Thursday, March 29, 2007

Two Colors...

Did you know that you can coordinate an entire wardrobe around just two colors? Of course, most of us would like a little more variety in our wardrobe. But, if we choose two colors as a base and add a dash of another color here and there, we will have the makings of a workable closet.

Way back in 1981, Janet Wallach wrote a book describing how to put together both an everyday wardrobe and an evening wardrobe using the two color system.

Janet's emphasis was for the newly emerging working woman of the early eighties. Even so, her color schemes work for the woman who works as keeper of home, as well. Creating an at-home wardrobe that is centered around two colors -- three at the most -- will help you save money in your clothing budget and time when it comes to getting dressed.

I bought a used copy of Janet Wallach's book for a very small sum. Some of the information is a little outdated and reflects the fact that this was written nearly three decades ago. Even so, much of the suggestions are timeless and are still useful today.

Here are a few of the color combinations Janet suggests. Note that some of these would also work in a two-tone decorating scheme for your house:

blue-gray/pink (You knew I'd start with that one; didn't you?)
gray/mauve (And, could this one be far behind?)
black/true red
Navy/Green (This one comes in and out of popularity on a regular basis. I especially remember that navy worn with Kelly green was exceptionally popular when I was a child in the sixties. It was favored by girls and women who enjoyed preppy or classic fashions. I think it always looks fresh and classic).
navy/white or winter white
black/white or black/gray
Burgundy/winter white (looks especially fabulous for "dressy" outfits)
Forest Green/Ginger Brown
sky blue/pink
blue/ivory or winter white
olive green/rust
brown/blue (comes in and out of style -- becoming popular again in home decorating, so probably is in fashion for clothing now, too).
blue/pure summer white

Here's some choices Janet lists that aren't my particular cup of tea. But, that's just me. You may love them.

steel gray/eggplant
purple/red (hugely popular in the 80's)
gray/brown (It looked beautiful in her illustrations, because she centered everything around a couple of print items that had gray and brown in them. But, imho, that would be a hard combination to put together today. If you can do it, though, go for it!)
steel gray/khaki
greige/ivory (Maybe, I'm just not a fan of "greige")
black/blue (never worn in 70's, hugely popular in 80's and early 90's'; Black has become such a neutral nowadays, I think anyone can get away with this combination if they so desire. I've been known to wear it, myself. But, I'm not sure it's best for your main wardrobe pieces).
brown/beige (actually looks fabulous on some women and boring on others. Know thyself when choosing colors).

As I said, this is just a sampling from Janet's lists of colors. Please excuse me if I've jotted down any color duo twice.

There is something in this list for every woman's personal coloring. Imho, when selecting a two-color scheme from the above choices, consider the following: 1) The colors themselves: Is at least one of the colors in the duo extremely flattering to me? If so, its likely the duo will work for me. (If the color is flattering to you, chances are it is because it complements your warm or cool skin tone). In fact, if one of the colors is flattering and it's paired with black or brown, it may be a bridge for me that will expand my wardrobe beyond the boundaries we associate with seasonal color theory. 2) Is the level of contrast between the two colors too weak or too strong for me? Do I have delicate coloring? If so, a strongly contrasting color scheme, such as black and red may not work for me. I may need to go to something softer, such as light gray and pink. On the other hand, does a very neutral level of contrast, such as beige and white, wash me out? If so, I may need to look for a duo that includes at least one rich or one deep color, such as brown and rust.



Julieann said...

Hi Elizabeth:)

My husband likes black--so I would pick black and white with touches of pink.


Elizabeth said...

Hi Julieann,

I can tell from your photo that you would look good in black.

Here's an idea I heard on a board about French style that I've been toying with:

wear black, gray, and pink with lots of wrap tops, cute skirts, and ballet flats -- the idea is to look like an "off duty ballerina".