On colour-schemes

I’ve been thinking a lot about colour over the past year-and-a-bit. Maybe you’ve noticed? I’ve posted blogs on my colour-scheme planning, and M&B Patreons got lots of my musings about colour seasons and wardrobe colour-planning. I’ve even got a whole Pinterest board of ‘Warm Autumn’ inspiration!

I was still ending up with outfits that I thought would ‘technically work’ but I still felt ‘bleh’! I was using colours from my Warm Autumn palette, and combining the colours in a way that the colour wheel thought should work… But not having any joy.

Waikerie Shirt
Above, a pink linen Waikerie Shirt and pink linen Glebe Pants, both Muna and Broad patterns

Often reading doesn’t lead to a huge amount of comprehension for me, so when I read through this blog about True Autumn wardrobes on the Concept Wardrobe I didn’t get a huge amount from it. Months later, I’ve had some ‘aha’ moments and realised that what I felt like I discovered for myself, was actually what I read here months ago but didn’t fully comprehend.

My face is pretty low contrast (if you exclude my rosacea cheeks, which can look very high-contrast at times) and I was trying to make outfits with contrasting colours work for me. It wasn’t until I pulled together some photos of my favourite combinations, that I realised that most were analogous or monochromatic combinations. Basically, I was most enjoying ‘dressing like a crayon‘ or dressing like several crayons which were all sitting in a similar area of the box (which is much less catchy).

Apreon 2
Above, M&B Glebe Pants, Tarlee T-Shirt (under a RTW sweater) and the Patreon Apron!

Above, not ‘instagram showstopper’ outfits, but two outfits that I liked A LOT! Not that I’m wearing my Patreon Apron out-and-about, but I loved the way it paired with the similar colours in my outfit. Right back at the top, there’s a picture of me in a dusky pink shirt and bright pink pants- not a combo I thought would work, but one that I’ve come to love (and repeat a lot)!

The pink on-pink or ‘shades of brown’ or ‘stick of butter’ dressing makes me feel purposefully dressed, put together, but also comfortable- like I’m not being worn by my clothes.

What I didn’t comprehend

From the Concept Wardrobe, True Autumn

Instead, select colours that resemble each other in hue or value. You could, for example, opt for a monochromatic look and combine different shades of one hue – such a light olive green with a darker olive green. Or you could combine neighbouring hues with the same level of darkness – such as a medium orange with a medium peach. Another option is to pair a darker neutral with a lighter accent colour.

From the Concept Wardrobe, True Autumn

Above, colour combo examples and the exact phrase that I read but didn’t really understand. There’s a lot of jargon words in there, and I’m not very good at visualising colours in my minds eye, so this washed over me like so much information does. Not helped by the fact that I thought the colour examples given looked pretty awful to me. Certainly not colours I had a lot of (or wanted a lot of) in my wardrobe.

So, that’s my long story of how reading is tough for me, and now I have a current working hypothesis. Basically, exactly as the Concept Wardrobe predicted, I most enjoy monochromatic and neighbouring hue outfits, or analogous and monochromatic combinations for my Warm Autumn/True Autumn face.

But, I’m not just going to be dressing like a stick of butter for the rest of my life. I also enjoy some contrast but where the majority of the outfit is one of low contrast (like my blue Belmore Jacket with an otherwise pink combo above).

Merchant and Mills quilted fabric

What now?

The ‘yes, and?’ question. Basically, the point of all of this for me is to make clothes that I enjoy. That I can pair into combos that I love, that make me feel great, and make me feel very ‘myself’. For so much of my life, what I’ve worn has been dictated by what was available in my size. In my late 20s, I had a black and white capsule wardrobe of clothes that were on the fancy end of workwear style, because that was easy and available (I mean, I still did a lot of hunting for those pieces).

My hope is that by narrowing these things down, I can give myself structures which I can apply when I’m thinking about buying fabric, pairing fabric with patterns, etc.

The good news? I’m pretty sure my forthcoming toffee brown and dusky pink corduroy pants will be real wardrobe workhorses that pair with lots of my existing wardrobe and make me feel great!

3 comments

  1. It takes so much to really integrate new color concepts. I hate the idea of monochromatic anything, but that’s because I think of it as boring uniform, boarding school clothes. But I love your pink and pink outfit! So there we are, I think I would love a light acid gree top with my olive pants. Thanks for the inspiration 😁

  2. Hi from Colorado, totally confused after using several color analysis sites. One major factor is missing……pure white hair. I’ve been blonde, red, dark brown…and each needed a different wardrobe….off my soapbox…
    I really wrote to tell you the dark red pants with the red print shirt, is my favorite of your outfits. IMO it looks casually classy 😊

  3. Thank you for sharing this! Im loving seeing your colour journey. I’m the opposite, high contrast and reading through on the concept wardrobe link helped confirm things that I felt but could never explain, like not wanting to wear ditsy prints and loving bold contrasting colours together. So basically the opposite! Although on the surface you would think we’re similar as fair white women inclined towards rosy cheeks!

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