The Art of Color: Enhancing Your Own Personal Appearance

Ever get so excited about seeing a certain color or multiple of colors, on ANYTHING?

I know that rainbows certainly put  a smile on a lot of people’s faces. But sometimes an individual one can seem more appealing. Remember mood rings? I had one in the 5th grade and thought the ring was the coolest thing (except when it started to tarnish then I gave up on it).

So have you given any thought, yet, about what comes to your mind first?

For me it’s clothing; many fabrics that I’ve seen are really diverse in color selection, alone. I, sometimes, don’t know where to start in knowing what my reasons are for certain colors, at different times of shopping.

But let’s make something clear here, colors do have meaning.The fashion world talks a lot about the “psychological meanings” of color. Here’s what proponents of this theory hold to be true.

  • First, colors on the red side of the color wheel are generally considered to be the warm colors;
  • while those on the blue side are the cool colors.

While psychologists differ on the importance of color, there’s some agreement on the following colors: (See, I LOVE random facts, so here we GO!).

COLOR MEANING:

  • RED: depicts strength and courage.
  • BLUE: is cooler and more intellectual.
  • YELLOW: is the emotional color and gives off confidence and optimism.
  • GREEN: because it’s in the center of color spectrum, is the color of balance and harmony.
  • PURPLE: is the spiritual color leading to introspection.
  • BLACK: is both sophisticated and menacing.
  • WHITE: is hygienic, which can stand for good health and sterility.

Again, if you’ve looked at a rainbow (and I’m sure you have), you know that colors appear in a natural order. This is called “color spectrum“.

Designers like to show the color spectrum in a wheel. It turns out there’s a practical reason for doing so:

**Side-note: Not only are there visual effects when specific colors are compared to colors adjacent to them on the color spectrum, but there are also visual effects when a color is compared to the one opposite itself on the color wheel. 

Primary, Secondary & Tertiary Color wheels:

  1. Primary: the three primary colors are red, blue and yellow.
  2. Secondary: when you mix the primary colors in specific combinations, you get the secondary colors: purple (red and blue mixed), green (blue and yellow mixed), and orange (red and yellow mixed). If the mixture is not exactly 50% of one primary and 50% of another, you get these shades of these colors.
  3. Tertiary: to make a tertiary color, you mix two colors adjacent to one other on the color wheel. If you mix blue with green, for example, you get the tertiary color blue-green; mix green with yellow, and you get yellow-green. 

Technical side-note**You may think it’s a coincidence that suddenly some colors are very IN, but it’s not. An organization called “COLOR MARKETING GROUP” pulls in experts from different fields –fashion, interior design, and so on — and decides what the popular colors are going to be two years from NOW!

When it comes to fashion, you need to know how colors are perceived when they’re together so that you can combine them correctly when you get dressed.

For example, primary and secondary colors that are neighbors to one another are said to be analogous. So the colors analogous to green are yellow and blue. Orange’s analogous colors are red and yellow. When worn together, analogous colors tend to subdue each other and therefore work well together.

Colors that sit opposite from each other on the color wheel are considered to be complimentary colors, so blue’s complimentary color is orange and purple’s is yellow. Complimentary colors make each other stand out more, so they appear bolder than they do when alone.

Analogous colors almost always go well with one another. Complimentary colors can also go together if you want to make a bold statement. Keep in mind, though, that complimentary color combinations (like red and green or blue and orange) can be more difficult to put together. Colors that may compete in their strongest hues can go well together in softer tones. Similarly, using shades of these colors, especially one darker and one lighter (baby blue with orange, for example) can work. If your skin tone is darker or you have a tan, you can get away with brighter colors.

TIP: There REALLY are no strict rules with this; you just have to try different versions of color combinations and see what works. Be adventurous if you have a knack for what looks good (running it by a friend you trust is also a not a bad idea).

And REMEMBER: if you mix complimentary colors, make sure you choose the right accessories to tie the whole outfit together. Neutrals are a good choice because they frame, but don’t compete with, the strong colors in the outfit.

BLACK AND WHITE: THE NON-COLORS

So…what about BLACK & WHITE?

Technically, (yes, I know) black and white are NOT really colors (even though many people call them colors). Black is the absence of color while white is the sum of all the color of light.

Because they’re not actual colors, they can work well each other, with any other colors, or by themselves. When using black and white, you really don;t have to worry about whether two garments go well together because they almost always do.

But enough already…onto more about the actual COLORS!

COLOR CATEGORIES: JEWELS, NEUTRALS & MORE!

First off, colors are often formed into groups based on similar characteristics. Knowing what group each color belongs to helps you choose the right combinations when putting together your outfit.

For example, jewel tones are very rich colors; therefore, they’re generally worn in the fall and winter. Neutrals, because they can be paired with just about anything, are perfect to wear with strong colors (to provide balance) or with other neutrals (to create a subdued look).

**Here is an update on this year’s jewel tones for 2014/2015.

Jewel Tones:

Jewel tones have a high level of color saturation, making them very bold and lush. You’re most likely to find jewel tones in stores in the fall ad around the holidays. They’re particularly appropriate during the holidays because they add a festive feature to your wardrobe.

Two things to consider:

  1. Be careful that you don’t pair two jewel tones in the same outfit.  Because these colors are so strong, they are best on their own. Pair a jewel tone top with dark denim jeans, or another dark neutral such as brown to balance out the look.
  2. Make sure the jewel tone compliments your hair color and skin tone. Brunettes and those with black hair can carry off jewel tones better than blondes and those with paler hair and skin tones. The vibrancy of jewel tones tend to make people with lighter hair and skin look washed out.

Neutrals:

Neutral colors —black, white, brown, beige & gray, are really shades without color, and they’re the linchpin colors of a classic woman’s wardrobe.When combined with other colors, neutral shades put the focus on the other colors and, depending on the combination, can serve to tone the other color down or make it stand out.

Here is a basic outline about these shades:

  • Black: is slimming. It’s also sophisticated, elegant, and chic (yet another reason everyone should have the perfect LBD! {little black dress}). Black makes a good back ground color because primary colors really stand out when paired with it.
  • Gray:is the most neutral of neutrals and goes well with any other color. Gray comes in various shades. Lighter grays work well with lighter colors, such as pastels. Darker grays work well with bolder colors like red and blue. You can also substitute darker gray for black. 
  • White: is pure and dazzling and goes with absolutely everything, just as black does. White and black are great together too. While black is slimming, white tends to show more of your body because of the way it reflects light, so keep this in mind if you’re trying to camouflage a certain body part.
  • Brown: is a warm, neutral color. As a neutral, brown goes well with all colors. You’re more likely to wear dark brown in fall and winter, and a lighter brown in spring and summer. Browns can also be paired with each other in such combinations such as camel and chocolate, tan and gold, and auburn and coffee.
  • Beige: is the rue neutral color and goes with anything. It has a bit of the warmth of brown and the coolness of white. Beige can warm up a color, like blue, without overpowering it. If you have lighter skin and want to wear a lot of beige, make sure you throw in an accent color to add a pop of life to your overall look.

Pastels:

Pastels are lighter shades of basic colors:

  1. baby pink
  2. light blue
  3. lavender
  4. pale yellow
  5. mint green

Pastels work well with navy blue, kelly green, and white (which at my work is DEFINITELY already there for us!) —colors tend to appear in preppie wardrobe. If you have a lot of pastel pieces in your wardrobe, keep the following in mind:

  1. They have a youthful quality. Too many pastels can make you too cutesy (after all, babies are often dressed in pastels).
  2. They work well with neutral colors. The best colors to match with pastels are those in the neutral family –camel, gray, beige, and tan. These colors give pastels an appearance of being stronger than they actually are.
  3. There are more appropriate for spring wear. Lighter weight spring clothing comes in pastel colors.
  4. If you’re fair skinned and want to wear pastels, you need to pair it with a stronger. A light purple blouse with a deep gray skirt, for example, is beautifully chic. For a more casual look, a pair of dark jeans with a pale yellow polo is also a classic.

Earth Tones:

Earth tones, are aptly named because they include the browns in the earth, from sand to dark brown (some people included muted colors in the earth tone category, but I stick to browns in this discussions.)

Earth tones are very common in clothing that has a bohemian style. They differ from the neutral colors, such as white, gray, and black, which tend to cooler and more stark. Earth tones are softer and warmer.

Like neutrals, earth tones can be be paired with anything. Since the undertones are the brown family, which is considered a “warm” color, they’re flattering on all skin tones.

TIP: if you want another color in your outfit to stand out, pair it with a paler earth tone such as sand. If you want to balance and tone down a stronger, darker color, pair it with chocolate brown.

Well, thanks, again for reading about fashion. I always think that everyone has all the information in their own mind about things, but depending how much you want to get from it is spectacular!

If you feel that you can find your inner-fashionista, you’re at a good start. Hopefully reading about these colors will help further your education on getting to that point in making the most of your own wardrobe.

I am announcing that I am making this blog a bi-weekly one. My work load will catch up soon and I won’t have as much time to do what I intended to make it weekly, but we can do it this way.

Much love to you my fans to those who already this and to those who are just catching up after almost a whole month already!

Love to you and for fashion,

Lady J! ❤

 

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