Tuesday, 28 February 2017
Fear of Colour
Fear of colour, or discomfort with colour, can be the result of having difficulty making it work. In home decor I think this is usually a result of not understanding undertones and of the challenge presented to us by lighting. My living room walls look slightly different at different times of the day and in natural light compared with artificial light. I find it difficult to choose a paint colour I love in every potential situation but I've managed to get one I love most of the time.
I have never had as much confusion with decorating colours as I have with what to wear because decorating was always purely about what I liked whereas what I wore might make the difference between looking healthy or ill.
With clothing, I was having difficulty finding colours that flattered me and developed colour exhaustion. I had not had good experiences with saturated and bright colours so when I was told in 1984 to wear the saturated and cool colours of the Winter palette I was so put off by them I ran to the refuge of their darkest versions. Darkening a colour does mute it and this made it more comfortable for me to wear them and I just got stuck there. functioning poorly with old beliefs but not knowing where to go next.
Eventually I began to see that the darkest versions of cool colours still weren't doing me any favours. Dark cool colours, and also black, make me look pale and greyish. This meant experimenting but there are plenty of colour qualities to experiment with but I had some biases and misunderstandings that weren't helping me. I tried bright colours and soft colour and wasn't getting anywhere that seemed right.
The second time I ran away from colours I went to softer, muted barely colours at all such as light taupes and greys. I love these colours and they remind me of soft and fluffy bunnies, but they still aren't the best colours for me to wear if I want to glow. The warm grey that works best for me is pushing close to taupe or green. They are safe but not exciting, the colours I might choose for loungewear or pyjamas when I want a visual rest. Turning to taupe, fawn and grey was like clearing my palette before tasting a different wine variety. I was overloaded visually and mentally with trying so many different colour variations and nothing was working the way I thought it should.
I wondered if I would be happiest and best served with just a wardrobe of neutrals, but I realised that even with the neutrals there were good, better, best and I hadn't gotten a handle on that yet.
Black and Neutrals
Many people are choosing to only dress in black for the simplicity and what they perceive to be elegance but black doesn't do any favours for at least half of us. For the same reason I have abandoned black, I have abandoned navy blue; It is too cool and dark to flatter me.
In colour theory only pure white, black and the two combined to make grey are the actual neutrals but in fashion and home decor a wider variety of colours are called neutral.
Sometimes the term fashion neutral is used. In this sense neutral means colours that go with just about everything and let other colours be the star of the show. We think of earthy colours as neutral, browns, greys, dull greens such as khaki or olive, all the beiges and greiges and off whites. Navy blue is also a good fashion neutral as there is little that doesn't look great with it and dark green can work this way as well. Mother nature seems quite aware that every flower colour looks great with green foliage. Many of us choose dark fashion neutrals so the closest to black versions of blue, green, brown and burgundy can function that way. I had tried the extremes, and found the dark colours drained me and the lightest colours washed me out. High contrast of light and dark seems too busy and puts all the focus on the outfit. Neutrals are supposed to make life easier but I was struggling with those just as much.
The struggle was because there are certain fashion neutrals that work best in conjunction with the other colours that belong to a specific palette and best harmonise with an individuals own colouring. I hadn't found my neutrals because I still hadn't found my palette or properly seen my own colouring. I feel a bit foolish now as it seems so obvious, but am reminded that because we see colour in context, I was never seeming myself in the context of my best colours. I had very rarely worn them so they were quite far off my radar.
I Don't Wear Neutrals Much
The True Autumn palette, while certainly earthy, is not really neutral. By definition it's warm, medium-deep and medium-soft. When the colours are all from the same palette they mix together really well and I don't hesitate to combine several colours.
The outfit in the photo at the top of the page includes a darker mustard camisole underneath which shows a little around the hip line because the shirt on top is short. The jeans are not as dark as they look in the photo and are medium denim with a teal slant.
For going out to the store I added these items which increase the colour mix, olive-green parka, teal-blue boots and scarf, multi-striped fingerless gloves. In total and not including the brown of my bag, I wore over five colours combined and loved it.
I achieved maximum grumpy face and stumpy legs with this photo but since the only point was to show colours cropping it made sense.