Fashion Rules & Myths
The latest from our House of Colour blogger Fiona Ingham
As a small child I was firmly told that ‘blue and green should never be seen’. I was puzzled. That combo looked great in nature so why couldn’t I team up my favourite sky- blue blouse and forest green skirt? Thankfully this rule is long gone with gorgeous blue/green mixes striding the catwalks Another rule recently deleted was that black shoes with a navy dress was a definite faux pas. This look is now the height of chic! Where did the commandment ’three colours should always be worn’ originate? A third can transform a look, but a single flattering colour head to toe with interesting detail and in a fabulous style can be extremely elegant. Equally a coat of many colours can be wonderful.
Winter meant darker clothes. Now colour is worn year-round as fashion is truly international. Colour sells clothes on-line. Instagram posts aren’t attractive in shades of grey so ‘influencers’ use attention – getting bright hues. Colour works better on video calls, amidst those grey squares. Research proves the huge morale and health boosting effects of colour and as a colour analyst I see these benefits as I hear about the increased confidence of clients when they wear flattering colours.
Times have moved on
Let’s consider the ‘Little Black Dress looks good on any woman” myth. Coco Chanel did wear black well, stating it “wipes out everything else around it!”. Hollywood black and white movies gave the LBD glamour. Black is deemed to be slimming. Darker colours can be but why not consider greys, navy, dark olive, burgundy or chocolate brown instead? If black is wrong for you it is truly draining and ageing. I never wear it.
It’s also hilarious that until the late 1980’s women couldn’t wear trousers in the business setting. In the early 1990’s I felt daring wearing a smart chocolate brown trouser suit to a House of Colour conference. There was even a discussion, did this meet dress code standards? Extraordinary. But thankfully we’ve moved on – I now have one in mock tartan and another in small check. Bright and soft colours abound. Wonderful!
The rise of activewear!
Sports luxe has jogged from the gym into many workplaces, so change continues and it’s important to keep up. Stylish trainers can now be smart-casual, looking great with the current midi and maxi dresses. Currently more trainers than high heels are sold to women in the UK.
Don't be afraid of patterns
‘I can’t wear patterns’ is a familiar cry. Not true! We all can. They need to work with our face and body lines. Checks and stripes for angularity. Florals and swirls for softer lines. Always check in a full-length mirror. The scale needs to be right. Is the pattern taking you over?
Coco Chanel made wise comments regarding fashion such as ‘elegance is simplicity’ but her suggestion ‘before you leave the house look in the mirror and take one thing off’ isn’t necessarily so, because on the contrary, I often need to encourage clients to add accessories to create interest. Chanel’s advice ‘it’s always better to be underdressed than overdressed’ was doubtless correct when dress codes were more formal but now clients routinely seek help to up their look and put the’ Smart’ into ‘Smart casual’.
Certain fashion maxims remain perennially useful: ‘a bargain is often a vast extravagance’, ‘a stitch in time saves nine’, ‘you’re never fully dressed without a smile’, and importantly ‘rules are made to be broken’.
Isn’t that what fashion is all about?
Consistent holder of the House of Colour Star Consultant award each year since 1991 plus the new Double and Triple Star Consultant award for 2020. Winner of the Business Development Award and Team Productivity Award and also a 2017 Livewire Innovation and Excellence Award.
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