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Apparel Retailers' High Voltage Bet On Neon

Electric blue jeans. Hot pink shoes. Lime green skivvies. Wear it like it’s 1985. These are the colors the fashion industry wants you to add into your wardrobe this spring.

The Stilt Cigarette Jeans by AG Adriano Goldschmied
Source: Saksfifthavenue.com
The Stilt Cigarette Jeans by AG Adriano Goldschmied

Retailers are rolling out an electrified color pallet hoping it’ll add cheer to the racks and suggest a brighter outlook for a dull economy.

Retailers are trying to make the new normal of slow economic growth feel better, according to Eric Beder, a retail analyst at Brean, Murray, Carret & Co. So, it’s in with the 1980’s-inspired fluorescent colors and out with the greys, blacks and neutrals.

“These are the most aggressive colors we’ve seen in 15 years without a doubt in both men's and women’s apparel,” said Beder. “If it is successful, the retail segment will have a very good year. It’s a radical change.”

Both high-end and low-end retailers are hoping the trend adds sparkle to the bottom line.

Target is selling neon duffle bags and watches. Saks Fifth Avenue is showcasing fluorescent green, orange and pink women’s clothing. Calvin Klein is advertising a collection of glacial blue, bright pink and sunny orange men’s underwear.

But, will this high-voltage fad be a hard sell? Not for consumers such as Nancy O’Connor. She’s planning to invest in some splashy colored items for both herself and her daughter.

“My 10-year old is a little fashionista and loves bright cheerful colors — especially the neon pink,” said O’Connor. “I personally like the neon look for adults, too. I think it is vibrant and fun.”

Questions? Comments? Email us at consumernation@cnbc.com. Stephanie is a Squawk Box producer. Follow her on Twitter @StephLandsman.

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