Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ideas about how to use Color effectively

The bee in my bonnet, it seems.

I've been considering my previous posts about color. Here are some resources that I really like that provide new perspectives on color and how to wear it, appreciate it, risk it.

The blog The Vivienne Files: the writer provides countless examples of how to wear, mix, match color and to think outside the box. Nicely done.

The site Polyvore: a site where members can build sets, explore how other members create outfits, sets and use color.

The site Colourlovers: a site where members can explore color and patterns.

There are a number of books on Amazon (and obviously on other book sites) that foreground color. All of then usually include quizzes and a series of "types" that give the reader her correct palette to help anyone find the right colors for hair/skin/eye/taste. Dior or Chanel or Mickael Kors use color palettes. There are also lots and lots of books on designers with color photographs: see how I highly recommend spending a couple hours in the Barnes & Noble or a used bookstore checking out a stack of books. Buy a quiz book if you like those, buy a style book on Ralph Lauren if you like.

Hint: look at decorating books. If you like a house full of color, or full or nautical ideas, or Western, or French country, or Bohemian? Go with the pictures you respond to and try out those colors. Cheap ways? T-shirts from Target. Go get paint chips from Lowes or Home Depot.

Another hint: go to a department store (not a big box store, but a for-real department store like Macy's, Nordstrom's, Sears or Neiman-Marcus (do not be intimidated, just go) and try on dresses, sweaters, blouses and suits, strictly for color against your face and hair. Wear your usual make-up and hairstyle. You're not there to buy but to look, so try on crazy things you'd never, ever buy.

The best place to start might be a simple palette. Some of the best advice I ever found was in The Dress Doctor by Edith Head, where she advised choosing a simple palette of three colors and building a wardrobe around that trio. Head chose for herself a trio of white, beige and black. This series of neutrals worked for her--as the designer of fabulous costumes for major films, her own neutral self stood aside from the colors, fabrics and textures of her costumes.

Start small like Head and focus on three colors, one of which should be a neutral like white, black, beige, brown, gray or navy. Or go a little bit bigger and start with five colors, including two neutrals--I like this better because I need more variety. Finding the right shade sof the colors you choose is the challenge: green, for example, might be emerald or lime, olive or sour apple, pine or mint, avocado or kelly. That's where the choice comes.

In the end, it is also about what makes you feel good, as well as what you discover makes you look good. If you love orange, but the quizzes day NO!, find a way to wear it in shoes, accessories, scarves, jewelry. Or if you love orange and your workplace is conservative, same goes.

Consider, then, in choosing:
  • what you like
  • what you feel good in
  • what works with your skin, hair and eye coloring
  • what suits your workplace style and your non-work style
Go forth and experiment!

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