Wardrobe Renos by Kay: Blog and Business

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Outfit Colours: How to Know Which Colours Match

So this week we are going to continue with the topic of colours and build on last week's topic of the maximum number of outfit colours. I had made the assumption that we knew how to match colours, which isn't always an easy task. And especially in the last number of years I believe we have colour combinations in clothing that we haven't seem to have in the past e.g. browns with blues and browns with pinks (I'll have to do a blog on historical colours at some point :) ).
So, in saying that, it's sometimes hard to know which colours match.
A couple of key resources to determine if certain colours match:
1. Copy colour matching examples from photos of outfits in magazines, pinterest.com, polyvore.com etc.
2. Use the colour wheel (use the known colour harmonies/chords)
We will focus on the colour wheel today. First we'll talk about some fundamental basics, and then discuss how to apply that knowledge and a most lovely tool to choose outfit colours.
*Sir Issac Newton created the first colour wheel or colour circle in 1666
*Most common colour wheel is the 12 colours wheel based on the RYB (Red Yellow Blue) colour model
*Matching colour combinations, also called colour harmonies or chords consist of 2+ colours that have a fixed relationship on the wheel (so you can apply that relationship to any colour and have another colour harmony/chords
*The colour wheel consists of primary, secondary & tertiary colours:
             *The primary colours are red, yellow & blue
              *The secondary colours are orange, purple & green. Each of these second colours is created 
                by mixing two primary colours. Orange (red & yellow), purple (blue & red), and green 
               (blue and yellow).
              *All of these colours can also be termed as pure hues

  *The colour wheel becomes much larger once you add varying degrees of white, black, grey to   
    these 12 colours/hues.
               *Tint: a pure hue made lighter using white
               *Shade: a pure hue made darker using black
               *Tone: a pure hue with grey to create a new tone          
               *A tint, shade or tone is classified as being either warm or cold. Warm colours exist on
                  one side of the wheel and they tend to be more vivid; cool colours exist on the other side
                  of the wheel and have a calming effect.
              *Neutral: White, black, brown &  grey.  They are neither classified as being warm nor cool.

So now that we know that the colour wheel consists of pure hues, and variations of those hues, which are either tints, shades, tones, or neutrals we need to understand the colour chords/harmonies, or we can use a wonderful tool that applies those harmonies to a tint/shade to provide us with matching colours. However, I will provide an explanation of each harmony so you understand how it is being created and will reference a couple of sites containing more detail.
KEY POINT: What you do need to know is that ALL neutrals (white, grey, brown, &  black) match ALL of the 12 hues and their variations (tints/shades/tones).

This amazing colour matching tool is at colorexplorer.com.
*You can either choose a colour from one of the colour libraries or import your own photo containing a clothing item etc. With your imported photo the software will identify the colours in the photo (keep in mind that they'll be close but may not be exact). j
*Then using your colour you will go into the "color matching" section" to view colours that match your colour. There are about 5 colour chords or colour matching algorithms for you to choose from. Each algorithm provides you with about 5 matching colours.

Let's do an example:
So let's say you find this beautifully elegant solid blouse (Silk Blend Mock Neck Blouse, Le Chateau $29.99) that has a divine neckline. And you don't know what colour(s) to pair with it.
*One additional colour: You could pair it with bottoms that is in a neutral colour e.g. browns, whites, greys, or black. In this case they have paired it with white pants.
*If you'd like a 3rd accent colour, turn to the color explorer to generate colours, one of which you may use. Some of your accessories could be in this colour e.g. shoes, jewellery, or handbag.
Le Chateau.com
*I downloaded this image from Le Chateau's site onto my desktop. Then I opened  colorexplorer.com, (I believe you must create a user account to be able to save the palettes to your palettes and subsequently to do the colour matching etc.) clicked on  "MY PALETTES" , then clicked on "Image Color Import" and uploaded the image into Color Explorer.
*Color Explorer presented me with about 10 colour palettes - some probably related to the skin tones, another for the white pants, and three blue ones for the top (that pick up the lighter and darker spots based on how the light is reflecting off the top). I clicked on "Save in my Palettes" to save this series.
*Then I went into "SAVED PALETTES" and clicked on  "Image Import" to rename this series of colours to "LeChateau Mock Neck blouse".
*I clicked on one of the 10 colours  and selected "Load Palette" which will load all the colours into your "CURRENT PALETTE".
*I went back into my "CURRENT PALETTE" and clicked on all of the other 9 colours to delete them with the exception of the middle blue, which seemed to be the true colour (you can have more than one colour in your current palette; when you go into "Color Matching", you have to select the colour you want to match).
*I then clicked on "Color Matching", and since I only had one colour, it showed me my one colour along with 5 other matching colours, using the default color matching algorithm "ColorMatch 5K Classic". My favourite colour that I would use as an accent/3rd colour with this outfit is this beautifully rich purple (RBG:144/89/153) found using the analogue algorithm. I can't seem to import the colour image so I'll try to find an accessory with this item :)

Gemstone Encrusted Multi-Drop Earring (purple) Le Chateau $25.00   This is a good resemblance of the purple in color explorer. Although these also have white/clear stones, if you're wearing the top with white pants, and even if you were to wear the top with another neutral bottom e.g. black, you'd be adding in white as a 4th colour, which probably would still look great!
  (I must note that Le Chateau described this top as being "grey" but I think it looks blue - hopefully the top is actually this rich blue that we see in this photo).
 You could also use this tool if you have an item that has a pattern with two colours, assuming one of the colours is neutral e.g. white, grey, brown, or black. And you would either upload your photo of the item or choose the colour from "Color Libraries" (I really like the "TRUMATCH" library) and apply the colour algorithms to the non-neutral colour.

I absolutely LOVE this site! Have fun with it and I'd love to know what new colour combinations you'd come up with that you might not have on your own.

 Info about the color algorithms on the site. I believe all of these algorithms are standard with the exceptions of the "ColorMatch 5K Classic" & the "ColorExplorer-Sweet Spot Offset"which I believe Kim Jensen, creator of Color Explorer developed.

Analagous: Uses colours that are next to each other on the wheel.
Complementary: Uses colours that are opposite to each other on the wheel.
Triadic: Uses colours that are evenly distributed around the wheel
Split Complementary: Is a variation of the complementary color scheme. It uses the colours on both sides of the complementary colour.
Square: Uses three other colours in addition to your chosen one that are evenly distributed around the wheel.
I haven't detailed all the recommendations around how to use these. If you want more information take a look at the tigercolor.com link below.

Have a super week! For the next blog we'll talk about how to know which colours suit you - there are a couple of different approaches we'll look at.


Kay :)


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