Shine bright like a… 

No, not a diamond. This gem’s hue is the Pantone Color of the Year.

Scene 1: The jet-set girl at the airport looked fly just waiting in the terminal. When she rose to board the flight I glanced in her direction and did a once-over … as girls often do. Her look was simple: Crisp denim and a fitted T-shirt. But when my eyes reached her stems, it was like POW-POW! A 1-2 punch! Three words: emerald suede shoes.

Scene 2: For my 22nd birthday at Tavern on the Green, I wore an emerald velvet dress. Among the exquisite surroundings, on Christmas Eve, on the arm of my hot boyfriend (who is now my hot husband) wearing an Armani suit (with a T-shirt underneath), I felt 9 feet tall.

Scene 3: The fashion editorial was called “Color Story,” and when we went to style it at La France, we pulled one juicy jewel-toned dress after another — ruby red, tangerine, rich amethyst. There was something missing, though. As if someone was trying to deliberately break my heart, a green one just wasn’t happening. The day we returned to pull the looks, though, there it was, shimmering like a gem, the gorgeous, emerald dress… and it made the cover of VERTICAL Tampa Bay.

And now… “Emerald” is the 2013 Pantone Color of the Year (Pantone 17-5641, to be exact), which means we’ll be seeing it everywhere! To arrive at its annual color selection, Pantone checks with designers and trendsetters to learn which hues are cropping up in their latest creations. If last year’s “Tangerine Tango” is any indication, this whole year will be alight with green — like a perfect spring meadow. And it’s so lovely to look at.

Which is a good thing. Because it will show up on pillows and scarves, vases and cars, nail polish and paint.

Can you wear it, though? Here’s what I find.

Scenario 1: If you know you can pull it off, do it! The rest of us will be green with envy.

Scenario 2: If you can’t swing it in a dress or a shirt — because it clashes with your skin or it’s just too much or you feel like the Hulk — go for it like the girl at the airport with the pumped-up kicks. Or rock an emerald bag or belt.

Likewise for the guys, a pop of dramatic color can make a great scene. But don’t overdo it. Try a sublime emerald necktie.

Green is one of those colors that seems to radiate positivity, so wear it on your sleeve or somewhere else, and shine bright like an… emerald.

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