Tuesday, April 17, 2012

How to Mix and Match Colors: a Masterclass.

While you may not want to be as daring with the colors as this beautiful lass is (Why not?  If you want to, go for it!), there's so much to learn about color matching from this outfit. 

Let's belabor the point, shall we?

Beginner Level:  (Warning:  Geek speak to follow.) 

Good outfit choices are good design choices.  The universal principles of design always apply in some way to clothing ensembles.  An important aspect of that is color, and the basic principle to keep in mind is the color wheel.  If this is new to you, check out this basic tutorial.  A basic summary would be:  colors that are opposite each other on the wheel are complementary.  This is not a social construct, this is a basic universal truth. 

If you're going to be mixing colors, pick one combination to be the dominant centerpiece.  Other colors can definitely contribute, but they should be supporting players.  In the example above, you can see that the blouse has an explosion of other colors:   red, blue, pink, etc.  The key is that none of those other colors ever get too big for its britches.

tl;dr  Purple + turquoise = :)

Intermediate Level: 

A great tactic is to distribute the color throughout your outfit.  Non-obvious hints of it here and there are great indicators of style know-how.  In the example above, the clothes obviously jive with eachother beautifully.  But do you see that her toe and fingernails partner the hat while her lips play with the pants?  Those little sprinkles of color really elevate the whole.

Women have a myriad of avenues with which to pursue this (accessories, makeup, nails, etc.)  What can men take from this?  (At least those men that refuse to paint their nails.)  Pay attention to details.  A well-chosen pair of colorful socks can really make you stand out from the crowd.

Expert Level:

Just like it's wise to choose one dominant color combination, it's also great to choose one or two great reference pieces to build on.  It's like making a great movie.  Two surefire ways of making a hit are having one big superstar actor to headline, or two stars with great chemistry.   In this case the star has be the blouse.  The blouse is the sun that the other pieces orbit around.  But it doesn't always have to be just one piece;  it could be a great top/bottom combo, a skirt/shoes combo, etc.  Identify what you want to carry the picture, and flesh out the production from there.

As always, good character and tight execution steal the show.

Let fly your colors!

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