9.01.2010

The Color Code, Part II


In last Wednesday's post we talked about how wearing the right colors can really make your natural features pop, and hopefully take some of the scary out of incorporating bold colors into your wardrobe. The first step was deciphering your skin tone, and I put you all into four groups, which I'll re-post below:
  • Group 1: For those of you out there with pale, dark or olive skin and hair that's black, dark or white blonde, usually your undertones are blue or a rosy pink.
     
  • Group 2: Those with creamy/peachy skin and hair that's auburn, golden or strawberry blonde usually have gold-yellow undertones in their skin, freckles and a lighter eye color.
     
  • Group 3: Those with skin shaded in peach, beige and golden brown and hair that's red, red-brown, dark blonde, rich brown or brown-black tend to have golden undertones in their skin and darker eye colors. 
     
  • Group 4: Those with pale or pink-toned skin, blonde or light- to medium-brown hair usually have skin undertones of pale blue or pale pink.
Got your group number? Excellent. Now let's talk about your complementary colors.


The Match Game

Group 1: Sharp, Stark & Icy

Do wear: white, black, navy blue, red, bright pink and icy tones.
Don't wear: beige, orange, gold or pastels

Group 2: Keepin' It Light
Do wear: pastels (rose, soft blue, lavender), neutrals and plum.
Don't wear: black and orange.

Group 3: Worth Your Weight in Gold
Do wear: golden undertones (camel, beige, orange, gold and dark brown).
Don't wear: blue tones (like navy).
Group 4: Warm Fuzzies
Do wear: warm colors like camel, peach, golden yellow and golden brown.
Don't wear: dark and dull colors.

Okay...still with me? If not, and your brain is threatening to go black-and-white on you, take a break, grab some lunch. When you're ready, and now that you know what colors to veer toward, let's take this one step further and build some color palettes you can incorporate into your wardrobe.

Color Your Closet!
First let's start off with something we've all learned at some point, but it was most likely back in grade school (unless you're in the art world as an adult of course!)...the color wheel!

You've got the "mother" colors, or primary colors, that serve as a base for most others. These are red, green and blue. Then come the secondary colors, which are orange, green and violet. Finally, there are the intermediate colors: red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet and red-violet. 
Now, there are some basic rules that are helpful to keep in mind when combining these colors in an outfit. A short article from Real Simple (one of my favorite magazines) puts it this way:
"...when combining colors, consider three basic rules: First, tones opposite each other on the color wheel bring out the best in each other. Second, neighbors on the wheel are harmonious. Finally, all shades are thought to have personalities that can clash or meld. For a sure thing, go with a neutral-and-color pairing. Or experiment with a mix of bold tones." (emphasis added by me)
So, let's take what we've learned in this post and bring it all together (Come on, you can do it!).
Practice, Practice, Practice
I'll put myself out there and we can walk through this process using my features. I have dark hair, dark eyes and pale skin with rosy undertones, which lands me in Group 1. That means the colors that look best on me are white, black, navy blue, red, bright pink and icy tones, and I should veer away from beige (good, I don't like it anyway!), orange (which I still wear anyway), gold or pastels (not a fan of either of those, either).

Let's say I look in my closet and want to wear my red dress. I could complement it with a classic black belt and pumps (an example of pairing with neutrals), or I could remember my knowledge of the color wheel and pair it with green, which is opposite red, or orange or pink, which are next to red on the wheel. Add in the intermediate colors and you get a palette that looks something like this:
Pretty neat, huh? It's like having your own stylist! And look at all the options you have when your main article of clothing is red! Sure, some of them might seem a little bold, but the color wheel doesn't lie; they do go together. If I wanted to wear the ultimate complementary combo wearing a red dress, I'd pair it with pink. Even if I look like a walking Valentine, I can be confident knowing that my skin is glowing! :)
Try it yourself; go to Color Scheme Designer 3, pick one of the colors that complement your skin tone, then click on "accented analogic" near the top and it will show you the perfect palette! For those of you with an iPhone, for $0.99 you can download the Color Wheel app by Trevor Gray and have it with you when you hit the stores!

I really, really hope you try it out this week and get excited as your closet becomes beautifully matched to your beautiful self. Let me know how it goes!

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