Posts Categorized: reader requests

Reader Request: When Matchy-matchy Makes Sense

matchy matchy

Reader Patricia had this request:

I know you mentioned a little while ago that soon you’d write a post about the benefits of matchy-matchy — yes please! I’d also love to see that expand into something about the different attitudes and situations when matchy-matchy works, as opposed to more contrast (if that makes sense?).

I must’ve been born too late, friends, because 50’s style matchy-matchy STILL makes more sense to me than looks that “go.” Pretty much across the board. I feel that matched accessories create unity and visual harmony, and that striking the right balance of complimentary but different accessory colors is often more trouble than it’s worth. Two matched accessories total is a good cap – when your belt, shoes, bag, and earrings are all the same color, it can get a little overwhelming – but those two matched accessories are like outfit bookends. Neat, harmonious, unifying.

Since that is not the current preference, though, I’m happy to suggest a few times when matching will trump going:

If your outfit is retro-influenced

Since this is a practice born in a bygone era, vintage and throwback outfits are the perfect time to employ it. Anything that hearkens back to the 40s through 60s will make visual sense with matched accessories. Not a requirement, obviously, but a choice that will seem natural.

For formal occasions

This is a personal preference for me, and I’m not sure how others will feel. If I’m getting truly dressed up – like just-shy-of-ballgown dressed up – matching accessories feel sophisticated and appropriate. I’m unlikely to do complementary but different shoes and clutch if I’m fancied up.

When you’ve got three solid colors at play

If your outfit already includes three (or more) colors, introducing accessories in multiple colors or tones will make things look a bit chaotic. Use matched accessories to create cohesion.

Whenever you need visual unity

Even if you’re not wearing three solids at once, you may feel like your outfit isn’t hanging together quite right. This often happens with print/pattern mixing and outfits that contain juxtaposed genres (moto jacket and tulle skirt), but it may surface unexpectedly in any outfit. A little bit of matchy can fix you right up.

Aside: If matching your shoes and belt or belt and bag doesn’t appeal, try matching your shoes and earrings/necklace. Naturally, this works best when you’re doing colorful shoes, but it’s a great, subtle way to bracket your look with harmonious accessories. And feels more modern and less matchy to many women.

NOW. In terms of matchy clothing? Matched sets are extremely trendy right now, but I think this is a trend that’s still evolving. I honestly don’t know what to say yet because the matching that is happening is rather suit-like: Top and skirt in the exact same print. I think if you were to do a scarf and pants or skirt in the same print, it wouldn’t fit within this particular trend, but might still look appealingly retro. I’m curious to know what you all think.

About matchy in general, too! Do you prefer to match a couple of your accessories? Absolutely never match? What are your personal guidelines and tips?

Related Posts

Reader Request: Color Pairing Inspiration

color pairings

Reader J had this request:

I know you’ve talked about it in the past, but I’d love some more advice on how to get inspired about new color pairings.

Mmmmm, color pairings. Even though I’ve shifted to neutrals myself, I still love a colorful, visual feast and seek out inspiration to help my clients create bold color mixes. Here are some resources and tricks that I use:

Pinterest

I hoard color-pairing inspiration on this board, but find that following a few fashion- or design-focused pinners is a great way to unearth unexpected combinations. Grown and Curvy Woman is a color fiend and has a color-focused board. The Perfect Palette pins lots of event-related groupings, but those can be repurposed for outfits, too.

Design Seeds

The subtitle of Jessica’s blog is “For all who love color.” Design Seeds offers photo-inspired palettes that can be used in home decor, outfits, graphic design projects, just about anything. Most are heavy on the dusty shades, but a few go bold. Subscribe to this blog for daily inspiration.

Scarves

I’ve mentioned this several times, but am delighted to have a chance to call it out again: Printed, multi-colored scarves are a fabulous tool for palette creation. The person who designed the scarf put a lot of thought into its colors, and you can reap the benefits by looking at the grouping and pulling out individual, solid colors. Assemble an outfit from those solids, and add the scarf to tie everything together. Or don’t – just use the palette as outfit inspiration.

Textiles, logos, and existing designs

In fact, all textiles that feature multiple colors can show you groupings you might not have thought of on your own. And although you might not want to dress in the colors on your toothpaste tube, labels and logos have also been given long and serious consideration by professional designers, so you just never know.

Color-centric blogs

Design Seeds deserved its own shout-out, but there are GOBS of blogs that focus on palettes and color pairings. Here’s a roundup from HuffPost, and another from Colour Lovers.

I’d love some more suggestions! What gives you color pairing inspiration? Other resources or tips to share?

Related Posts

Reader Request: Style Tips for Pale Skin

style tips pale skin

Reader Annabeth popped this question into the suggestion box:

Tricks for working with extremely pale skin. I’m very, VERY fair – to the point where, when I go without makeup, total strangers ask if I’m not feeling well. I’ve adopted the strategy of playing up my paleness rather than hiding it, but would always be happy for more tips about that.

I’ve written before about my own marked paleness here and here, but didn’t offer any style-related pale-girl tips. And before I even attempt to do so, I must point you to Forever Amber who has a section of her blog dedicated to pale skin makeup reviews and tips, and has also taken a stand on never, ever giving in to people’s weird, misplaced desires for her to get a tan. Rock on, Amber. Pale girls unite!

As always, none of my figure flattery advice posts should be considered gospel, including this one, and I fully expect you to read them with a grain of salt. Style “rules” are merely guidelines, no matter who is dispensing them. I trust you to use your judgment. And I trust you to take what applies to you, discard the rest, and assume positive intent. That said, here’s what I’ve got for ya.

Don’t worry about it

I’m delighted to hear that Annabeth plays up her pale skin. DELIGHTED, I tell you. Anyone who is policing your body for any reason at all should consider getting a new hobby. Your skin is your business, no matter how tan, not-tan, pale, dark, spotty, or covered in Twilight-reminiscent glittery bits it may be. The end.

Study pale celeb choices

Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton (pictured above in all her luminous glory), Nicole Kidman, and Dita Von Teese all rock fair skin. You may have a hard time tracking down photos of Cate and Tilda frolicking about in casual wear, but any outfit shots will show you how they select colors, accessorize, and style their hair to look stylish and chic year-round.

Embrace contrast

As a pale gal myself, I typically shy away from blushes and beiges when it comes to clothes. (Nude-to-my-skin shoes, yes. Nude-to-my-skin sweaters, not so much.) I’m more likely to go for vibrant shades that play off my natural undertones and offer contrast to my light-colored skin. Of course, I have high contrast anyway with pale skin and dark hair, so this is no hard-and-fast rule. And I’d never say to avoid light colors or nude-ish tones altogether, especially if you can work them into a mix of colors. But in summer when many people are showing off browned skin, colors like peach, stone, khaki, tan, and some ivories will likely look stranger against naturally light skin than they will during the cold months.

Consider your makeup

I’m no makeup expert, but I do know that summer is generally considered a casual season and that casualness extends into the realm of cosmetics. Natural, light, glowy tones look fab on fair-skinned gals during the summer months. A flattering blush, light lip color, and a little mascara may be all you’ll need.

Play with pattern

Where big swaths of color can wash you out or alter how your skin tone is perceived, patterns are more forgiving. Obviously some patterns will work better than others with your hair, facial features, and figure, so choose carefully. But be aware that doing patterns against pale skin may appear less harsh than solids.

Fellow pale ladies, what else would you add? Do you dress to play up or downplay your fair skin? A little of both? Any other tips to share?

Image source

Related Posts