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Fashion Sense - cellophane
the story of an invisible girl
renniekins
renniekins
Fashion Sense
I don't make a very good "typical girl". I don't have much of an "eye for color". I'm not especially good at making matching outfits, and I guess my fashion sense isn't great either. It's not hideous, mind you, and I have lots of cute clothes...I just sometimes have trouble figuring out what goes well with what. It's the colors that throw me off.

When I was in high school, I wore mostly black, so it wasn't a problem. Everything goes with black, right? In college I still had mostly black, plus a bunch of blue jeans and t-shirts. Even, I think, a pair of khakis. But just about everything casual goes with jeans and khakis, right? (Please don't tell me otherwise. It's too late anyway.)

When I entered the work force, I couldn't afford much. I had a couple of nice suits, and a bunch of mix-and-match stuff in various shades of black, gray, and white. That wasn't hard to coordinate.

When my office went to casual dress, I was back to jeans, black pants, and khakis, with whatever blouse or sweater I felt like wearing above them. I still basically believed that everything went together, more or less.

Recently though, I have been venturing into the world of color. I'm not sure why, aside from the simple fact that now I like color. This creates all kinds of challenges for me! I now own business pants in the following colors: dark green, wine-red, and dark brown (plus still black, khaki, and denim). My wardrobe is nicely broadened, and I have more interesting clothes, but I am open to all sorts of error now.

For example, I used to believe that brown was much like black and went with everything. Awhile ago I wore the new wine-colored pants with a sweater striped with various shades of brown. Apparently (at least according to my sister) these did not match. It looked okay to me though...I don't know! Aren't brown and wine sort of shades of reddish? Isn't that okay? I don't know. Now of course I am very paranoid.

I recently bought a pair of corduroys in a rich dark chocolate brown. They look so pretty...but I'm not sure what is safe to wear with them, aside from other brown things. And even that is questionable. This morning I put them on, and I pulled out a nice top that was, well, I think the color was dark burgundy? Dark reddish-purple? I stared at myself in the mirror for quite awhile. Did I match? Was I committing some fashion error? Both were dark colors, and almost similar...perhaps too similar, I decided. Especially after the wine-and-brown fiasco from before. I took off the top, and switched to a lighter reddish top. I'm still not sure if I actually match, but it looked more likely to be acceptable.

Nobody has said anything to me yet, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything. For one thing, I work with a bunch of computer programmers (like me). For another thing, most people are too polite to say anything to a person's face. It's what they're whispering behind my back that I need to know! Maybe I'll ask my sister. Sisters are good for being blunt.

Like lots of people, I have been recently watching and enjoying the new tv show Queer Eye For The Straight Guy. I thought about that as I studied my colors in the mirror this morning. If only there was a Queer Eye For The Straight-But-Kinda-Clueless Girl, that would help solve my problems! Or, if there was a hotline I could call, to find out if things match and I'm dressed presentably. I suppose it'd have to be a videophone really, or a place I could email pictures. That would be helpful, at least on the mornings when I have time for coordinating my clothing.

But for now...does anybody know? What goes with brown? Is dark burgundy okay? How about light reddish? What do I do with my wine pants? My green pants? When are my purple shirts safe? All these colors are scary. After work, at least I can stick with tie-dye to fulfill my new color obsession. Everything goes with tie-dye. Right?
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Comments
radiantsoul From: radiantsoul Date: August 28th, 2003 02:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
I wear a fair bit of brown.

I think it goes very well with a pastel blue shades. Generally pastel shades are the way to go. It can also work well with white. Grey can work quite well too.
radiantsoul From: radiantsoul Date: August 28th, 2003 02:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Also you need to spend a lot of time checking out what other people are wearing.
estarsign From: estarsign Date: August 28th, 2003 02:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
When all fashion sense fails, just wear a white or off white shirt with your colored pants. Or a black one. Either way, everything is supposed to match those colors. :)
ectv From: ectv Date: August 28th, 2003 02:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
I tend to say as a basic rule that anything "cool" goes with black and white, and anything "warm" goes with brown and cream.

Wine could be cool or warm depending on how much red and how much blue. A purply/bluey wine goes ok with black but not with brown. A warmer reddish plum color goes well with brown though.

Yellow I would wear exclusively with brown, cept I don't wear yellow because I'm irish. Doesn't work.
Reds that are warmer go well with browns. cooler ones that have more bluish cast go better with blacks.

Blues and greens pretty much its safter to stick to blacks...but there are some blues and greens that go well with brown, but that takes a good eye.

Oranges/peaches can be worn with black (because black does go well with everything) but look better with a good brown most of the time.

Pinks do well with browns too.

Basically it depends on the shade of brown and the tint of the color. But anything that looks like you could stir yellow into it goes pretty well with brown. If it looks like there is a bluish cast to the color (reds, greens, blue, purple) keep it with blacks and greys.

Honestly, the best colors to match browns easily are NOT other browns (tone on tone = bad mojo) but creamy colors. If in doubt...brown & cream is like white and black :)
jenx From: jenx Date: August 28th, 2003 02:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
If you're wearing one tone (i.e., dark) you want to wear something that's a different tone, for contrast. You could wear tan with brown, or light blue, or cream, or even a *printed* top, with a touch of the brown color in it but that was mostly pinks or blues.

Purple goes well with black, but even better with a lighter shade in the same family. Your best bet? Buy a color wheel at an art, craft, or fabric store. It should have a diagram in the center that points to different colors in different ways - a line, a triangle, or a square. Colors in the same family but a different tone go together, as do colors *opposite* each other on the wheel (but make sure you do one lighter and one darker for contrast.)

As a rule, colors adjacent to each other don't look good together, such as red and orange, or blue and green.

Brown, gray, navy, and black are seen as "neutral" colors, and can suppor brighter colors with them - but be careful with brown and navy, as you need to wear "warm" colors with brown, and "cool" colors with navy.
anderale From: anderale Date: August 28th, 2003 04:16 pm (UTC) (Link)

good point

I was going to bring up the warm vs. cool colors issue. That is where the wine with the brown doesn't work.
swerve From: swerve Date: August 28th, 2003 03:58 pm (UTC) (Link)

erring on the side of neurosis

I'm a redhead. I wear black, white, beige (from off-white to brown), and green. And jeans. I have a few rebellious burgundies, but aside from that, I'm remarkably color-free. Please consider this state of mind when reading my code.

The others are right about cool tones and warm tones staying together. Don't break this rule.

Khakis are an essential part of life. I can't think of a color that goes badly with khakis, unless I consider colors which don't belong on me, or on anyone else, for that matter. Some restrictions apply.

When the pants are a funky color, tone down everything else.

Don't mix darks (navy, brown, black, charcoal). And no reds with browns.

Sometimes I look like a cater waiter, but I always match. Your mileage may vary.
guingel From: guingel Date: August 28th, 2003 07:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love brown, and usually combine a lot of browns (my new skirts, for one thing) but, as people said above me, you can wear quite a lot of things with brown. I would avoid bright purple--maybe a lot of bright colors. Brown is a nice, muted, mellow sort of color, I think. Like eating chocolate, or being in nature (cos of the trees and the dirt and other brown things ;)

Of course, I do also have a weakness for heavy contrast--although not in clothes so much, but that's because I don't have very many clothes. But like, I like dark brown with light pink, although it sounds strange. Except then you also have to consider what kind of clothes--like, a light pink shirt will look better with a brown skirt or something more feminine.

Also, I know that my sister, who believes she has excellent fashion and color sense, and I, who might have some claim to color sense from art classes (ehh), often disagree (actually, I often disagree with her--she doesn't know this). So I think a lot of it is just personal--what you think looks good and what you like. I wouldn't worry about it too much. (as I go on and on about color matching--just ignore me!)

Mmmm, dark brown corduroys sound great! I want a pair! Burgundy and dark brown sound good together, but if they were too similar it was maybe a good decision to change. One thing I don't like is when people wear things that are allllmost the same color but not quite. Like, you want them to match exactly, but they don't? Of course, I feel the same way about two slightly different blacks, so I probably take it a little far, but I do try to avoid things that are too close in color.

Of course. . . I wear almost exclusively jeans and t-shirts, so, I'm not sure what I'm talking about. XD
guingel From: guingel Date: August 28th, 2003 07:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
actually. . . I was looking at these pictures and these backgrounds (that last one is a very large image, by the way), as well as this drawing, and I realized I have a definite weakness for using similar colors. But they only work when you're using a whole bunch of them. Like, 5 different shades of brown or something. Other than that, well. . . you can probably use those first two pictures (made when i was fooling around with the colors in an oekaki program) as a guide--if the colors are less than, say, 4 colors away on the scale, you might not want to wear them together ;)

They look nifty all together though, don't they? I especially like the brown one. It looks like some rock face--or Jupiter's surface!
hannunvaakuna From: hannunvaakuna Date: August 28th, 2003 10:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
i'd take anything your sister says with a grain of salt (;
From: blueskies131 Date: August 29th, 2003 02:58 am (UTC) (Link)
i see everyone has giving you alot of good advice. i was going to try to exsplain it but i don't think hearing it again is neccesary. the only thing i can add is that when i go clothes shopping i try to buy my pants and then i match a shirt to it. but it sounds like your shirts are one solid color. i usually get shirts with more than one color in them and make sure that one of the colors is the color of my pants. then i know i can't go wrong.
figure_skater From: figure_skater Date: August 29th, 2003 10:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sorry, I can't really help you all that much over the computer, I'm a very visual person and I'd need to see the outfit to tell you what it looks like. But asking your sister sounds good, I have one myself and I have to agree...they are very blunt!
I have to comment once again, that for a computer person, you are an amazing writer! I love how you explain things, it's really fun to read. :)
jeffreyab From: jeffreyab Date: September 1st, 2003 10:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'll have to come over sometime so we can go shopping and place Dress up Renniekins.

I have some thoughts about the topic ;)
mariegraham From: mariegraham Date: September 2nd, 2003 08:35 am (UTC) (Link)

clothes

Prepare for a long rant- this is a topic I love! First rule is, you always need the third piece. That may be the only rule, actually. So when you have on a shirt and pants, you are NOT DRESSED YET. You are dressed when you add the third piece- a vest, a jacket, or a scarf. Scarves and vests are my favorites; they store easily. So, take the pants, and find a patterned scarf that has that color in it- just a little bit. Now look at the other colors in the scarf. Any other color in there can be used for a shirt or sweater, and it's guaranteed to look good with the pants and scarf. Tied together, in the best kind of way. The patterned scarf or vest will also make cream or white or black shirts look like you meant to do that, as opposed to choosing clothes based on proximity and cleanliness. With any luck, just by always choosing colors you like, the scarves and vests will all go with several things you have, and make mixing and matching easier.
I feel like I've just been channelling my mother and my grandmother, but they are right.
Hugs,
Graham
theuglyvolvo From: theuglyvolvo Date: September 3rd, 2003 04:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have this same problem! My sister was born with the gene that makes you know how these things work but I, sadly, am missing it.
There are colorblind people who can put an outfit together better than I can.
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