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|Written by Taryn Cheal|
|Thursday, 08 December 2011 00:00|
I firmly believe that there is no reason that people should not look put together on a daily basis (at the very least). This series is designed to outline basic steps anyone can take to improve their everyday wardrobe easily. I love clothes and am often asked for help in the style department by my friends and family. Over the years, I have developed some fairly basic principles regarding fashion that can help anyone improve their style. This monthly column contains tips that are meant to help you develop your own style; they should give you the tools to assess clothing and make choices that will work best for you, whatever your income, body type, or personality.
Getting dressed everyday shouldn't be a difficult task nor should it take a long time to pick something that looks nice. The easiest way to make getting dressed easy is to shop within a colour palette. If your clothing is both flattering on you and matches the majority of your wardrobe, picking out clothes is easy. When shopping, the first thing you should do is pick up whatever you are looking at and decide whether the colour works for you. If it is unflattering, put it back. No matter how cute the article is, if the colour doesn't work, there is no point in owning it. Shopping within a colour palette means that the majority of your clothes will match and thus, whatever you happen to throw on in the morning when you are running late or are just too tired to even see straight, your outfit will look, on a basic level, put-together. Paying attention to colour and thinking of every item you look at in the context of the rest of your wardrobe is one of the easiest ways to begin to create the most functional and flattering closet you possibly can.
A helpful general rule is to know what "season" you are and use this knowledge as a guideline to build a flattering wardrobe. These are by no means the colours you absolutely have to wear, but they will guide you to what looks best on you. The system is based on complexion and hair colour, with a range of pale to warm skin tones and lighter to darker hair. The colours that are in your palette will be the most flattering and will work to make you look your best, no matter what you end up putting on. There are quite a few excellent, detailed references for understanding colouring, but here is a quick summary:
A winter has pale skin and dark hair. This intense combination is best highlighted by sharply contrasting colours. Winters should look for clothes with blue undertones because these are cool colours which suit pale skin. Good colours for winters to wear are rich blues, reds, and greens (think of an elementary school teacher). They should avoid orange, off-white, and any yellow-based colours.
A summer is also pale, but their hair is lighter, giving them a monotone look.These more gently contrasting tones are best complemented by softly contrasting colours. Summers should also look for blue-based tones because their pale skin also has blue undertones. Summers look best in muted colors like dusty pinks or watercolour tones of green, blue, and red (think 1980s pastel track suits). They should avoid stark whites, black, and oranges, as well as yellow-based colours.
A spring has a warm facial complexion and lighter hair. They look best in softer, yellow-based tones. This grouping of colours is more playful and bright, which complements a spring's lighter hair and warm undertones in their skin. The best colours for springs are yellow-based, clean colours like salmons, aquas, and turquoise (think of a bright Navajo blanket). They should avoid black, white, and blue-based colors.
An autumn has the same warm undertones in their skin as a spring, but their hair is darker. Because of this contrast, they look better in tones that are warm, soft and deep (more towards gold than yellow). Autumns look best in earth tones like olive, darker beige, and brown (think of of an earthy hippie, or what Michael Kors calls a look that is "very woman of the canyon"). They should avoid black, white, gray, and pinks.
The season guideline is not a definite or rigid grouping of colours that you absolutely have to shop within, but it should help in guiding you towards a group of colours that look best on you. For example, if you are an autumn and your favourite colour is pink, a cotton candy pink might not be the best complement to your skin tone. Try a dusty rose instead where the more muted tones will look better with your complexion.
When buying clothes within your colour palette, remember that your wardrobe should be made up of mostly basics. Basics are simple, plain articles whose colours should be reasonably neutral (meaning not crazy colours, but those you can combine with many different articles in your closet to come up with an endless supply of combinations). These basics act as layering pieces upon which you can build visually interesting outfits with more statement pieces or even just a colourful cardigan. Owning clothing that stays within one palette makes the incorporation of statement pieces, such as a patterned skirt, incredibly easy. When shopping for a statement piece, you should think through your existing wardrobe and decide if you have multiple tops that would go with the patterned skirt. If you don't, rethink the purchase because you should be able to get multiple uses out of the majority of your daily wardrobe (even something that is perhaps unusual or a crazy print) by using various combinations of your basic pieces. Being able to mix and match your entire wardrobe will give you endless possibilities in your wardrobe on a daily basis. And because you have frontloaded your time when shopping and thinking through the palette and how each piece will fit in with your existing clothes, getting dressed every day will be easy, even with the plethora of choices you will have.
I also need to mention neutrals when I talk about colours. Neutrals are not colours, they are, in fact, neutral and thus can be worn with each other. I know there is still the idea floating around that you can't wear black and brown or black and navy or any combination of colours that are considered neutral. This is absolutely not true. I find that adding a bit of variety in the neutrals in your wardrobe is a really simple way to incorporate a little interest into your everyday outfits; adding a bit of hue to a basic outfit will create more visual interest than simply wearing black as the base to your outfit. This does not mean that you can just throw anything on that is a neutral, they should still be coordinated and thoughtfully used, but they can be mixed and matched.
Getting dressed and looking decent on a daily basis should not be a difficult task nor should it be too much to ask. Thoughtfully building a complementary wardrobe based on colours that look good on you takes a lot of work out of getting dressed every day and encourages looking put-together. Don't be afraid of colour -- use it to help create your personal style.
Tags: advice, clothes, clothes minded, colour, colour wheel, culture, faith, knowledged, make an effort people, michael kors, mix n match, navy black=ok, seasons, style maven, wardrobe