Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What I Think About--Wearing Colors

Are you guilty of wearing one dominant color?  Is black your thing?  Maybe you are like me and you tend to lean towards "earthy tones" (which is fancy talk for "I wear a lot of browns").  Go look in your closet right now.  Is there one color that dominates (and is it really a color or, as I suspect, a neutral)?

Anyone else think it's time we break out some color? Be bold--be daring!  It's easy to do if you know some color tricks!

Look at the color wheel below.

Okay, so hopefully we all remember that the primary colors are red, blue, and yellow.  Secondary colors (which are made my mixing primary colors) are purple, green, and orange.  Color basics.  Check.

Now, how can you wear color?

  1. Go with a monochromatic look.  Monochromatic means "one color."  On the color wheel above, find one color--say blue-green. There are roughly 9 levels of blue green. You can mix ANY of these levels and look good.  They go. Trust me.
  2. Wear complimentary colors.  Complementary colors are directly across the wheel from each other: Red/Green, Blue/Orange, Yellow/Purple.  Mix and match complimentary colors.  They go.  If you don't want to be too bold (like if you want to wear blue and orange but don't want to look like a Denver Broncos fan, move in on the color wheel.  Wear peach and cornmeal blue.  It works.)
  3. Wear color wheel neighbors.  Yep, if you wear colors next to each other on the wheel you'll look great.  They harmonize.  
  4. Wear primary colors.  These are bold and look great together.  However, make sure you wear only 1-2 of the colors dominantly and one of the colors as a highlight or else you'll look like a clown.  For example, wear blue-jean shorts with a red top and a yellow belt or bracelet or a yellow dress with navy shoes and a red bag.  Another option is to wear softer versions of these colors: blue jeans, light blue top, maroon jewelry ...
  5. Make your neutrals pop!  Brown, gray, black and white are generally regarded as neutrals (though really gray is the "real" neutral).  You can pretty much make anything look hot with neutrals.  If you must wear a brown tank top and khaki capris, make it pop with an eggplant purple woven scarf and yellow shoes.  
What rules am I following here?  #3 and #5.  Blues and Greens are color wheel neighbors and I'm making my neutral brown pop. You can't see it by my necklace is has brown, jade, and turquoise beads!

Some color warnings:

  • Figure out if you are a Winter, Summer, Autumn, or Spring complexion and dress accordingly.
  • Know what colors you look good in and wear a lot of them.  If you have a "summer/winter" complexion (pale skin and dark hair or dark hair with light eyes) you can probably pull of bright reds and pinks (not so great for "fall/spring" complexions like me!).
  • If you are a summer/winter gal you can also wear black really well.  If you are a fall/spring gal (dark eyes, mousy hair) stay away from black--it makes you look sallow and those circles under your eyes just look darker. Sorry.  (P.S.  Summer/winter gals, it really ticks me off that you get black.  Oh well, at least I can have brown.)
  • Fall/Spring girls think "jewel" tones.  Jade, peridot, amethyst, deep turquoise, garnet--these are great colors on us! (In the photo above I'm rocking a jade shirt and a turquoise bracelet).  
  • Summer/Winter gals think icy and bold--fuschia, mint, navy.

A basic understanding of the color wheel=color wearing success!


  1. Awesome advice! I'm defintely scared of color. I know that I shouldn't be, so I try purchasing different colors and they end up never being worn, because I like to stay in my comfort zone.

    Maybe this spring I'll be brave and try something new! :)

  2. Thanks for this posting! It's just what I need as I'm heading out to try and do some dreaded shopping (dreaded b/c it's for myself and not the kiddos!). I'll have to try and remember some of these suggestions!

    ~ alicia :o]

  3. Great post! I used to be SO guilty of only wearing black and brown after having my first child. I felt so blah and just wanted to hide! Thankfully I got over it by baby #2 and honestly have a very equal mix of colors. I LOVE spring time and all of the bright clothes that come out. Like a breath of fresh air! And, I love that outfit you have on in the pic! Super cute!

  4. Are your shoes in this picture black? Do you wear black and brown together? I thought that was a no no.

  5. Anonymous,

    My heels are a delicious chocolate brown--but they do look blackish here.

    It is okay to wear black and brown together SOMETIMES (I mean, who hasn't work a black shirt with khaki pants??). Check out this link:


{Reverse Psychology}
I DO NOT like comments. Whatever you do, don't leave me a comment about this post or your thoughts or any connections you have to what I wrote. Seriously, I don't care.
(Did that reverse psychology work???)