Posts Categorized: reader requests

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:


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.


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?

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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

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Reader Request: Mastering Slouchy and Relaxed Clothing Silhouettes

how to wear slouchy pants

Reader Mollie popped this one into the suggestion box:

I love the relaxed look but as someone with hips and thighs I’m not sure how to pull it off. I’d love some advice on this specific trend, and perhaps more generally how to wear relaxed, unstructured garments when one is not model thin.

I carry a lot of my weight in my hips and thighs, and ADORE the slouchy look. Here are my tips for making it work:

Show a little ankle (or wrist)

Your wrists, knees, and ankles all curve in a little and if you obscure those curves – with big cuff bracelets, midi skirts, or columnar boots – the observing eye believes there is body volume where there is none. This is especially relevant when you’re dealing with voluminous, drapey, unstructured garments. Slouchy pants often look less overwhelming when they show a little ankle. Just that little peek can help demonstrate how you’re actually shaped under there. Occasionally, showing a little wrist from inside an oversized sweater or blouse can have the same effect. But not as often, because you’ll mainly want to …

Balance volume with slimness

Ahhh, that old chestnut. Still a great guideline to keep in mind! If you’re doing something unstructured up top, try to pair it with a slimmer-fitting bottom. If you’re going for a slouchy track pant, consider a structured jacket or fitted top. If you wear loose, voluminous clothing in both halves, it will be hard to tell where the clothes end and you begin. I’ve professed my undying love for Halle Berry’s style, but she does occasionally go a little slouchy-volume overboard. This is great advice for big or curvy girls trying unstructured items, and also great advice for small or curve-less girls, too.

Pair fluid with structured

Some folks look absolutely stunning in drapey tops and slouchy bottoms. I am not one of them. The pairing just looks sloppy on me. That doesn’t mean they’ll look sloppy on absolutely every curvy girl alive … but if you’re trying to master this look and can’t figure out why you look like you’re melting, consider partnering one fluid, drapey item with one structured item. Boyfriend jeans with a fitted button-down, drop-crotch pants with a denim jacket, a billowing peasant blouse with skinny jeans.

Pay attention to pleats

This mostly applies to pants, of course. Many slouchy styles include hip pleats and they can really make or break a style. Length, depth, and how much of the pleat is tacked down all affect how it will interact with your curves. I have found that pleats on fluid fabrics like jersey don’t fight my hips and thighs, but any pleated woven fabric will stand out from my bottom half like a tutu. Longer pleats that have been tacked down tend to work better for me, too, since they sit flat against my legs. You’ll need to do some experimentation to find out which types of pleats will work best for your proportions and figure.

Got any other tips for making this look work on a curvy figure? Or on any figure shape at all? How do you wear relaxed, unstructured clothes?

Images courtesy Nordstrom

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