FORGET pastels, bypass black and ignore neutrals. In case you were in any doubt about the colour of the season, it's cobalt blue.

Think of the shade as your summer alternative to black. It's chic, classic and works alongside countless colours, from bright neon to stark white.

"Cobalt blue is 'the' wardrobe staple colour for summer 2014, and you can make it work for your colouring and your style," says Fiona Wellins of Colour Me Beautiful.

"This beautiful, bright blue is bold enough to make a statement on its own, or you can wear it as you would your neutral shades, like black, grey or navy."

Time to get on board with blue this summer. You and your wardrobe may never go back to black...

COBALT CREATIVE To make the biggest impact with cobalt blue, take your inspiration from the catwalks and go all-out. Models were styled top-to-toe in the electric hue to pack a punch.

Try working one block blue colour separate with a cobalt print and team with matching heels for a cohesive look. A simple statement option is a bold blue maxi dress or wide-leg jumpsuit, for one-piece dressing made easy.

If you don't want to indulge completely in the shade, inject varying shades of blue or contrasting brights into your look. Wellins says: "Don't be afraid to mix cobalt with other colours - it is one of the safer bold shades to combine with others, so if you like brights but you're not so confident about how to combine them, start with the blues."

BLUE HUE STAPLES Cobalt blue is a classic hue, so staples you invest in this season are unlikely to date, and will work equally as well in summer or winter. Let's call it a blue bonus.

"A good investment this season would be a blouse or jacket in the right shade of cobalt blue that flatters you," Wellins advises. If you feel that cobalt doesn't flatter near the face, she recommends choosing softer, muted fabrics, like jersey or lace, to help tone it down.

If you can't get enough of the colour's intensity, try cobalt blue drenched silks or suedes to show off the hue to the max.

Summer leathers are surprisingly buttery soft and lightweight. While black can look heavy on a sunny day, a cobalt blue pencil skirt is the bright alternative that looks incredible against sun-kissed, bare legs.

ELECTRIC EXTRAS Supplement your summer clothing buys with cobalt accessories that provide a stylish bolt from the blue. The versatility of the colour means it works with neons and neutrals alike as a finishing touch.

Wellins suggests: "For work, wear your usual neutrals to keep your outfit classic and appropriate, and simply add a flash of cobalt with your handbag or shoes."

Switch up your usual navy or black bag for an electric blue slouchy shopper. The colour will act as an instant mood-boosting bright on your shoulder every time you wear it - the brighter, the better. Evening calls for a more structured approach. Try a chic cobalt envelope clutch to accessorise your LBD or LWD (little white dress).

For the ultimate in subtlety, seek out cobalt jewellery. Work a statement necklace or chandelier earrings featuring bold blue stones for a peacock-inspired colour palette.