For me it’s all about colour. Not just in what I wear, but surrounding me at home: from glassware to record sleeves; from toiletries to tea towels and when I am out and about: front doors, magazine covers, carrier bags, skies, bicycles, people, food…. colour is all around me, the brighter the better.
My first memory of colour takes me back the early 1970s when I decided (quite rightly) that purple was the shade for me and so, aged 5 or so, I acquired dungarees, dresses, hairbands, tights all in various shades of this delicious, deep, exotic colour. It is still the shade that evokes childhood memories and, as I have grown up, I feel warm and protected by it. That is exactly what colour can do. It can give you a good day or it can give you a bad day. For the record, my all time bad day colour is black, even typing the word ‘black’ makes me feel empty, cold, bored, blurrghhhh. I just can’t be bothered with it, I have tried to befriend it over the years but it’s having none of it, it saps the life out of me and makes me feel invisible and irrelevant. All because of the colour noir. Who’d have thought it? (I also panic at the sight of pill box red, anywhere other than on my lips or nails).
So, now you know what colour can do for me. What can colour do for you and how do you get it right?
I vaguely remember, back in the early 90s, getting my colours ‘done’ and being told I was summer, or winter or was it May or September, who knows. What I do know is that it’s just as important to avoid the colours that drain you, as it is to find the right colour palette. By the way, that’s the same with hair colour too, get it wrong and it can drain the daylights out of you, so find a good hair stylist and stick to them like glue. Once you know this (and by all means go and get professional colour advice, there’s loads of stylists out there offering this service) you have the foundations for enjoying colour and having fun.
I carry a colour palette in my head at all time (for fashion and for home styling) and it goes something like this:
Blue is my black and my default on most occasions. This colour spans from navy, through all the denim colours (from stone washed to indigo), royal blue, powder blue, electric blue, but I stop at turquoise, I can’t wear it so I avoid. From blue you can accent in all directions but winners include the orange palette (coral, neon, pastel) and pinks (soft, neon, bubblegum).
Grey is my black too, from charcoal (which pretends to be black but is much kinder to my skin tone) to light cotton greys, it makes the most wonderful friend to neons and pastels and blues……
Orange. Such a colour of the 1960s and so intense, it cries out for pairing up with navy, chocolate, bottle green and greys. It is my friend on many an occasion and great too with golds and metallics.
Earth tones: in this group I gather up colours and wear them as a team, so you will often see me in tans, browns, bottle green, soft pinks, creams, plum. Worn mixed up, it gives a lovely boho/70s feel and is any easy one to put together on days when you are feeling a little more subdued.
Then the trick is to bring colours together and for this I need to take you back to your O Level Art days and remind you of the complementary colour wheel: purple & yellow, blue and orange, red and green. I am not suggesting you start colour blocking like a clown, but knowing that navy and orange work well, or that pale blue and coral work well, can guide you with your colour choices and what your accent colours options are.
In my next issue I’ll talk about prints, textures and cuts. Get that lot right and you are onto a winner. I will leave you for now, go off and discover colour in all it’s glory.