Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Color Story

I feel like a cat with nine lives.  Now well into my sixth decade, I remember vintage styles when they weren't vintage.  I wore hip-hugger bell-bottoms and peasant blouses in the 70's, power suits in the 80's-90's, leggings (first time around) and color-blocking (first time around) and I did the all-black thing for a while.  I've watched us go extremely casual, wearing pajamas yoga pants in public and I happily embrace a move towards the structure of vintage-inspired clothing.  Oh my, I am happy to be sewing with wovens more than knits, but I digress.

It seems that every decade or so, I find myself puzzled with new trends and I need to figure it out.  Do I like it?  Will my eyes come to see this as fresh and new and interesting?  Maybe! It is good to keep an open mind.

Have you read the Colette Sewing Handbook?  It is a lovely book - I bought it, as I always do, to support the work of contemporary stitching authors.  [I've also bought Amy Butler, Heather Ross, etc over the years].  It is my habit to buy books throughout the year, read them gently and then give them as gifts to my nieces at Christmas.  But this book is so good I am keeping it for myself.  Again, I digress.

Here is that color story again!  

salmon, mint & yellow

So here is the thing.  This is very deliberate.  These designers are choosing these colors on purpose, so I want to understand why, and see how this plays out for me.  It was only in my teens and twenties that current styles felt completely organic to me.  Since then, I confess that it's always a learning experience when unfamiliar aesthetics introduce themselves.
Here the colors are more saturated:
Source: via Marie on Pinterest

and this:

Source: via Marie on Pinterest

Of course, now I start to ask myself "what the ...?  Seriously, Robin, are you going to walk into work; to your cubicle wearing that?!"  Answer:  Perhaps not!  But I kinda like it.

Back to browsing and mulling this over.  It's not new, strictly speaking:

Does the skin tone make a difference?  I think this Marc Jacobs dress looks beautiful on the darker compexion:

Nothing would persuade me to wear colors that feel unflattering, but I would bring these into my life in a more subtle way, like this:
Source: via Robin on Pinterest

or this:

I don't want to know the price of that purse.  It would only put me in a mood.

How about you?  Although I figured out "my colors", in 1987, there is no harm in re-visiting the topic, right?   Yes, I am being just a little facetious.  Just in case you couldn't tell.  Even if don't wear any of the colors in this palette, I still enjoy the challenges presented by ever younger designers.

Hey, wanna win a free dress?  ENTER HERE.


  1. I like colour. Growing up in south Florida my wardrobe was always full of colour. In such a sunny casual place, black looks out of place and a little severe. I remember moving to NYC in the mid 90s and going out with friends on a Saturday night. I seemed to be the only woman out of 5 million not wearing black! I really stood out in my mint green pants, white shirt and peach cardigan (or whatever it was.)
    I looked ridiculously out of place. A real country bumpkin, and I couldn't afford to buy a new wardrobe. On the plus side, I looked harmless and approachable, and I had lots of men chatting to me and offering to buy me drinks. I would have preferred to look more credible to my would be girlfriends though. Aren't women funny?

  2. Browsing through "trends" is a good way to stay current in our choices, but I do think that one's personal style should override the trends. And then there's that "age" thing that keeps rearing its ugly head. Never used to worry about it, but now I really do get hung up on whether something is "age appropriate", yet I balk at looking "matronly" - whatever that's supposed to mean.

  3. I think one should wear colors that are flattering regardless of what is in fashion. Ever since I realized I am a "Winter" back there in the 80s I have understood how uncomfortable I am when I wear colors that are way outside that palette. Pastels of any kind or any color that has a lot of yellow or brown in it make me look sick. So I have learned through sad experience that the peachy pink in your pictures here is just not something that looks good on me. Nor is the ubiquitous white shirt, for some reason. (I bought the Colette book, too. I wish I had a month to do nothing but make each item in the book, just for fun. Someone should do a sew-along ...)

  4. Your first paragraph totally describes my personal fashion history to a tee. How many power suits? Let me count the ways! and that black thing...I think I overdid that one too.

    I find the current return to color and embellishment so refreshing after years of minimalist darkness. We all need and LBD but I have recently seen others making LRedDs, LBlueDs, and am waiting for a green. Love me some color.

  5. Oh and did you see the post on Colette's blog?
    Here styles suit all ages.

    I agree with you, Harriet, I'd love to take a month and sew them all.

    Karin, I had a pair of mint green pants back then, too. honest.

    Irene, when I look at vintage patterns, I am so afraid I will wind up looking like Aunt Bea from the Andy Griffith Show.
    But then, maybe I should just accept that's were I am now!

    Bunny, can't wait to the the LRD you are sewing now. It promises to be a real show-stopper!

  6. I love this post! Especially since I'm of the same vintage, with the same fashion history (although my "power suits" always had an in-your-face sort of twist to them....), and I always had the athletic wear wardrobe filling a fair chunk of my closet. We used to joke that color was EVERYTHING when it came to athletic wear ;-)

    With my new hair color (natural grey-something) I'm currently redefining "my" colors. And still a bit clueless. Color Trends? I'm a bit clueless there too, but I'm OK with that ;-D

  7. I can relate to your color history. I've been there myself. I have noticed lately my wardrobe consists mainly of black, white, gray and red and I'm a SPRING! That is just not good. I'm working on incorporating more colors, but it is hard to get started and know what direction to go in. I'm afraid of being the lady wearing purple in the poem.

  8. Victoria, I am really surprised to hear you say that- you don't strike me as someone who wouldn't know what direction to take!

    Jilly, you make a good point that as our coloring shifts, we need to look for updated inspiration colors.

    Has anyone had their colors "done"? I've seen it mentioned on websites and I would really enjoy the opportunity if I ever cross paths with someone who can do it.

  9. Well into your sixth decade?
    That really surprised me. You look very young.

  10. why thank you, anon. I am 54, so yep, I have enjoyed 5 decades and I am now into my 6th.

  11. "Well into my sixth decare." I think, What? Oh. Well. I am almost 58, and have lived through the same trends.

  12. An unrelated observation, but imagine if they had PhotoShop in Botticelli's time...Marc Jacobs' darker model would be just as pretty without the leg slimming I think...Nice post

  13. I'm trying to introduce more colour into my wardrobe, having lived under the security of black for far too long! I've just discovered fuschia really suits me after trying on a couple of things - it makes my eyes pop and is really flattering! Isn't it amazing the difference when you get the 'right' colour?

  14. Sherry, I can imagine it, just by looking at your avatar. Yes, I agree, some colors seem to set off good vibrations.

  15. you know I love color, and i think those nails / everything you posted here is FABULOUS. How awesome is the makeup on that model with the teal, rust, and gold top? love that lip.

  16. Robin, I'm with you about fearing the "Aunt Bea" look with vintage. Let's not rush that grandma look!

    Jill, I also feel lost in color land with changes in my hair color. I used to be the "Winter" girl with dark hair and fair skin. I loved black/white/fuscia and stayed far away from brown/camel. Now I'm so gray that I have my hair highlighted with a little blond. Makes me look more like an Autumn. I have trouble accepting this and feel confused by it all.

    I firmly believe you should wear colors that look good/feel good -- not succumb to what "they" decree we will all like this year. (Tango tangerine anyone?) Oh ... that must be the '60s art student radical coming out.

    Thanks for posting the fingernails -- LOVE them but won't wear them. It's good to see what's out there.


  17. Nina, I also used to be the "winter" girl and loved black /white and fuschia (forget camel!!)

    I wonder what your color palette should be now? I know so many people who move towards warmer colors as they go gray and it really looks good. The question is, what colors to wear now? We all need personal color consultations!


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