Wardrobe Architect 5: Colour

Today’s exercise is a word-association one really. The focus is on finding a personal colour palette to start from, based on colours associated with the words chosen to describe one’s style (part 2), colours one actually wears and colours one just plain loves.

I’m actually finding this one a bit hard, which I didn’t expect. I think my connection to colour is changing – I was suprised how much it shook me to find that a rose pink top actually looked stunning on me – the last time I tried anything that was rose pink I was about 16 and it made me look dead. I’ve also just made a yellow skirt and I never wear yellow because it doesn’t work on me. And over the past couple of days I’ve even been questioning whether red – which for want of a better term I’ve always considered my ‘signature colour’ – even really suits me very well. I can’t imagine a red-free existence, but maybe I need to pay more attention to shades and be a bit more picky rather than just thinking “ooh red – that’ll look great”. I guess maybe this is a factor of growing older? I used to wear black all the time and looked fabulous in it, but now I think it actually doesn’t work that well and I look better in a good dark navy blue. I suspect that – like the silhouettes – tweaking the colours I want to wear is likely to be a lifelong activity, but it’s good to be thinking about colour with a purpose. I guess the haphazardness of my usual approach has also been very much driven by whether something fit around my bust – “ooh this one fits! what colours do they have it in??” which usually involves rejecting the colours I don’t like or don’t think look good on me – generally jewel tones, anything pastel, white – which usually ends up with me buying the red, black or navy.

It’s one of the reasons why I love a shop like White Stuff so much – not only do they do things in nice shapes and prints, but their colour palette is very geared towards the colours I prefer, which often seem to be muted darkish mid-tones with blues on the greenish side and purples on the bluish side. Harsh bright jewel tones don’t work, and I’ve always avoided pastels as being wishy-washy, girly and associated with babies (although with the rose pink top situation, maybe I should reassess my attitude towards pastels, and maybe even white which I don’t like because I worry about it being see-through).

So. Hopping back to part 2, the words I came up with were:

  • stylish
  • natural
  • practical
  • quirky
  • feminine/tomboy

Let’s play word association:

  • stylish: dark navy blue, inky blue, black, grey, blue-black, very dark brown, white, camel, cream, mint green, goldenrod, sage green, beige
  • natural: uh… much the same, really, but the lighter end of the palette – white, camel, cream, pale greys, linen tones, dark indigo,
  • practical: I don’t think I have any colours for this. If there is one, it’d be black and white, which are the colours I most often need to use for performances
  • quirky: orange, bright red, yellow, a bright spruce green, bluey purples, teal, peacock blue, hot pink, pale blue (with red, not on its own), chartreuse (much of this is about combination though and using prints rather than solid colours)
  • feminine: pale pink, white, cream – low contrasts (for me this is more about feminine shapes and using organic shapes and patterns than colour)
  • tomboy: red, navy blue, black, orange, browns – strong contrasts (more about strong blocks of solid colour or geometric patterns in simple shapes than any particular shade)

If I dig out some samples for each of these, I get:

As for what’s in my wardrobe, among the things I’m wearing regularly (or want to be wearing regularly) there’s currently a lot of assorted dark blues – I’m liking navies and a dark dirty teal at the moment – quite a bit of black, a good deal of red, pale pink, a little salmon & yellow, beige, a greyey beige, orange, some bright spruce green, dark purple. A lot of it’s quite dark, but I’m tending to match up dark bottoms with light or bright tops in this hot weather. I’m still wearing quite a few things that I’m not wild about (faded-watermelon & dark aqua tshirts, I’m looking at you) because the shapes work, or at least they’re still fit to be seen in public.

I don’t have a fabric stash because beginner and broke (literally only 1 piece of red jersey which will probably be used up next week, plus some scraps from recent projects), but things I’ve been trying to avoid buying recently include: a pale grey chambray, dark blue fabric with bright chartreuse, orange and blue frogs on it, a whole range of red and white material with bears/deer on it, a jersey which is orange foxes and red flowers on a dark blue background, and just about everything in the “Atelier Brunette Collection” (not so much their Designer or Couture ranges though, lovely though they are) and a bunch of dark grey/blues, often in combination with various forms of beige/camel.

On to the final stages of the Nita Wrap Skirt today! Yesterday I spent 3 hours in front of the telly handstitching the inside of the waistband down. There’s a lesson learned there – when she says “press down a scant 5/8″” she really does mean “scant”! But it was quite nice work and I watched a movie while I did it and while the first half was a little dodgy, I was managing to make it look pretty good by the end. I tried the result on for Djelibeybi when I got him home last night and he loves it! So yay! Hoping I can coerce him into helping me mark out the hemline today so it can be finished. Then I guess I’ll need to explore the challenging world of fashion selfies, seeing as how he won’t be here to help me sort out the photography bits.


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