Wardrobe Renos by Kay: Blog and Business

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Outfit Colours: Is Three a Crowd?

I was wracking my brain as to where to start with my goal of providing practical information for you to look fabulous and classy in accordance with Coco Chanel's quote "A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous". As I strive to write weekly blog posts, my intention is not to only show you what works, but why it works.

So let's start with colours. How many colours should an outfit contain?
Is there a minimum? 1 :)
Is there a maximum number of colours and at what point is too much and why?You can have as many as you'd like but then your outfit may look like disjointed instead of having a cohesive/united look. Dictionary.com describes an outfit as "a set of ... harmonious garments". Like with a musical piece an outfit can quickly transcend from being harmonious to noise!

In terms of everyday wear, I would say that four colours is the limit, unless of course a fabric has more than three colours, and always with the assumption that these colours match. However, my gut tells me that it's better to stay safer with three colours and/or shades of colours - more focused & balanced. And once you're more comfortable you can play with adding a shade/variation of one of the colours.
So let's look at some examples of what works and what doesn't work.

Created by m2mel/Polyvore
Springing into Glitz (solid colours)
What a fun and simple outfit! Fun for the weekend but could be a classy work outfit by substituting the black shorts for black pants (capris or full length). All the colours blend in so nicely with the chunky silver jewellery as a strong focal point.
1. Black
2. Silver
3. White
And yes, sometimes silver/grey can be interchanged with white.

Canadian Budget friendly versions:
1. Black Shorts:
Shorter:H&M 14.95
Longer & more appropriate for dressing up: H&M 29.95
2. Silver ballet shoes: Payless Shoes $24.99 (I have a pair of Dexflex and they are so comfortable!)
3. Silver Necklaces:    Chunkier Reitmans $12   Less Chunky/floral Reitmans $14
It's really challenging to find a chunky silver necklace that makes a statement!!
4. Bracelets:  Chunky & feminine  Icing $12 , set of 16 silver bangles Icing $14.25 Right now at Icing they have BOGO 50% off

*If you don't have one colour e.g. silver, substitute it with another colour, but keep it to 3 colours.
*You could always use black shoes and add bracelets, earrings or a purse in a 3rd colour.
*Silver jewellery classifies as another colour unless you already have a grey or silver item.
*Dress it down a bit by wearing a plain white or cream t-shirt, top or sweater.

Flowery & Feminine (3+Colours in Pattern)
This top emanates Spring! Its bold reds and defined print make a very strong statement. Beautiful neckline with a tapered waist that makes it a sweetly feminine.
1/2. Dark red (edges and centres of flowers) which could also appear as black if other black items were worn with it
3. Lighter shade of red/pink  (each definitive shade even though it's in the same family as the darker red I'd classify it as a separate colour
4. Cream (as per their description but looks more like white to me)
5/6. Very small pockets of green and orange

So since this top has 3+colours, my recommendation is that other pieces you add to this outfit is one of these colours/shades like they have done here - they have added the white pants, which creates a very crisp, classy look.

*Black Pants: You could easily swap out the white pants/shorts/capris/skirt for a black equivalent. In this case with the dark red being so dark you can use it to your favour, so that when you pair black with it, you will see black while still having the red. Black bottoms will still create a very classy look. And if you want to dress down the outfit a bit you could always wear dark wash jeans in place of black pants and still obtain a very chic look.
*Red/Pink Pants: In theory you could use one of red or pink shades but it will probably have to be bang on and should maintain the same shape as these white pants. It might be a bit much, but if you love lots of strong colours and you match them - it could be a fantastic outfit!
*4th Colour: You could pull in either green or orange as a 4th colour but I"d probably use it sparingly e.g. as bangles or earrings.
*Shoes: Again, choose shoes in one of these shades: dark red, black,lighter shade of red/pink or white. For a more classic look your shoes should be the same colour as your pants e.g. assuming you're wearing white or black pants. If you are wearing shorts, a skirt or capris so that you are showing bare leg, nude coloured shoes are also a great option. Assuming they are the same colour as your skin, they don't "count" as another colour because they blend in, and the great part is that they'll make you appear taller. :) You could probably get away with a cute pair of ballet shoes or something in a heel, whether open or closed toe, but make sure they're very sleek versus being chunky.

Where you can buy the top & suggestions for other items:
1. Chiffon Blouse in a flower print: RW&CO $50
2. Slim Leg Cream pants in 7/8th length (I believe these are the same ones photographed with the top)  RW&CO $65
3. Boot White pants (I think white would work with the top). And for someone whose weight sits on her hips, a boot cut is much more flattering than a slim leg cut)  Gap $69.95
4. Black capris - I love this wider bottom which again is suitable for women who are more conscientious about their hips. And the cuff just finishes them off so nicely. I haven't tried these miracle type pants but have found that Rickis' pants fit well: Cuffed Hem Miracle Capri - Ricki's $49.50
5. Open toe sorbet (red?) patent pump shoes: I believe these are the ones photographed with the pants -  RW&CO $90
And shoes may be comparable in colour and style to the RW&CO ones but with a closed toe - Women's Coral Kortee Wedge Sling Payless $27.99
6. Centre Faceted Stone Earrings (dark red/black) Laura $7.99 These are versatile. So whether you are pairing the top with black or white pants/bottoms, they will chameleon accordingly. If you're going to wear jewellery I suggest you wear earrings and bracelets at the most. Since the neckline is so high and exquisite you don't need a necklace. If you do place a necklace my concern is that it will compete instead of complimenting it. However, in saying that a short white/cream pearl necklace that sits only on the skin may work.
7. Stone & Crystal Border Stretch bracelet (dark red/black) Laura $11.99

Floral Flurry! (Too many colours and one too many patterns)
Ok, let me just start by saying that this woman/model looks stunning and she can actually pull off this look, especially on paper, but if you were to see her on the street would you think the same thing - maybe??

1. One Pattern too many: Typically when you have a pattern, whether it's 2+ colours/shades, it wants to be THE focal point, and to have a fabulous outfit (unless you're a model showcasing the latest styles), one pattern is about the max. I'm sure someone could prove me wrong, but this is the norm.
Duplication of colours/shades exists in the scarf and pants, but even if we had no new colours by adding in the 2nd piece, the additional pattern is too distracting.
Colours in the pants (let's focus on the pants since patterned pants tend to be the rage this season):
1. Dark pink
2. Light pink
3. Dark green
4. Bright orange
5. Cream
6. Beige
Without the presence of the scarf I absolutely love this outfit - it's light, springy and fun!
The basic cream top and tapered light beige jacket draw these colours out of the pants and create a very sophisticated look. The gold bracelet mixes well with the beige family, and the pink belt is a cute addition.

1.Scarf: I'd either ditch the scarf for a more delicate necklace in one of the colours - likely a light pink or switch out the scarf for a solid colour e.g. orange or pink.
2. Shoes: You could again pull in gold shoes, which will become part of the beige family, as long as they're more subdued, not too glitzy. Or again, wear a pair of sleek open or closed toe shoes that showcases one (or two) colours in the pants.
3. Top/Jacket: This combination with the cream top accompanied with the slightly darker but still very light beige top is beautiful. However, feel free to replace the cream top with solid top in one of the pant colours. As for my personal preference I"d probably stay away from the green because it might be a bit overpowering, but if you choose a green, make sure it's the same shade of green that's in the pants.  And whether you choose a jacket or not is your option. It certainly dresses up the outfit.

I was going to give another example, but I think I've said enough for today :)
Have a super week!




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