Hey hey curvy sewists! Who’s gotten started on wardrobe capsule plotting?
I love a good capsule and tend to sew ‘mini-capsules’ — i.e. at least three garments that work together. As a long-time sewist, I’ve gotten over the initial phase — you know, every project is a party dress, when your day-to-day routine is more geared towards riding the bus and working in an office. I try to make sure that I spend my time sewing things that I’ll likely wear and won’t end up as sad closet orphans.
But enough about me. Let’s talk about color. Or, more specifically, what color works for us.
I’m going to say this right now: The #1 best color for you is your absolute favorite color. Mine’s pink. I dress in enough pink to put any princess-obsessed kindergartener to shame. With my 20-year high school reunion in the rear-view and some slowly fading red hair, pink normally does not rank high in my ‘most flattering color’ territory.
“Most flattering” can take a long walk off a short pier, right?
That said… I have been ENTRANCED with the color systems. You know — are you a fall or a winter? Warm or cold? Growing up with a head of bright orange hair, I was desperate to figure out the ‘right color’ to look… a little less like orphan Annie (not a real redhead) or Molly Ringwald (also not a real redhead). Any of my fellow gingers might relate to the pure, unadulterated JOY when Julia Roberts (not a real redhead) headed to the opera in that bright red ball gown in Pretty Woman. At last, proof that a (not-real) redhead could, indeed, wear red.
Again, wear what you like. But for those of you who are interested in digging a little deeper into choosing colors that complement you, make your eyes, hair, and skin work, and make you look healthy and glowing… here are a few tips. Plus, I’ll throw in a few of my rules for mixing and matching prints. Since my style of dress usually includes wearing multiple layers, I’m a fan of the mix and match. With occasional crazy-lady looking results.
Because we wear what we want, right?
Here are some of my thoughts on choosing a color palate for your wardrobe capsule, including some techie tricks and pattern mixing mojo!
Explore Your Palette With Color Picking Apps
Technology is such a gift. I am graphic-website-design-marketing type by day and I have to say that since starting in the field, I’ve come to rely more and more on my iPhone over the years, often not even bothering with Photoshop in favor of an app.
The app store is full of color picking and palette generating apps, mostly used by designers to create color palettes for projects. These apps allow you to snap or upload a photo, then sample colors from the photo and create professional looking color palettes.
So we’re going to swipe that cool technology and create a few clothing color palettes based on a selfie.
Here’s what I’m talking about. Behold a bit of color sampling and mixing:
What I did here was start with a middle of the afternoon, sans-makeup-except-lipstick (because I literally never am sans-lipstick and Lipsense is a pain to remove) selfie in natural light. Then I used Photoshop to sample my hair, skin, eyes and lip color. I was a bit flushed in this picture but the skin sample from my forehead is pretty spot on.
Then I used the two most prominent sources (hair and skin ) to create palettes using Adobe’s Color Picker (in Illustrator for all ya’ll who have Adobe products). For each sample I generated one saturated palette, one muted palette, and one neutral palette.
As you can see, I’m awash in purples, teals, and greens. What I am notably NOT awash in is the traditional ‘warm’ palette of pumpkin orange, forest green, and ivory. This has been one of the hardest things for me to wrap my head around when it comes to color theory. By a lot of the ‘old rules’, I am an Autumn by default because of my (admittedly now fading) red hair. But the rest of my complexion doesn’t really follow in line with that — I’m more pink with blue eyes that veer towards grey. My lips, without color, are naturally the same mauve as in the muted palette under skin (next to the deep brick red.) Those who know more than me have told me that I’m a light summer, not an autumn.
All I know is that purple, teal and green tend to look good on me. And pink, of course. Because favorite.
So that’s how I analyzed my colors, but I thought I should check in with someone who knows slightly more than me. My friend Yelena, is a professional stylist, color consultant and owner of The School of Fabulous. Here’s what she had to say, “There are several considerations to keep in mind when trying to figure out which colors will flatter you (and make you look healthier, younger, and more vibrant!) and which colors will detract from your natural beauty: whether the color is warm or cool, whether it is light or dark, and whether it is bright or dull.
A palette of your best colors will take into account your skin, hair, and eye coloring as well as the level of contrast between those colors. In your “right” colors, the focus will be on you rather than on the color. One easy way to find a flattering color is to simply repeat the color of your hair, eyes, skin, or flushed cheeks!
From her lips to god’s ears, right? I love the idea of using the color sampling technology to ‘grab’ the colors straight from a selfie to get some quick’n’easy flattering shades!
Don’t have Photoshop? Well, Adobe offers their color picker as a free app! You have to set up an account with your email — but find ‘Adobe Capture’ in the app store of your smartphone. Once downloaded, choose ‘Colors’ as your option and then snap a selfie (or choose a photo from the library) and pick your color points — there are five available and I suggest skin (forehead), lips, eyes and two hair samples. Click ‘next’ and you’ll get to a screen where you can change the color ‘system’ from analogous, monochromatic, complementary and more. Click the color chips at the top of the screen to change your sample color. When you like the palette just click ‘next’, name your palette and save (click here for a video showing the app in action). You’ll have a library of color options right in your pocket or purse (or who are we kidding, in your bra, if you keep your cell phone where I keep mine) when you head out fabric shopping for your capsule.
Mixing Patterns and Colors and How I Chose My Capsule Colors
Speaking of which, I thought I’d share my color selection process for the capsule.
First…. I am under strict no-fabric quarantine right now. So I’m shopping my stash. The process would be exactly the same if I was shopping for new fabric.
The first thing I did was pull out all the knits I could find. I’ve been grooving on wearing bloomers and cute peplum T’s lately and summer’s around the corner. I need to bolster my cute T inventory. Then I grabbed coordinating fabrics that would be good for more bloomers or dresses. I found myself with four colourways going on…. black/white and chartreuse, coral, neutral and navy/dusty green.
Obviously, the green and black polka dot combo is my favorite. I mean. POLKA DOTS. But… that’s a lot of dots and one rule of pattern mixing is to go with opposites. For example, polka dots do well with plaid or fleur-de-lis, stripes go well with all over print. The black/chartreuse dot fabrics were all dots and there weren’t great options for bloomers. The navy/dusty green was out — not enough coordinating knit. Likewise, the salmon had a few good knits, but no great options for bloomers if I was making T’s.
The neutrals were pretty nice. A few prints in different scales that would be good for dresses. A pinstripe that would do well for bloomers or a skirt and I have a few yards of some nice, camel linen I’ve been hoarding since living in Nashville. Plus there’s three knits that coordinate with all of that and as a bonus, a nice linen that would be great for the Miss Fisher style 20’s duster coat I’ve been thinking about making. I rearranged and re-stacked my options with the neutrals.
Clockwise from top left – skirt/dress options, knits for T’s, options for bloomers and the bonus linen for a potential duster.
I’m pretty sure this capsule’s going to end up named after the Grapes of Wrath. It feels pretty 1930’s to me….
Sigh. Sometimes it’s hard being a practical animal. But we’re all friends. I think you ALL know that my eyes keep straying to that lovely chartreuse polka dot. Or even the salmon stripes. I love colors so much I think the Swiss Guard is playing it down. But, alas. What I love fabric-wise and what I wear, garment-wise, are often times ships passing in the night. So with limited sewing time and a modicum of judgment brought about by years of sewing garments that never get worn… it’s to the neutrals we will go.
More from Yelena, “By the way, if you have trouble figuring out which colors go well together, try playing around with a color wheel (you can find one in any craft store). Three easy color combos are monochromatic (different tints and shades of the same color), analogous (colors next to each other on the color wheel), and complementary (colors directly opposite each other on the color wheel).”
What’s YOUR color palette? Sparkly and bright or practical everyday wear? Either way works (email me and I’ll send you a picture of the mini wardrobe I just finished that my husband and I have dubbed the Strawberry Shortcake clothes.) But for me and my CSC Capsule, we’re happy with neutral linen. And Calico. And maybe one polka dot.