How to Wear Neon for Fall: The Definitive Guide

Now is the time of year for crackling bonfires, imaginary apple picking trips (not all of us have a car to get us out of the smog-filled city, okay?), and cowl-neck sweaters topped with thick scarves topped with wool capes. Now is not the time of year for neo... and yet the siren song of those electric colors still seems to find us. We just can't quit it.

I'm about to lay down some strict rules regarding the wheres, whens, hows, and don'ts of neon-wearing; since this is fashion, feel free to ignore them all. But if you're feeling a little lost, wondering if that electric green nail polish should creep to the back of the shelf or make one last blindingly bright debut — well, I've been battling neon addiction for years, and I've learned a few things along the way.

1. Neon hats? Absolutely! For whatever reason, the neon beanie has become kind of a go-to this fall. I don't understand it, but I like it. If Cupcakes and Cashmere, the queen of pulled-together conservative style, is wearing one, then you can be sure they're a thing.

2. Neon lips? No. You have all spring and summer to beam down aliens with your glowing smiles. I'm sorry, but neon lips are so boring right now, especially when we've got all these lusciously dark, wine-stained hues to choose from.

3. Neon nails? Sort of. A full neon manicure is just as exhaustingly I-know-what-you-did-last-summer as neon lips, but if you dress 8 of your digits in a neutral (like khaki or gray), I don't see how a neon accent nail is going to bring down the fashion police.

4. Neon eyeliner? Get it now. Not only were neon eyes all over the Spring 2014 runways, but we saw them during Fall 2013 Fashion Week, too. It's a daring look, so it hasn't been overdone by the masses yet. I'm envisioning a plummy fall lip color paired with a tiny streak of yellow just above the lashes — or a bare face, black nails, and the tiniest streak of electric green on your eyes, giving you a subtle witch, revisited vibe.

5. Pair with all-black. Check out this amazing look from The Blonde Salad: black sweater, black tights, killer black boots, and a poofy neon skirt. Cool and cozy.

6. Re-define "neon." Bet you didn't see that one coming, huh? Abandon your blinding pinks and electroshock yellows and think of electric brights that feel more October. Cobalt blue is enormously popular right now; you've also got your autumnal golds, your maple-leaf shades of red and orange, and if you need to wear pink, try fuchsia — the purple undertones make it feel more cold-weather-friendly than its coral cousins.

7. When going out... Girl, I hear you. You want to stand out in a sea of all black and this time of year, everybody is wearing all black. Unfortunately, classic wins over seen-before, every time. But don't relegate yourself to a lifetime of being a wallflower, because another attention-grabbing trend is approaching swiftly: yes, 'tis (almost) the season for head-to-toe sequins.