Love it or loathe it, pink is everywhere this season. Harriet Walker and Gemma Hayward explain why it’s just the colour for dark days – and how to wear it with panache

Pink sometimes gets a bad rep, too often seemingly the shade of choice among children, ingénues and sinister individuals with a hard-to-shake Peter Pan complex. Too pale and it looks too “nice girl”, too Stepford Wives, and generally too unenlightened; too brash, and you’re a floozy. And given the troubled, murky fashionomic waters right now, pink can seem downright frivolous, whimsical or wilfully ignorant. Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t, some might say. C’est la vie. En rose.

So it’s as refreshing as strawberry sorbet to see a resurgence of pink on the catwalks and in the shops this season, amid the economic gloom – the future may not be that bright, but at least your wardrobe will be.

There are two main pink trends right now: romantic nudes and bright, fizzy colour-blocking, each with its own important and esoteric rules. Romantic looks, seen at Chloé, Christopher Kane and Lanvin, used girlish shades of pink that were not too sickly sweet, and pretty shapes that didn’t tip over into saccharine. It’s that imperative and unknowable fashion equilibrium of “not too much of that, and just enough of the other” that you’ll only really know you’ve got right when no one mistakes you for an eight-year-old or a fairy princess.

Crucially, though, this season’s nudes are the cool side of pink, veering away from wedding pastels, so look for putty-ish tones and punchier shades. And the key to detail is that less is more. Kane’s circle-cut scallop frills worked on blouses and dresses that were otherwise minimal, and Lanvin’s heavenly pink satin skirts were pared-down in cut, and devoid of any other embellishment. It’s a cynical sort of romance underscored by a tougher style of femininity, and perfectly encapsulated by Giles Deacon’s frilled pink dress, finished with shiny pink plastic, which gave frou-frou a menacing modernity.

If you’re thinking pink and want to go brighter, this season’s bold colour-blocking trend is the best way. It’s exactly what it sounds like: large sections of matching or not-so-matching different shades, demonstrated to perfection by the trend’s main proponent, Richard Nicoll. Teaming vibrant pink with paler pinks is a good way of toning down the impact, whilst trying fuchsia with slate grey or citrus brights makes for a more dramatic effect. Just steer clear of pink and black combinations – they’re too heavy for spring, and a touch Eighties sportswear. The colour-blocking trend is about being eye-catching without becoming overwhelming.

Of course, accessories are key ingredients in any successful fashion concoction, and the easiest way to embrace a bit of pink, so to speak. Lift a dark outfit with a neon clutch or pink shoes – killer heels look a bit fierce in too bright a colour, so experiment with pale and nude-ish shades. Flats are a good way to tentatively introduce brights, and there is a vast choice of pink make-up around – the bolder shades are particularly good in lipstick form, making skin look dewy and luminescent.

You could even go the whole hog and pick out a pair of rose-tinted sunglasses, the accessory du jour during the worst financial crisis in history.