one you have. Take heart.

  14. says

    The what not to wear girls suggest heating up red even more than it already is with orange, hot pink, something like that. Don’t fear color! ^_^

    • says

      Trish – I had another suggestion for a printed top and I quite like the idea of sticking to black and white on the top (my comfort zone) but making it different with the print. Thanks for stopping by!

  15. says

    I’m seeing snakeskin shoes with them. This season I’m all about textures, more than prints or bright colors…

    PS. The B@T’s reference totally drew me in off the WordPress home page. Best fashion movie ever!

  16. says

    I think it would look nice to pair those crimson pants with, if you have one, a silky silver short-sleeved shirt. And if the pants don’t have a print or design on them, maybe you could find a silky silver shirt that has something decorative on it to wear. Hope this helps :)

    And by the way, I totally LOVE your reference to Audrey Hepburn!! If you visit my blog, you’ll see how much of an Audrey Hepburn fan I am…

    Have a nice day!

  17. says

    Love the Breakfast at Tiffany’s reference! You look fabulous in those jeans. Great color. I used to wear bright pants all the time–definitely agree that whites, reds, and blacks, are great to pair with those red pants. I might have to get a pair for myself!

  18. says

    You are stunning and you look incredible in those jeans. You can wear those so many ways, I see a dressed up version with a ruffle blouse and tailored jacket…I see a casual look of a stripped Tee with a fun belt. And i’m really digging the red right now, my next project is a book called Nantucket Red, I may have to incorporate you into my book. :) I give you a ****4 star dazzle****.

  19. says

    Don’t be afraid to stand out in these “mean reds” jeans. They’re fab! :) And fashion is fashion. So you can do whatever you like.

    You look gorgeous in the photo, btw. :)

  20. says

    I have a great red, almost orange 1960′s style coat and and yes I know what you mean, you feel slighty conspicuous – however I do get a lift from it. Its almost saying..yes I know the weather is dull but I can still cheer you up! Go reds!

    I think I would perhaps go nautical with a striped breton top?

  21. says

    I love the red shown in the picture posted on the blog, but when I click on the 1969 Gap denim jeans link, I find that the red is definitely such a bold color. Yet, at least the jeans are not fluorescent orange colored…that is a bit “too much”.

  22. says

    Hello! Love your red jeans. I am quite envious of them, truth be told. I concur with everyone that stripes would look fabulous but I also picture a great leopard blouse with them.Yes, this would be bold, but all of the colors in leopard print are neutrals so it would certainly work! I tend to treat leopard print as a neutral most times I wear it. Love your blog!

    • says

      Hello! Thank you for the style advice! A friend of mine who adores animal prints suggested a leopard print blouse and you should have seen my face, but she showed me a few examples online and I have to say she (and you!) are on to something here. Appreciate you stopping by…. xo

  23. says

    Go French sailor/navy chic. A black or deep navy striped T-shirt, perhaps? I like the idea of the polka dots above, too, which also sounds French inspired. Love the idea of a deep purple top, as well. Have fun figuring it out and congrats!

  24. says

    I think, with your great hair style, you can pull off ANY look. Hair can be the biggest accessory. I have hair that frizzes. It does not matter how nice my outfit is, if my hair is frizzy, I might as well be walking around with sack cloth on. You look beautiful!

  25. says

    I think the Red jeans definitely suit you! Now your next step is printed skinny jeans ;) I just posted how I got over my fear of the printed pant ha ha! We are conquering one fashion fear at a time aren’t we lol!

  26. says

  27. says

    I love those jeans and all things Audrey :) I actually have a category on my blog called The Mean Reds, for angsty posts, but have never gotten down to writing one. I think these red jeans look great on you, and it’s the holiday season! All the more reason to wear them since Christmas is around the corner. Red and black are a classic pair; I think a grey/anthracite/navy sweater would also look great. Or even nautical stripes! Love your blog, will be a follower now :)

  28. Corrie says

    I have a pair of red skinny pants that I wear to death that it seems every time I wear them I’m “seeing red”. I always have a really terrible day at work and go on a rampage. Needless to say I try not to wear them to work anymore, haha! I had even done an outfit post on my blog talking about it.

    I love wearing leopard print with my reds but then again my style skews a bit more rock and roll. Black and white also looks great with it (stripes, houndstooth, etc). Your red jeans look great on you and you wear them well, you should have no issues with hot pink come this summer!

  29. says

    I love to wear daring colors but I find myself with the same dilemma as you. If what you say is true about neon coming back in spring then I am really in for it! I stick to boring neutrals and earth tones with an occasional bright color that pops, but I get stuck i a rut. It’s too bad you couldn’t find something with a great print to highlight the red in the pants!
    Post some pictures if you get a good match!

  30. says

    Don’t be afraid! Your legs look amazing in these crimson jeans! What to wear them with? I’d try a creme sleeveless shirt, with a bronze or gold belt, gold heels.
    Or to tone down, loose the belt, throw a light denim jacket on, and tie your hair in a high pony tail for some chic :)
    Love the jeans! love them!

  31. says

    Those Mean Red Jeans are, well… mean! In a good way, of course! I can imagine any bright jean colour would work well with the outfit, excluding whites, creams and other light colours (a bright yellow would work, though, with a LOT of confidence!). I would feel anything but anxious when wearing your jeans – I would stride down the street! They make your legs look so long! Bloody gorgeous look, well done!
    -Ro Ellis x

  32. says

    i guess its one of those jeans that dictates what to match with it, unlike daily colours like black and blue. :) white, black or champagne colour on red will always be the perfect match, but let me warn you before hand, you will be distracting a lot of passengers:) if you dont mind then, have a wonderful colourful day :)

  33. says

    Love these jeans! And you have such long legs – I’m jealous! Haha.

    Try a mint green top with a navy blue or dark brown blazer and flats that correlate with the color of the blazer.

    Good luck!

  34. says

    I really enjoyed this post. This is my first time reading your blog and breakfast at tifanys is my favorite movie ever so this was a great intro to you blog for me.

  35. says

    I absolutely love red! It has been huge here in South African fashion this season. Loving this article as well. I personally have an obsession with red accessories, believing the perfect red add on can take an outfit from acceptable to wow. Gold on a red ensemble is a classic favorite on a feminine silhouette, where as green and red has been terrific in men’s fashion. I would love some feed back on my blog: nomnom19.wordpress.com

    • says

      I had noticed a lot of green on men too here in NYC. I like that you think red can take an outfit from acceptable to “wow”, I need to get this into my thinking! Thanks so much for stopping by…

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