In the throes of working on, and struggling with, this post, I picked up the June/July Harper’s Bazaar. Leafing through it, on page 156, I found “How To Wear Color Now” by Lisa Armstrong. It doesn’t get more opportune than that! I decided to quote liberally from the article, both because it confirms what I’ve been wanting to say and because its descriptions of color are some of the most luscious, most mouth-watering and imaginative I’ve read in a long time.
(Read the first thing I’ve learned about beauty here: Don’t try so hard.)
The second thing I’ve learned about beauty is that whether you like color or not, choosing color isn’t easy!
#2. Color can be difficult.
Women tend to feel very strongly about dressing with color. Mothers tell their grownup daughters you should “wear more color!” As women age, they seem to either go big on color, or “fade out.” Those of us who spend our lives looking for different “shades of black” catch all kinds of flak for it.
Generally, I am not a color person. I’ve tried to expand my horizons but it hasn’t worked out well, and I don’t think I’m going to be wearing chartreuse soon. It’s not that I dislike color on others, but I feel oddly conspicuous in color and I don’t think I look very good in most colors. What about you? Color? Strictly black and white?
Color is a powerful thing, it has to be wielded well in order to look good. Apparently, for Fall 2015, the designers went all out on color, so I may have to re-expand my horizons. Listen to some of these words from Harper’s that describe the colors coming soon. “A coral bag with dijon mustard pants,” “raspberry thigh-high boots,” and “burgundy and red clashes.” Clash!
“The right color, in even the smallest dose, can take years off you and your favorite outfit.”
So often, I see women on the street who appear to have chosen a particular garment because in isolation, with nothing surrounding it, it looked “nice.” But because the color doesn’t flatter them it just lies there like a dirty sidewalk, utilitarian and that’s it. A color like that, isn’t worth wearing. I’m not talking about neutrals. Neutrals need not be dull and boring.
“Neutrals shouldn’t flatten but exalt.”
I agree, and I’m glad I don’t have to give up neutrals! “There’s more to camel than meets the eye. Its variants range from slightly milky coffee to the subtlest pinky taupes.” “Powdery pinks are a gorgeous way to break up navy or black,” says Ruth Chapman of Matchesfashion.com. Are you hungry for color yet?
What the color of a garment should do is vibrate or glow in some way. It should have depth, it should change as you look at it and “resonate” with you and the rest of what you’re wearing.
You have to wield your colors wisely if you want to wear them. Yes, you have to feel right in what you’re wearing, and you might want to get a color consultation, but if you don’t really look at the colors you’re choosing and make them your own, they’re not going to look or feel good.
So what about white and black? More than color in general, both black and white seem to polarize women. For a couple of seasons now, the white shirt has been everywhere, in fact it’s become the White Shirt, or the Classic White Shirt.
I laughed then, when I read the author of the Harper’s article say, “When Michael Kors, who knows everything about style, says that your beloved white-shirt-and-black-pants ensemble makes you look like a waiter… it’s time to reevaluate some things.” Ouch? Maybe not so much. Nothing, after all, is going to flatter you just because it’s “in” or “classic.”
Let’s face it though, some women do have a knack for color. Iris Apfel again.
But if you can’t do that, maybe you can do this?
Or perhaps this…
“It will never be entirely over for black, even though midnight and navy have given it a beating lately. And, now, enter darkest eggplant, deep purples, and bottle greens to the competition.”
That’s good for us “midnight ladies.” As is the fact that “The freshest neutral… is khaki.”
If you don’t know, the lovely lady in the last two pictures is Judith Boyd, aka the Style Crone. See her blog here.
P.S. Next time, patterns and details, details.