People are afraid of color. It's true. Bold color is especially terrifying. Some people would rather go skydiving with Felix Baumgartner than try to incorporate a little color into their day to day outfits. It is especially difficult for someone in the professional world. Color done the wrong way in an outfit can very easily bring your look from polished to clown-like. Fortunately, for those of you terrified of color, or just not that great at it, I'm here to de-mystify the whole idea. Read on, grasshoppers.
For beginners, I begin with the basic: a simple pop of color.
From left to right, we essentially have the same completely neutral outfit with different "pops" of color. In option 1, the pop is the bright coral shoe. I love a pop of color at the feet- it's unexpected and so very fun. In option 2, we have the pop of color at the waist with a bright turquoise belt. In addition to being a fun pop of color, this is a great way to add emphasis to your waist and help accentuate your hourglass shape. Finally, in option 3, the neutral shirt is replaced by a colorful one. In this case, it's a striped purple, but you could do a floral, a plaid, or even just a solid that's a bold color. In all three outfits, the remaining accessories are completely neutral, but not match-y.
So why should you try this option? It's a great way to get your feet wet and experiment with color without going too far "out there." In terms of professional dress, a pop of color will never verge on too casual and will often help you stand out from the crowd in a really positive way. A pop of color is especially good when going to a job interview. The bold choice not only sends the message that you are a confident, self-assured person, but it makes you more memorable. Amidst all the grey and black suits they will see throughout the day, the royal blue scarf around your neck or tied to your briefcase will stand out and make them remember you.
For the intermediate students, I present the monochromatic use of color.
When creating a monochromatic outfit, simply take several items in varying shades of the same color and put them together. Use a print, or keep it all solids- it's up to you. Don't forget to use different textures. And keep in mind that in general, the darker of the shades will draw the eye more, so try to wear the darker color on the part of your body you'd like to emphasize. It can be easy to look out of balance if you have two extremely different shades, like a super pale mint and a dark forest green. Try to keep them about three shades apart and you'll be fine. A monochromatic look can be very slimming especially if you use neutrals like charcoals and black. But it can be just as sleek in a bold color. Most importantly, make sure it's a color you look and feel great in.
Finally, for the advanced in the class, I have the fully mixed color outfits. I've created three different versions for you. First, I used all primary colors, then all secondary and the last is mostly tertiary colors and a whole lot of them at that. (When I say "primary, secondary and tertiary" I'm referring to the color wheel we all learned about in elementary school.)
These outfits are not for the faint of heart. It takes a lot of guts to wear this much color, but trust me when I say that you can do it! All three looks are created using complimentary colors. If you look at any color wheel, there will be colors opposite each other or- like in the case of the red, yellow and blue outfit- three colors that form a triangle when connected across the circle. These are colors that will always look good together. It's truly that simple.
For a successful and colorful look remember these rules:
1. Remember the "Rule of Three." Three colors will always have more depth than just two, but not be as overwhelming as four or five. Three complimentary colors will pretty much always result in a polished, put-together look.
2. Choose an "anchor." Whatever the look you're going for, choose one piece to be the anchor that holds it all down. The yellow pants are the anchor in the first look, and the green dress is the anchor of the second one. In the third look, there's so much going on that it's harder to tell. I would argue that the floral print top is the anchor since every other piece in the outfit is pulled from the color in that print.
3. When in doubt, try a neutral. If your outfit is looking a little too clownish, try replacing a colored piece with a neutral one and see if it pulls the look together.
4. Don't worry about trends- wear the colors you look and feel great in. Just because neon green is the "hot color for spring," doesn't mean you need to wear it. I truly believe that trends that don't flatter you should be IGNORED.
Now you know everything you need to know in order to successfully pull off colorful outfits. Leave a comment and let me know how you like to incorporate color into your wardrobe. Do you prefer the pop of color, the monochromatic color or the mixed colors? Let me know!