Colours accross the world – what to wear when travelling for business?
Take a moment when you are dressing for work to consider the colour/s you put on and what image that portrays. You may need the boost of confidence from wearing your favourite red dress and you want to project a bold image to the world.
We don’t all interpret colours in the same way. When travelling accross the world it is worth keeping in mind the key colours to avoid or wear for particular occassions.
For instance, traditionally South Africa red is a colour of mourning and in Thailand it is to be worn on Sundays. This website lists some cultural colour meanings and as they say these are traditional meanings but things change in cultures and it is worth doing some research if you are going on a business trip.
When designing a piece of clothing a designer must consider it as part of an outfit. This outfit has to look visually ‘right’. Making an outfit look ‘right’ usually includes balance and points of focus. In my previous blog post I discussed the length of sleeves and balancing out the body. I’m going to look here at how colour placement can influence the eye.
Visual balance in art and design can often be achieved by using odd numbers.
In art there is the visual triangle where objects or people are arranged to create an invisible triangle shape. There is also the use of placing 3 areas of the same colour to draw the eye through the painting. Take a look at the painting below – the blue pulls your eyes accross the painting and the balance of 3 blue areas is visually harmonious. There is almost an invisible triangle joining the three blue areas.
This principle is also applied in graphic design, interiors and fashion.
Look closely at this lovely interior created by firm Gauthier Stacy
You can see the candle sticks are grouped in 3:
This is an example in fashion styling as a way of creating a visual triangle and pulling the eye through an outfit with 3 points of colour. Ralph Lauren uses orange sandals, a handbag and a jacket to create this grouping. You could use a belt, bag and shoes to create a grouping of 3 colour points or perhaps a necklace, jacket and belt.
It can often be a placement of one that is the odd number. It can be a piece that creates a focal point – pulling the viewer to a point you want them to look at or just adding a pop of interest/colour.
This can be done through styling on a catwalk or in your personal styling but you can also add pops of colour as part of an integral part of your fashion design.
This week black and white skirts have been catching my eye. A black and white patterned skirt is a great piece for your working wardrobe. It has such versatility; you can probably accessorise and pair it with various different items you already own.
Don’t forget to choose a skirt length and shape that suits you. It’s best not to just jump in and purchase just because you love the skirt and the pattern (a note from personal experience!!).
You purchased a black and white skirt. The next step is to asses your wardrobe.
1. The first option is a styling option that has been recently trending: mixing pattern with pattern in one outfit. This doesn’t have to look crazy but it can be harder to find a good match of items. It’s best to use a larger scale pattern on one item with a smaller scale pattern on the other. A pop of colour added to the mix can lighten the look.
2. Pull out all the blouses/shirts/tops (in one colour) you have for work. Now put the skirt on and try it with each of the coloured tops.
What do you think? Do you like yourself in that colour put with the black and white skirt?
In this example I have matched the bag to the shirt to unify the look.
3. This is the most straight forward styling option. Select all the grey, white and black tops/blouses/shirts out of your wardrobe and try them on with the skirt. Sometimes a style of blouse will go better than another. Until you get them on it can be hard to say. To brighten this look it’s nice to highlight parts of your outfit in a colour. In this example I’ve used a belt, shoes and nail varnish but you could use different items. Try a coloured jacket/cardigan, necklace or bag instead.
Well, probably not if your work place is very corporate and has strict guide lines.
I’ve selected some of the easiest black alternatives to get you started, if you want to and can, branch away from black opaque tights in your work place/office!
Navy is a good place to start if you are looking to branch out from black opaque tights. Navy is still very neutral, smart/professional and corporate. I like the way Jean at Extra-petite.com styles navy in unexpected ways.
In picture 1. Jean pulls navy through all of the accessories – tights, bag and shoes.
In this picture Jean adds colour (and personality) to her outfit with the bold green coat. Once taken off you have a pretty neutral corporate outfit – a good idea to steal?
In this other outfit navy cover’s a large proportion of the body; the torso and legs.
Because of this, threading the maroon through the outfit in shoes, gloves and skirt works well to balance it out.
Dark grey tights
Another easy step into colour and away from black is grey.
A dark grey skirt/dress and dark grey tights is an easily achievable, flattering and professional look.
Red comes in many shades. Maroon and burgundy which are darker shades of red are the easiest to en-corporate into a work wear look. Demonstrated here, are three ways to approach adding strong coloured tights to outfits and if your feeling super adventurous then you could exchange the red for another bright colour!
1. Wear an all black outfit with your coloured tights. The contrast is bold but not too crazy!
2. Here the maroon colour has been selected from the dress and matched with maroon tights. Matching your tights colour to a colour in a pattern is an easy way to style an outfit so it is coherent. It is not always easy to find the exact match in colour
3. Grey is a softer neutral than black and can be a nice complimentary colour to red tights.
I’m always surprised when I mention an artist like Matisse and someone has not heard of them. I’m probably so absorbed in my own little creative world that I don’t realise that others are not so interested or have not been exposed to such delights.
If you, like a friend of mine, have not heard of Matisse, 2014 is your opportunity to find out about him.
The Cut-Outs is Tate Modern exhibition filled with huge works that Matisse created in the last seventeen years of his life (He lived from 1869-1954).
You’ll see a video of him cutting the paper with his huge pair of scissors. You will be amazed that he cut three out of his four blue nudes in one single movement/cut from one single sheet of blue painted paper.
There is a table with swatches of all the colours that he painted the paper with – such beautiful colours. Seeing the brush strokes first hand and close up is not something I expected from his Cut-Outs nor was it something I thought that I would find so exciting and interesting. In books I guess I presumed the paper was already that colour (not painted by Matisse).
I was stunned by the size of some of his work – you really do not get a sense of this from pictures of his work in books.
Due to his limited mobility in these later years of his life he turned to this paper cutting technique. It was totally new and fresh and to me it feels as though someone could have been displaying these pieces as current new art works.
Matisse’s lack of mobility and declining strength seemed to only increase his ambition and scale of his cut-outs. He decorated the walls in his house with his cut-outs. Creating a natural world inside that he could no longer be part of outside.
Whether you know Matisse from his earlier works or you do not know him at all, this is a beautiful must see for all.
Summer is edging closer and Spring keeps raising it’s pretty face with blooms and blossom and the occasional warm spell. Is your wardrobe feeling a little tired and in need of something that makes you feel in the Spring Summer spirit? I’ve been putting away the large knitwear pieces in my wardrobe and getting out the spring summer pieces. But what I think I actually need is a fresh colour. A bright colour that complements your skin tone in an easy to wear shape can update a wardrobe with ease.
So for me, I’m of course going with one of my own collection pieces; the Eloise dress from my Riviera Collection – this is an easy shape to wear as well as style in a variety of ways for different occasions.
I’ve had a look around and other brands are doing some bright colours for Spring Summer too. I’ve picked out some bright dresses in some lovely easy to wear shapes:
If you can’t bare to go all bright but want to freshen up your wardrobe try adding a bold print into the mix:
Grey can look very professional for work. You need to pick the right grey for you. A very dark grey could be perfect or it could overpower you. A pale grey could work wonders or could wash you out. As with all colours you need to see them against your skin tone and preferably in a natural light.
A friend with an honest opinion helps and you can compare different grey’s against your skin tone.
A sales assistant who tells you the truth is worth her weight in gold – ask her opinion, get her suggestions and show your appreciation. All sales assistants should be honest (but this isn’t always the case), if you get home and you hate it then you’ll just take it back, a waste of everyone’s time.
Adding colourful accessories could work just as easily with a grey trouser suit.
The colour you wear has an instant impact in a first impression, a meeting and a presentation.
It doesn’t need to be a full coloured outfit – accessories work just as well. Choose one colour, for instance, purple.
You can add purple in a variety of areas of your outfit:
nail varnish, purse, handbag, cardigan, shoes, scarf, belt or jewellery!