Thursday, August 25, 2011

Color Wheel

Despite what the subsequent heatwave might have wanted me to believe, I’ve felt the end of summer looming since the 4th of July. And with its end, the trends for fall have settled into many, if not all, stores. Most trends don’t need too many instructions. So leopard is popular. Do you want it in a shoe? A scarf? A bag? A pair of high-waisted pants? The choice of how much or how little or none at all is yours. But some trends present more of a slippery slope.

The ease of composing multi-piece outfits out of items in bold, solid colors fades away as one gets older. A quick walk through a playground, or a trip through an old photo album, reveals how easy it is for children to do just that. There is a carefree nature to dressing at that age, as there should be when your bright yellow pants will probably end up covered in dirt or chocolate or finger paint or fruit juice by the end of the day, and every color seems to go well with every other color.

But with age comes the urge to "tone down" bright colors with something in the neutral family, like a black, a white, a gray, or a navy, overtakes us. The easiest way to move away from that impulse is to include one piece that does the colorblocking for you and to add on from there with items like a brightly hued pair of tights or a vibrant shoe.



Isabel Marant Etoile


The other option is to chose pieces in those shades you sometimes shy away from and style your outfit accordingly. That path can lead to more creativity and more excitement but also more mistakes, so it's best to start with one piece and build from there. In this case, I chose a pair of bright blue jeans by J Brand.

From there, it's easiest to begin with colors that live a good deal away from blue on the color wheel. Mustard yellow reappears every autumn and is a perfect complement to the candy color of the jeans.

Especially when it comes in a swing sweater from H&M.

And is finished with tiger print stilettos by Isabel Marant.

A cool, berry tone, much like the one this slouchy Rogan sweater is found in, is the perfect antidote for those whom find yellow to be rather unkind.

A pair of short Frye boots give the look a relaxed, weekend feel.

But for most, it’s not complementary colors that cause problems but playing with colors in the same family that presents difficulties. There’s the possibility that you’ll choose shades that are so similar that you’ll look like one definitive stroke of paint. On the other hand if the shades are just off, you’ll seem hopelessly mismatched.

However, a deep navy, like in this sweater from Marc by Marc Jacobs, will simply dampen the shocking nature of the jeans.

And bright green loafers by Topshop will add an additional pop that breaks up the blocks of blue.

In the end, all of that color and all of that playfulness will act as a shield as the long nights and short days of winter approach.

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