Friday, February 28, 2014

rules to wearing color

I've done a few color posts before:

But recently a girlfriend of mine told me she had all of my "closet top ten" items, but was looking to step outside of the basics, and was I so inclined to write a post on that. So, I got to thinking... what are the "top rules of color wearing?" I don't promise to be infallible, and we all have our own feelings on color, but I'll give it a stab. Keep in mind, rules are meant to be broken. And color is SUCH a personal thing, that you may completely disagree with everything I say. The beautiful thing about color/self-expression/style is that it's totally okay!! We all decide for ourselves what we find to be beautiful and pleasing to the eye. 

1. The color wheel is your friend. You know that kaleidoscopic circle from elementary art class? Get to know it!
Everything I've read about mixing color agrees that it's safe to use side-by-side colors or across-from-each -other colors. (artists: insert technical terms for this phenomenon here.) So blue and green or blue and orange are great color combos that you can be sure of.

2. Mixing tones of the same color is as beautiful as it is easy. Vibrant kelly green with a pastel green. Bright, kingly purple with a pale lavender. All good! You've probably played with this using a black and gray or chocolate brown and tan, so now just take it a step further.

3. Look outside. I find God is a pretty good user of color. ;) So if a fish in the ocean can be coral and turquoise, why can't your outfit? If a bird can be a lemony- yellow and lime green, why can't you? If an eggplant can sport the purple and green color combo, it's already been established that those colors are a good pair. So look at the food you eat, the scenery around you, and the creatures that move to get inspiration!

4. Any animal print goes with any color. Pick one of each and let them hang out! And when you're ready to take it further, the next step is to use the animal print as your neutral and pick another two colors to work with it. Or heck, throw a pattern in there, too! Like a blue-and-white striped long sleeved tee with a military-green skinny jean and pointed leopard flats. Yes, and a red lip....and a big statement necklace with clear crystals.... haha. Sorry. I'll come back to you. Look, all of that works, but if a leopard print feels dangerous to you, one color with your leopard flats is still a great plan.

And after having personally experimented with color the past few years, this is what I've started to realize: any color matches any other color. You can pick literally ANY two colors and as long as they each have a partner, you're good.

5. Give each color a partner.  A sure-fire way to make two colors look like they belong together is to invite each color to play- twice. Yellow shoes, purple jeans, and a scarf with both colors in. Or yellow shoes, purple jeans, purple necklace, yellow earrings. When we see it happen twice, we assume it was on purpose. Abuse Use that!!!! **The exception to this rule is a colored pant. In my opinion, you can wear a colored pant and not have to use it again. You obviously didn't accidentally choose that pair of pants, and it's such a large chunk of that color, that you don't need to see it again.

An example is my outfit yesterday:

 Why it works: See what I mean about the pants being enough of a statement to hold down that fort? I don't need more red to make them belong. (Though had I wanted to add it again, a red lip could have been the perfect way to do that. Eye shadow is also another great way to use your makeup to be the second dose of a color.) But if I had worn the blue shoes by themselves, or just the necklace, it wouldn't have been as cohesive. I think it's a more completed combination when the two blues have a partner. (I also love that the Stella and Dot Peacock necklace- haha! shameless plug- also has greens and purples. It made it a little more exciting.)

6. Stick with two or three colors. When wearing color, sticking with two or three colors max will prevent you from looking like a kindergarten classroom on legs. And to me, "colors" are any colors other than your black, white, tan, and chocolate brown. These are commonly-accepted neutrals in my book. **The exception to this rule is when you're wearing a fabric that has more than two or three colors. When that's the case, you'll obviously be sporting more than that. But I would still stick to drawing out only one or two colors from that pattern.

7. Walk like a believer and others will believe with you. That simple truth is THE secret to color mixing. Heck, it's the secret to dressing, period! If you walk around believing that you are wearing is a great decision, others will come along for the ride with you! You know that person in life that you've identified as the "fearless dresser?" That person who seems to be able to rock anything and look grand? You may have even told them, "You can pull off anything! I could never wear that." Well, here's a secret: they are probably just doing whatever the heck they want. But because their choice is flattering to their body, it looks good. And because they walk confidently in it, it works. The lesson: you can be that person, too! :)

Now, get out there! Go and conquer color, my friends! It's really very hard to go wrong.

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