Stripes, Patterns, and Colours; Oh My!
Everyone has heard the old saying, "black is slimming." Black is also classic, easy… and sometimes a little boring. You are going through a wonderful transformation! Why not celebrate with colours and patterns? Clothing is one of the few things you can use to visually express yourself to the world.
Some things to consider: What colours do you like? What hues flatter you? Colour has a big influence over feelings – a vibrant colour can wake up your senses, a pale colour can be calming.
Getting a consultation can help you figure out which colours will clarify your skin and enhance your eyes and hair. Some people look better in earth tones, some look better in jewel tones, and some better in pastels – typical colour groupings are warm, cool, deep, light, clear, or soft. Colour consultations are available through Image Specialists, personal shoppers, or free online services.
You can also do this with a friend – hold up swatches against your face in natural and artificial light. See which colours make you look pale and tired, versus the ones that make you look awake and vibrant. Monochromatic dressing (all one colour) can have the same slimming effect as an all-black outfit, without the blah of black!
Combining colours is another way to be expressive with your style. Colours should compliment, but not necessarily match. Think of a colour wheel when creating combinations, as well as the undertone of the colours you are combining. Look at colour combinations in the world around you – in nature, in magazines, in art – and try out ones that you find appealing. This could mean different tones of the same colour, or contrasting colours. Don't forget that every colour goes with neutrals (denim, black, tan/khaki, navy, olive green, brown, grey, white, etc.). Think of the neutral as the foundation of the outfit, and the colour as the accent!
Choosing a pattern or stripes is another great way to get different colours in your outfit - fabric manufacturers have done some of the work in colour choice for you! If you have a larger frame, the rule of thumb is to avoid tiny patterns and horizontal stripes. The exception - using a small pattern or horizontal stripe as an accent (like the shirt under a jacket or sweater, or a scarf accessory), or if the pattern is a classic (like houndstooth or plaid). Horizontal stripes draw the eye across the body, and can make you appear wider. Stripes in a chevron (arrow) draw the eye to the centre and down, making you appear slimmer. A vertical stripe elongates the body and makes you appear taller. Although some designers are showing mixed patterns on the runways, consider having one focal pattern paired with a neutral.
However you colour it, life is more than basic black. You are dynamic and in transition – express yourself!