A straight guy's perspective on women's fashion
Tag Archives: color
June 11, 2011Posted by on
Every time winter starts to come around I think back about that scene in the September issue – the one where Anna Wintour berates Yves Saint Laurent Head Designer Stefano Pilati for lacking color in the winter collection, then scoffs at his excuse that navy and dark green were what she was referring to. Luckily for us, it seems that this upcoming winter will have a moderate array of colors for those dark and dreary months. Behold, the Burberry Prorsum Autumn/Winter 2011-12 collection:
Blacks, navy, brown, etc. all have their place on winter racks – they are the tried and true staples of winter fashion. The problem with a look composed entirely of these winter staples is that it causes you to blend in against the backdrop, something to be avoided at all costs. Thus the issue then becomes finding those colors that are both acceptable for the lighting conditions and the surrounding environment. That is the reason why I feel like the colors used here by Burberry are so striking; they’ve used bright colors that, although uncommon, will do well when the sun’s light is longer and at it’s least vibrant.
The other piece I appreciate is how the trademark Burberry print in the handbags is less the primary focal point and more of design element. When the designer print is the primary focus, it distracts from the overall look by calling out it’s brand rather than working itself into an outfit. The quality of the materials and design of the bag should supersede any print from a particular designer. By using similar colors and styling found in the central piece, the coat, Burberry uses their bag to add the finishing touch creating a polished and timeless look.
May 20, 2011Posted by on
In the first part of this post, I covered how to use colors that are within your color palette and how they help harmonize your features into an outfit. In this next part, I want to explain some pieces that can help accentuate your face but still balance the attention to your outfit as well.
For this next part, I want to talk about this look that Fergie wore to the 10th Annual Spring Fling Party in New York City (image via California Style):
Without doing a color analysis for Fergie, I think the colors she’s wearing work well with her palette. The picture overall is generally poor due to the flash, spontaneity, angle, etc. but that is not what I want to talk about. While I believe she tackled the color issue that Tilda Swinton faced in part 1, there is nothing bringing your eyes up to her face to help frame it due to the light colored jacket and light gray top. Her face isn’t necessarily being washed out, it’s just that there is no color around her face when compared to the rest of the high intensity colors she’s uses through the bottom half of the outfit.
How do we solve this? How about a more interesting necklace than the one she’s currently wearing (Image via Citizen Couture):
Here we have an extremely simple dress that is topped off with a great eye grabbing necklace that, due to the gold links and blonde hair, frames Joanna Hillman’s face perfectly. The benefits of using colors in her palette around her face can also be seen by how much attention the lipstick draws. In Fergie’s look, her issue of getting color around the face was complicated due to the styling of the motorcycle jacket, a style I’ve disliked from the beginning. I think Fergie was on the right track with the long necklace but I would recommend a gem with more color (amethyst perhaps?) along with a chain that was slightly shorter to get more attention upwards.
Coming back to Joanna Hillman’s look, the only thing I would change is to put her in a shoe that incorporates one of the colors from her necklace or face. Considering how plain the bottom of the look is, the rest of the outfit almost seems uninteresting. To show how to pull this off perfectly, I have to point back to an image of Giovanna Battaglia that I wrote about earlier.
Rather than a necklace, Giovanna uses a dark scarf accenting her dark features like her hair, eyes, and eyebrows. She then equalizes the attention between her face and her outfit by adding black heels which then bracket the white Valentino dress. Giovanna has an very good sense of how to style outfits, something you can observe here.
So whether you use a scarf, jewelry, or a blouse of a color from your color palette, the key to bringing the most beauty to your face is to frame it accordingly.
April 15, 2011Posted by on
After seeing some color blocking attempts that would only be described as interesting, I found the Zara look book which features color blocking at it’s finest. This got me thinking, is there a correct way to color block? I struggled with how to come up with a theory to correctly do this, especially when considering how poor color blocking looked on Camille Belle earlier. After much thought and analysis, I think I have it figured out. Let’s start with the basic color wheel:
I think the first idea to follow would be to try to avoid colors on the exact opposite sides of the color wheel, red and green being a classic example of this. Complimentary color combinations like these generally have too high of a contrast value and clash heavily against each other. If you change the hue of one of the colors it can be possible to pull it off though.
The most popular theory for combining colors is called the rule of two-thirds. How you achieve the rule of two-thirds starts by making an equilateral triangle (a triangle with 3 equal sides) on the color wheel. In it’s most basic form, the points at the ends of this triangle will be touching either red-blue-yellow or orange-green-purple. From there, you pick two of the three colors that the triangle touches. These colors will almost always harmonize together beautifully.
Now that we have that done, it’s onto the heart of the matter: color blocking. Since color blocking tends to have 3 colors, my recommendation is to use 2 colors from the triangle you made earlier and combine that with a 3rd color outside of it. For example, something like red-yellow-green or orange-green-blue works fine, you would just need to change the hue of one of the complimentary colors so you don’t end up with the clash I spoke of above. The reason I suggest color blocking in this manner is so that you don’t end up dressed like a clown in red-blue-yellow or with that weird orange-green-purple combination Camille Belle sported. The final and perhaps most important piece to note about color blocking is that, when you’re putting a color blocking outfit together, it’s best to leave your accessories in neutral colors. Color blocking speaks volumes as it is, pairing this look with colored accessories will throw the entire look off.
The thing I found to be extremely useful for testing color combinations was the simple paint program on your PC. To tailor it strictly to myself, I copied the image of the color palette I found earlier, pasted this image into the basic paint program, then began testing color combinations with the Color Picker tool (the eye drop button). The important thing when playing with this is you should be setting the color proportions up similarly to how the look would be worn. By doing this, you get to see how the primary and secondary color pieces in your outfit will interact. If you don’t set this up correctly, it is possible to throw your eyes off as demonstrated here. Obviously you don’t have to draw a jacket, skirt and shirt in your paint program. Simply placing a yellow block through the center of a larger red one should suffice.
Below is an example of changing the hue so as not to end up with the dreaded red-green combination. The yellow and green are similar in regards to hue, but the pinkish colored jacket works in nicely.
Again, the orange and green are very close to each other but the orange is just a touch darker and the blue is just a touch lighter. I really like the use of colored socks here.
Update: I’ve also done another 2 part post on using color to frame face which can be found here.
January 2, 2011Posted by on
Probably the biggest key to developing, improving and perfecting your style is knowing what colors to wear. Buying clothes that aren’t in your pallet because you like the cut or because you think the color looks good on you is doing nothing for you or your pocketbook. This can be a deal breaker as the wrong colors will wash out any of the natural colors in your face and distract guys from your natural beauty.
To remedy this, I found a really good guide on how to determine your color palette (finding your “season”) over at thechicfashionista.com that I highly recommend. I like this guide more than others as it doesn’t rely simply on hair color. Another great aspect of this piece is that it breaks down the palettes a bit further so that everyone doesn’t get lumped into one broad category.
As a side note, if you’re tend to have more of a quiet personality you will certainly not want to wear attention grabbing colors simply because it’s in your palette. Likewise, if you tend to have a more outgoing personality or simply want more attention, you’ll want to stay away from wearing a lot of pastels.