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November 22, 2015 / ilegirl

Color me happy

I’ve been confused about colors.  My complication is that I have 2 older sisters with radically different coloring, and was subjected to hand-me-downs in a variety of tones.  For a long time, I was unable to discern what colors looked good with my medium-fair complexion and (sans coloring) muddy blonde hair.  Hence, experimentation. Often, with rather ugly results.

I never had my colors done professionally, but a coworker labeled me an Autumn.  I have believed her, and after some trials with colors in that range I think she is correct.  For example, black is definitely NOT a good match for me, and neither is a wintry white.  Some pale blues are fine while others lend me a rather cadaverous look.  Jewel tones are risky.

My process

I think the trick is playing with color and, in time, narrowing down to what looks good and feels good.  This might be a matter of sneaking selfies in the dressing room, or doing a closet dive and snapping shots in a variety of outfits including a broad range of hues.  For me it was rather accidental and gradual, in that I experienced insights when viewing photos of myself over a period of years (some of us are not quick studies in the color arts).  Viewing a photo works because when we look good in the picture and recall a pleasant memory, we make a connection between the emotional state we are in and the color we are wearing.  

That’s the process I used to develop my preferred neutral bases and neutral highlights.  I’ve completely invented my neutral taxonomy, so the terminology is probably quite different in the fashion world.  But I like these terms because I understand them.

Neutral base

A neutral base is the dominant neutral in the outfit.  For example, brown would be the dominant color if the trousers, shoes and a belt are all in this color family.

I’ve chosen these as my neutral bases:  grey, brown and navy.

Why these colors work:  these colors go with pretty much any other color and I believe they look good on me 

Neutral highlights

A neutral highlight is the secondary neutral in an outfit.  An example would be an ivory blouse with a navy suit – ivory would be the neutral highlight.

I’ve selected ivory, plum and green as my neutral highlights for fall and winter.
Why these colors work: each goes with the neutral bases I selected, function as neutrals on their own in my wardrobe, and I believe they look good on me.

Patterned or solid?

My attempt to simplify is leading me toward solids, though I admittedly still have a few patterned blouses and an overtly patterned tweed jacket.  However, I am making the effort in coming weeks to use those patterned pieces and cull them if they don’t work with everything else.

The reason I believe solids work for me is that I prefer to accessorize with scarves and have a heavily curated collection I want to frequently use.  Scarves allow for a quick change-up in the look of an outfit, and because they can be tied in myriad ways I am hoping they will prevent me from becoming bored with a smaller wardrobe.

The closet

Here is my closet after I purged garments that are worn out or too small, and stored warm weather clothing.  The left side contains outerwear, scarves, belts, a garment bag with my few fancies, and a hanging organizer for my cashmere pullovers, oversize scarves, handbags, and lingerie box.


The right side contains a 2-tier hanging system for tops and bottoms, blazers, cardigans, and a rolling rack for my jewelry, tote bag and pjs.  The low racks on casters hold current-season shoes; sandals and fancy shoes are stored with my warm weather gear in a cupboard above the closet.

I purged two grocery bags-worth of items, which will be presented to my niece.  Whatever she doesn’t take will be taken for donation.

More, later.



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