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Posts Tagged ‘color’

Gray Lanvin Dress
Gratitude, elegance, warmth

I’m not much for resolutions, but every January tempts me to bring my life back into focus.  A friend suggested picking three “New Year’s Words” to describe what you wish for yourself — for your life — and focus on what you might aspire to.

The words can answer a question or they can just stand alone, embodying your values and hopes for yourself (they don’t have to be adjectives): 

I want 2010 to be . . . 

 This year I’m going to be . . . 

 I want more …. in my life 

 Ideas? Anyone? 

For inspiration: 

Azzedine Alaia

luminous, gracious, vitality

Azure

Joyful, vivid, authentic

 

For Jim A.: at OSU Beavers game in November

Relaxed, cool, laid-back, popcorn-eating

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When dmama ruled out all pastels the other day, I started thinking about color.  I like a lot of light, bright and fruity colors. Are those pastels?  In the spirit of research, I found a digram describing color along the three aspects: hue, saturation and color:

color

color

Layman’s summary: hue is yellow, blue, or red or what.  Saturation is whether the color is bright or pale (eg adding white).  Value is how clear or muddy it is (eg adding black).  If you look for white or gray house paint, you have to choose which color of white (warm or cool hues) — it’s will be the least saturated version (at the top of the paint chip).  Gray is any hue at its not-yet-black muddiest.

So I picked a nice hue of blue from Chirag Mehta’s Color Wheel , and found the different colors of blue it can become:

I picked a nice hue of blue to start.  They very middle is a balance between black/white saturation and value.

hue is the aspect along the outer ring -- this one is blue. The middle of the grid is a balance between black/white saturation and value.

 

A "pastel" of the same hue: low saturation, low value. If you play with the wheel you can change hues and find other pastels (upper left corner of the grid).  Lavendar, rosebud, buttercup.

A "pastel" of the same hue: low saturation, low value. Play around with the outer wheel to find other hues of pastel (upper left corner of the grid). Lavendar, rosebud, buttercup.

 

If you move to the right (darker value?) of the same hue, it's less pastel-y and more gray.  These colors have more edge to them.

Move to the right for a darker value of the same hue. It's "muddy" instead of "clear." In interior decor this makes color more sophisticated, in clothing it gives them an edge.

 

Then move down down, toward black. Still the same hue of blue, now making a nice inky dark gray that still has some personality.

The bottom right becomes black and gray. The same hue of blue becomes inky and dark.

 

Still the same hue: The bottom left sector of the grid gives beautiful jewel tones.  Saturated and dark.

The bottom left segment of the grid is saturated but not muddy. These are vivid, clear jewel tones.

 

When we wear color, hue is not usually the most important point.   Most muted, dark colors look good with blue denim because denim is a dark, gray-ish color.  Vivid and bright colors are exciting but hard to match together because they compete with each other.  Dark neutrals (not just black but charcoal, chocolate, navy, forest green and khaki) coordinate with most colors, depending on the look you’re going for.

If you want to match a red shirt, for instance, think about how muddy/clear and bright/pale it is.  Then consider whether you want contrast. More contrast adds energy and makes an outfit or pattern more dynamic.  (This can be seen in examples of prints).  High contrast — especially adding white -next to color – tends to make a given combination of clothes (slacks, a top and sweater) more casual.  Lower contrast (pair similar values of different hues), is visually “smoother” and more elegant. 

Examples, using same tops with different camisoles:

 

Chatham blue velvet jacket that dmama scored from thriftstore. Print Classiques Entier silk top.  Dark camisole (Shuttle Gray) is dressier, white is more casual.

Chatham blue velvet jacket that dmama scored from thriftstore. Print Classiques Entier silk top. Dark camisole (Shuttle Gray) is dressier, white is more casual.

Pink shirred-neck t-shirt.  Dark camisole for a meeting; White for a picnic.

Shirred-neck t-shirt (color: Amaranth). Dark camisole for a meeting; White for a picnic.

 

Same Sweet Pea top (Color: Lake Como). On left with gray camisole and cardigan, on right with white.
Sweet Pea top (Colors: Lake Como, Axolotl, blumine). On left with gray camisole and cardigan, on right with white.

It’s hard to analyze outfit components alone, since so much of a “look” is about how it all goes together. So I think there are a lot of ways these ideas can succeed or fail depending on what else is going on.  Another big component is contrast with hair and skin color . . . probably deserves a post of its own!

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