Hi gals! It’s a new week and a great day to start a new style series here at Dressed for My Day. I get so many questions about how to create stellar outfits. And I think all of those questions, no matter how they’re phrased, boil down to one question. How can I look more pulled together? So I’m starting a little mini-series in which we will discuss how to look oh so pulled together. But instead of throwing too much at you in one post, I’ll address different aspects of creating cohesive, flattering and pulled together outfits from various vantage points in each post.
Today, let’s talk about using color to create cohesive outfits. There’s more to putting together great outfits than just matching up our favorite colors. Plus, have you ever put together an outfit in colors that should go together, but somehow the outfit just doesn’t come together? I certainly have! So let’s learn how to use color to create the looks we desire.
In this little mini-series I’m going to try to keep the posts short and easily digestible. I don’t want to throw too much at us at once. Plus, I want us to be able to take action on these tips immediately. So rather than feeling overwhelmed, I want you to feel equipped to make a few simple changes immediately and get results.
If you enjoy today’s post, be sure to share it with friends. Girlfriends help girlfriends look more pulled together!
Using Color to Create More Cohesive Outfits
Now keep in mind, these are simply tips for using color to create the most visually pulled together looks. But really, there are no rules. In fact, I did come across a few outdated rules about color. Things like don’t pair brown and black. What? Don’t wear navy and brown. Huh? Don’t ever match up black and navy. Well, that one certainly requires a little practice and skill, but you absolutely can wear black with navy!
So forget about those rules. I’m not going to suggest rules. Also, I’m not suggesting you follow all of these tips with each outfit you create. In fact, you’ll find that some of them contradict each other. So pick and choose.
Color Tip #1 – Make it your goal to create a harmonious look instead of an interesting look.
There’s nothing wrong with occasionally creating an interesting look, one that keeps eyes busy taking in “all that’s going on here.” But if you really want to be immediately perceived as “pulled together,” make it your goal to create a harmonious look.
A harmonious look is simply one that is easy on the eyes. All the colors are playing together nicely and without any conflict or dissonance.
There are no universally right color combinations for achieving harmony, but if you’ll make harmony your goal, you’ll be more likely to spot it when you see it. Also, I find it helps to be a student of what appears harmonious in nature and fine art. Start taking note of the color combinations that are pleasing and restful to your eyes.
Color Tip #2 – Choose to wear colors that are easy on the eyes.
Generally, we find the colors of nature to be optically restful. I think that’s because we have a Creator who knows what our eyes (which He also created!) can look at for long periods of time without strain.
So, for most of us, those “easy on the eyes” colors would include the green of leaves and trees, the blues of the sky and sea, the browns of earth and rocks, and even the blacks, whites and greys we find throughout nature.
Again, I’m not saying to never wear reds, pinks, oranges, yellows or violets, which are also found in nature in lower doses. But remember that these colors are more vibrant and excite the eyes rather than giving them rest. I think that’s why God planned for these colors to come and go with the seasons, while blues, greens and neutrals are with us throughout the year.
Color Tip #3 – Wear one, two or, at the most, three colors.
If your goal is to look pulled together, resist the urge to throw in all the colors. The more colors you wear, the more busy your outfit will look. And the busier your outfit is, the harder it is for someone else to take it all in optically.
That’s why a monochromatic look is oh so chic. Think of it as simple math. Wearing one color is like squaring or cubing a one digit number. Easy peasy blue2 or brown3. Putting together two colors is a simple, pared down equation. 2 + 3 = 5. No problem.
But adding that third color is like adding another step to the mathematical equation. 2 + 8 x 4 = ?!?!? The eyes search for what to focus on first, sometimes getting a little confused.
Adding a fourth, fifth or sixth color? That’s the equivalent of a word problem! Some people love word problems; others hate them. The same pretty much applies to outfits with multiple colors. Some people will love it; others, not so much.
So if you just love lots of color, go for it! But on those days when you want to look really pulled together – say for a job interview, a wedding, an important presentation – pare your outfit down to one, two or three colors at the very most.
Color Tip #4 – Wear colors that are next to each other on the color wheel.
Most of us are pretty adept at matching colors up that are across from each other on the color wheel. These complementary colors definitely “match.” I’m talking about pairings like red and green, orange and blue or yellow and purple. But these matches add interest and energy. They keep the eyes moving.
On the other hand, analogous color schemes created from colors that are neighbors on the color wheel, offer more nuances while retaining the elegance of the monochromatic scheme I mentioned earlier. These looks appear a little more sophisticated and fine-tuned.
I think it takes a little more skill and practice (and I’m still working on it myself!) to create looks with neighboring colors on the color wheel. But when you get it right, these are the outfits that look most “pulled together.”
Color Tips #5 – Bookend your look with the same colors at the top and bottom of your outfit.
Even if you compile several garments abiding by one or more of the tips above, you can end up with a look that is disjointed somehow. You’ve pulled together all browns and blues – just two colors taken from nature – but somehow the eyes still don’t know where to land. What’s up with that?
You may simply need to bookend your outfit by wearing the same color up top and down below. You could wear the same color of:
- shoes & earrings
- shoes & scarf
- pants & earrings
- pants & scarf
- shoes & jacket
- shoes & top
This simple bookending technique works somewhat the same as a frame around a piece of art. It provides the borders and helps the eye know where to focus.
So Pulled Together!
I hope you enjoyed today’s So Pulled Together post. The plan is to have one of these a week until I’ve exhausted all of my ideas for pulling together great outfits. How does that sound to you?
Thanks so much for reading. I hope you have a lovely, stylish day!
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Blessed for My Day
Yesterday in my husband’s sermon, he unpacked much of Acts 11 for us. But I found great treasure in one little morsel he shared about Acts 11:2, a verse of seemingly small significance. A group in the church criticized Peter for, among other things, eating with converts who had not been circumcised. They criticized him.
James explained that the Greek word used for “criticized” inferred three actions. They alienated Peter, made him feel alone and isolated in his actions. Ouch. They also judged him. They held his actions up to the litmus test of their own opinions and traditions, nothing more. Finally, they condemned him. They deemed him a failure at worst, a rebel at best for having behaved in a way that they found unacceptable.
When we criticize other people, we do the same things. We draw a line between them and us. We hold them up to our own measurements and deem them unacceptable. Let’s be careful and wise to resist this temptation. None of these three actions are godly and all of them are dangerous.
So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party criticized him… ~ Acts 11:2