The Arts of Mixing Colors In Your Outfits to Express Your Personalities
Is it just me or everyone is similar in how we want to express our personality through our clothing? Well, to me, there is a specific relationship between what I wear and how I want to look and feel on that very day or moment. And whether I am good at it or not, styling to express one's personality is not a straight forward task. In fact, unless you are a seasoned fashionista, styling is not a natural skill nor is it an effortless task. At least, it is an activity far from being easy to me, but I don't compromise when it comes to having ways to express myself. So, today, I want to start a mini series about a crucial element in styling and that is the idea of mixing. But before diving into this topic, I want to briefly note what styling is to me.
Styling to me is about putting together pieces of clothing that serves one's need of outfit for a particular time, place, and mood. We usually sum it up these components of time and place requirements in the word "occasion". And conventionally, we usually dress for a certain occasion, whether it is for work, party, or specific event. But to what extent you include mood in your styling rests on how much you emphasize your own personality in your style or styles. And of course, we all have a great personality to ourselves and we love to share that personality to the world, or at least, to people we deal with in our daily living or casually run across in our daily lives. And when we dress to highlight our personality, we are embracing ourselves and live with authenticity, in the broadest sense of the concept authenticity.
And when it comes to expressing our personality, it is never about one single-sided personality. It is always plural, fluid, and in multitude of dimensions. That's how complex we and our personalities are. So, how do we go about expressing these few or many sides of our personalities? One approach is mastering the arts of mixing!
FIVE MODES OF MIXING
There are many ways to mix clothing when styling to express your personalities. Since the Sensibilitie vision is much about expressing oneself, one's identity, and one's personalities, I am all for the idea of including mood in mixing and styling our clothing. Note that I use the word "clothing" here in liue of "fashion" because I am an advocate of the concept of "trendless passion" instead of time-based fashion. You could read more about this discussion in my past post here.
Mode I: Mixing & Matching Colors
It may be obvious to many of us that mixing and experimenting colors into our outfits is one of the best ways to command mood in our styles. So, what is the big deal about mixing colors? Well, one issue some of us may have is that mixing colors may not be an easy task, and in most of the situations it is a task that requires more time and thinking to pull together the right look. And to some, mixing colors is always a risky task if one is not keen to the color wheel, or the inner logic of complementary colors. As a result, some choose the "safe" side and end up with wearing a predominant color very frequently. Remember that gal who is dressing in black color most of the time? Well, in fact, I was such a gal back in my college years whose closet has mostly black colored items. (Of course, it is not to say that black is not a color. It is. It is a color that many will choose to use for professional settings since wearing darker tone does yield a more solemn and formal attire.)
So the problem remains: Even though mixing colors including the neutrals black, grey, white, and beige is the most basic way of mixing personalities in your fashion styles, it could be a challenging task for some. And in my opinion, it is quite unproductive these days to use the color wheel such as this one below as a guideline.
So, let's dig a bit deeper into color matching. There are at least two levels of skills in using colors. The basic level is color matching between two colors. And to apply that skill, one just need to know those complementary colors and faithfully follow those color schemes as shown in the above color wheel. That is, blue goes well with orange; green matches well with red; and purple pairs well with yellow, etc. Well, that is the basic idea. And the problem with this level of color-matching is, it is too basic for the contemporary style that has become very sophisticated as a result of the brilliance of new technology in color production, textile complexities, and pattern variations.
So to elevate color matching of complementary-color sets to a higher level, I will use the following list which I found a decade ago to provide a more comprehensive guideline for color-matching and color mixing with multiple color-schemes. (Unfortunately, at this time of writing I regret I no longer find the original source to credit the producer.)
What I put together below are the images of all the colors that match well with the first color being underlined. Then, to illustrate this color-mixing with actual clothing, I provide an outfit to most of the following colors to serve as example of how these colors under discussion go well with one and another.
Light pink matches with shades of browns, mint green, tan, olive green, gray, and turquoise.
In this outfit, the pom-poms pink top is the star of the show, and it is being matched with a darker turquoise skirt (or a dress underneath the top). And what makes this color-matching so brilliant is how it deviates a little from the exact match of pink & turquoise combination. The darker tone of turquoise-blue tones down the girly features of the pom-poms and balances out the playful top with an elegant lace skirt/dress at the bottom, making this outfit a brilliantly fun, festive, elegant and sophisticated one.
Dark pink or fuchsia matches with shades of browns, mint green, shades of yellows, lime green, and gray.
In this outfit below, since fuchsia contains plenty of color in the dress already, it is best to match with accessories in shades of browns and grey. The neutral hues of browns in the scarf and clutch bag harmonize the bright tone in fuchsia and creates a subtle balance of colors.
Tomato red matches with mint green, creamy white, baby blue, and gray.
Red is the richest color and it is best to pair with at least one neutral color such as creamy white or gray. Try a basic top and a gray purse. And to add a little more spark of color to complement the red trench coat, pairing a mint green scarf or a light blue one will make your overall outfit pop with a lively energy.
Wine red matches with light yellow, shades of blues, gray, and light orange.
This solid wine colored red dress and teal blue coat match well with a blue-toned scarf with decorative print such as the one below to add more interest to the outfit.
Light brown matches with light yellow, shades of blues, purples, creamy white, shades of greens and reds.
Dark brown matches with lemon yellow, baby blue, mint green, light purple, and lime green.
As a short clue, overall, brown goes well with blues. Lighter brown goes with lighter yellow, and darker brown such as the cardigan matches well with brighter yellow.
Overall, tan is a very easy color to pair since it goes with many shades of blues, greens, and purples. This is a color that could almost never go wrong. Here, I pair this lace tunic with light pink scarf and a clutch bag in purple tone. For the spring and summer, this same lace tunic would pair well with shades of lime green and darker green.
Light orange matches with gray, forest green, shades of browns and cherry red.
Dark orange matches matches with pale yellow, forest green, shades of browns and cherry red.
Overall, orange goes well with darker tone of greens and browns. This outfit below brings out both the earthy tone plus a touch of warmth.
Lemon yellow matches with cherry red, browns, blues, and gray.
Light yellow matches with fuschia, gray, browns, tan, reds, blues, and purples.
Golden yellow or mustard usually goes well with most shades of reds and grey. You could use a neutral grey bag or scarf to tone down the bright contrast of these two colors.
Lime green is a cheerful color that is perfect for any upbeat occasion. If you have a piece that has more casual features it it such as the dress below, pair it with a darker blue jacket and a brown scarf and it could easily be transformed into a semi formal style.
Olive green matches with tan, browns, grays, creamy white, and black.
Mint green matches with brown, gray, navy blue, reds, gray, and tan.
Turquoise matches with fuschia, cherry red, tan, browns, creamy white, dark and purple.
Electric blue matches with golden yellow, tan, mild brown, gray or silver.
Light blue matches with reds, gray, browns, and dark orange.
Navy blue matches with light purple, tan, brown, gray, yellows, oranges, greens, reds, and other pastel colors.
This dress in a dark blue tone consists of complementary shades of tan and oranges. This dress alone demonstrates how colors work to command a particular mood.
Lavender is a romantic and feminine color. For those who don't want to appear too girly, balance it with a masculine jacket in dark green tone such as the one shown below. You could also add a piece of accessories in dark orange to complete the look. As the experts say, always add the third piece in your outfit.
Even though purple is a romantic color overall, darker tone purple could make one appear to be moody. So, to balance this strong mood out, pair it with a tan dress and a piece of accessories in mint, light orange, or turquoise color to lighten up the overall outfit.
Color matching and mixing is just one way to style your personalities into your outfit. I will be writing in another post the second mode of mixing your fashion pieces.
Blog post written by: Hong