Friday, 20 August 2010

Colour Conclusions

If you already had the dubious pleasure of reading my recent post over at the Colette Patterns blog, you’ll know my brain space has been partly occupied by considerations of colour. This is a facet of my proposed new more grown-up approach to sewing in which I theoretically think things through before leaping into a project with the aim of producing more successful and wearable garments. I’m planning on making guidelines, rather than inflexible rules, on what colour fabrics to head for so that some cohesion reins and each garment suits my complexion and colouring.

Having identified myself as a ‘Woman of Winter’ (!), I was interested to learn that apparently the types of colours that allegedly suit me best are generally the ones I gravitate towards anyhow. (Sometimes it nice to receive affirmation that you were right all along!.) Bright, clear and strong colours apparently complement the contrast of my fair skin (with blue undertones) and dark brown hair and muted tones (which I developed a mild aversion to some years ago), for reasons deeper than my present understanding, do nothing for this contrast.

Using the knowledge I’ve gleaned from hanging out with myself for thirty years I have concluded that the following colours should be firmly represented in my wardrobe:

  • Black. I currently have only a couple of black items and feel I could do with some more of the cool and adaptable qualities it can bring to the party.


  • Navy. An argument could be made that navy beats black for the title of ‘most versatile and classy basic’ and I doubt I’d be one of the objectors (can you imagine how such a tussle would be staged?!). Pre-garment cull I had a considerable dose of navy in my wardrobe and I would like to re-administer this over time.


  • Red. At the tender age of 19, two mates and I (all with very different colouring) tried on the same red dress that we all fell in love with, but none of us could afford. We all looked pretty good, but even though I was arguably the less attractive of the bunch, I believe I rocked that dress the hardest due to my colouring. In a similar vein to Gertie (another ‘Winter’, I believe) red has since become one of ‘my colours’. However, in recent times I’ve inexplicably kept it below the belt, which is something of a missed opportunity upon reflection. By 'red' I mean from ruby shades through to tomato red/orangey shades, even perhaps going over to the coral side of the street: they're all welcome.



  • Turquoise (or whatever you prefer to call this colour). Fashioned into potentially world’s most amazing shoes as seen in the picture below (actually, I’m pretty sure the MOST amazing shoes in the world would probably feature little anchors somewhere), this colour can be devastatingly awesome when paired with red (see above).



  • In no way will my future creations be limited to these colours alone, but these will be the backbone of my wardrobe. In fact I’m becoming increasingly fascinated by people’s relationships with colour. How do you decide what colour fabrics to sew? Is it purely an instinctual thing, or have you had to sit yourself down at any point, have a good think about it and make some decisions?

    17 comments:

    Trixie Rocket said...

    Funnily enough, I've been thinking about the colours I want in my wardrobe too, and these are spookily similar to the colours I picked - navy, turqoise and red.

    Mary said...

    Hi Zoe, I am another winter but have grey hair now. We spend the winter in the Southwest desert camping...not in a snowbird park but camping off the grid. While my wardrobe could just be hiking clothes, I like to add in some comfy knits and cute jackets for trips to town and chatting with rangers or Border Patrol.

    I laid out most of my fabric stash last night and I have 2 colorways:

    maroon, mauve, pink, corals
    and...
    teal, navy, blues, greens

    There are some pieces of lilac which I love but will probably save for a spring dress.

    Since I have all that taupe "grandma fabric"-it will serve as a neutral along with the navy.

    Alana said...

    Ooo... I don't know what "season" I am but I sure want all those items you picked out :)

    lenarrd said...

    I think I'm in love with those shoes.

    Lately I've been buying a lot of black and white because of my job - and I need black and white for September!

    But mostly it's just whatever takes my fancy. I don't know which season I am, but I love bright jewel colours that go with my hair - so we're talking bottlegreen, turquoise, blue, purple... These seem to be the colours I gravitate to the most.

    I also prefer navy as a basic colour!

    Mary said...

    Hi Zoe, I love the little blue blouse at the bottom of your post. Can you tell me where you found it? Is it a pattern? I must have one!!

    Carolyn said...

    Very interesting post, and contrasts with a post the Selfish Seamstress put up recently about the seasonal colour analysis...
    I've noticed you DO look really good in the colours you've chosen. I wish black suited me too, because It would make sewing and matching fabrics so much easier! still, I reckon I'm an Autumn and have finally accepted what my mother has been trying to tell me for years, khaki suits me and I should wear it!

    Uta said...

    Oooooh I love those shoes! I hope your sewing withdrawal isn't too bad... But it's still fun planning, isn't it? My color choices come from three considerations: 1. Colors or patterns I love instinctually. This is usually an intense color family such as greens or reds. I tend to wear a lot of one color family for a couple of years then move on. For now it's bright colors with a splash of yellow I think. 2. Needing visual interest. This year I got a bit bored with all the warm-toned colors I've worn for years so I branched out to blue a bit. 3. Situational colors/patterns. I love some tartan for Christmas etc, and I have a very conservative job (law) where I wear a lot of black, white, gray, other neutrals. I like the change, so it's fine with me (makes for a very mixed closet though).

    BeckyDAZZLER said...

    navy is a colour Im always drawn to. Versatile but very flattering! Also love soft warm greys, any thing polka dot and red as well! x

    Sophia said...

    I have been thinking a lot about the colours I wear too in an attempt to sew my Winter wardrobe, and actually wear it! I found that almost everything I own is a bright colour. Up until a couple of months ago I owned nothing black at all! As you can imagine, this made mix and matching outfits quite difficult.
    However, I am going to college in September and will need to do this in order to keep my wardrobe fresh. For the Winter I am heading in a different direction to usual: steering (almost) clear of blue, as I have so much of it, and wearing more reds, browns, purples and black. I will lighten these for my age by embellishing with lace and pairing them with bright tights.
    It is quite different to usual but I am looking forward to the change! Hope yours goes well too!

    Fourth Daughter said...

    That red dress is fabulous - but as you say, there are many different shades of red. I don't know what my 'season' is and it sort of depends on the light... being half Asian I sometimes look really yellow and other times tanned and other times white. Whatever, I always go for stronger colours - in Melbourne you can never have too much black, but I like to go against the grain and rock red and turquoise like you too sometimes!

    mahaila said...

    Yeah, I think about colour A LOT! I find that I spend a lot of time looking through fabrics trying to 'feel' how I might be able to utilise the fabric for a certain garment which I have in mind. I am currently searching for a certain green which I need to go with my magenta stockings... sometimes I feel like it is impossible to find the perfect colour.
    I have found that recently I have used a lot of reds and navy blues. I don't know what that is saying...

    Interesting to find out which colours are suitable for individuals.

    Love the blog and your thoughts. thanks for sharing your creations.

    Becky said...

    During the earlier part of this year, I spent some time re-evaluating my wardrobe and my style as a whole. Season-wise, I'm more of an "autumn" than anything else, and I've noticed over the last couple of years that earthier tones, especially brown and cream, have been increasingly creeping into my wardrobe. But I also tend to go with just colors I like-- lots of shades of blues and greens (though not pastels-- I don't like them and they make me look washed-out), and a good amount of black (classically-trained musician....it's a habit). And then there are the colors I avoid like the plague, mainly pink. I also noticed that I love my summer wardrobe the best with its brighter colors, and my winter wardrobe tends to be kind of drab. So I'm hoping to incorporate some richer colors into my sewing this fall and winter to brighten it up!

    Fitz said...

    hey, zo, where's the navy dress with the white buttons from? is that a pattern or a ready-made? va va voom.

    naughty little pony said...

    The colours that attract my eye where fabric is concerned are hardly ever the colours I feel like wearing. If I pick something I want to wear I don't end up wanting to sew with it. There must be some middle ground somewhere..
    The colours you chose are definitely you!

    rubyslippers_86 said...

    I remember doing this exercise at a deportment class when I was about 14 and my mother thought I needed to learn to be a lady lol. It has actually stayed with me but I must admit I have most made my choices based on whatever jumps out at me, untill recently after reading A Guide To Elegance, in which Genevieve Deriaux suggest choosing a few shades that suit you for each season and a neutral so theoretically all your items should go together.
    As I am one of those women always in front of the wardrobe with nothing to wear I thought it might pay to give it a go!

    Angelic Cow said...

    Your colour choices are very nice - I think you could also consider chocolate brown (which looks awesome with red and turquoise).

    I pick the colours I will sew with on a whim, they don't always suit me, or the outfit but it is what I felt would look best at the time.

    Funnily this causes the issue where people will say that my work on Mavis the dress form is awesome but when I am in it not so much.

    I know my colours (red being the signature) but find it hard to avoid the pretty other colours and patterns that look horrid.

    I want a yellow dress, even though yellow makes me look like I have been drained of life essence and blood by some vampire.

    Zoe said...

    Thanks every one for your comments and for sharing your thoughts on colour.

    The images I used in this post are ones I've saved as inspiration over a couple of years and am not entirely sure of the initial source, hence no links. However:

    Mary, the turquoise blouse with white collar I believe is from Anthropologie.

    Fitz, the blue dress with white buttons I think is from this site:
    http://www.stopstaringclothing.com/

    all the best xxx

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