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Harmony: How appearance communicates.
The magical thing about prints is what colours can do together. True of outfits, or entire appearance, like gorgeous puzzles all put together.
Prints are special for being able to bring pictures to life. When colours are in harmony, which is not guaranteed with any print, we see our world is a new way. Surprising in its beauty and yet real and possible, at the same time. Relatable, because harmony, whether in colour or sound, contains more information than random energy or impulses, and in so doing, we find more meaning.
Prints are good to bring together the parts of an outfit. The hair colour, lipstick, purse colours showing up in one item, is a way to express something that feels artistic and looks intentional. Looking intentional is extremely good. Your appearance happened by you, not to you, as if you have exclusive information.
Season is Colour
We’re used to paisley prints for Autumn, and plaid, and the animal prints we saw in Part 1 of this 4 part series, Autumn Progressions, Basics.
Today, we’re looking at flower variations as a way of comparing the 3 Autumn groups, Soft, True, and Dark. True Autumn shows us colours under Autumn’s properties of light; Soft mixes Autumn with a little Summer; Dark mixes Autumn’s influence on colour with some Winter. These ways of grouping colour appear in landscapes or human beings, and are beautiful when extended to what is added, either to the landscape or the person.
Even in the same Season, designs are no more suited to every Autumn than wood or spicy scents are. What Seasons have in common are their colours. The other elements of design have their own classification system. The size of a print has to do with the size of your features. The shape of a print has to do with the shape of your angles. A world of great information is there for the having. It's easy to know yours. Ask me if you’re wondering how.
Here’s the picture we’ll be looking at today.
Shopping information: https://urstyle.fashion/styles/2848842
You know instinctively that the same woman wouldn’t wear these designs. Neither would she wear the colours across the rows. The colours in the columns, vertical, sure.
The colours share enough to be comfortable in the same closet. Picture a completed puzzle lying on a table. If even one piece came from a different puzzle and were a tight or lopsided fit, our attention would keep coming back there. We wouldn't be able to appreciate the full picture.
What can we see here?
Overall lighter, darkest colours being around the level of soft mulled wine and dark pine, as the top-row blouse shows.
Colours are closer together, with transitions that feel like drift or flow, even when lightest are darkest are worn together. However dark the colours (or person) might appear, they are softened or dusty, making sudden colour transitions unlikely, if not impossible.
An important concept is to keep the colours under the face, rather than too forward in the viewer’s attention. If they jump up through the palette strips, or only allow the lighter colours of a strip to be noticed, they’ll jump up from under the face as well.
Committed to warmth in all its colours, brightness and darkness float along the mid-range settings.
The item in the top row is bright and yet retains an earthy or natural feeling. The lower row item is light and could be fine for a warmer Soft Autumn. True Autumn colours often have both golden and green reflections.
We can’t look at a person and know how warm or cool they are till they have a colour analysis. Place a slightly cool colour on a warm person and you see how very sensitive they are to cool colour. Faces turn gray, clothes seem lifeless, both losing vitality immediately. Apply too-cool cosmetics and the colour suddenly looks too blue.
Cool people are equally complex. If eyes are green-gray or hair colour looks sandy or red, they may appear deceptively warm because they’re made with colours we associate with warmth. When we analyze the colours, we see that they’re not warm in the slightest.
The blouse in the top row shows the softer, cooler side of the Season. The item in the lower row appears warmer and more pigmented. The tassels in the lower item are bright but as accents, the effect is belonging and exciting. Place them into the Soft Autumn column and they would take over the attention to the point that the garment would fade back. Imagine it as a lipstick, the same thing happens. The face would fade into the background, as would our awareness of the woman.
We see how well light colours illuminate the darks. The white is quite far from the pure white background. The pink is not pastel, misty, or candy pink. By thinking of it as rustic pink, choices can be more instinctive.
What you want to know is, which are yours. What will I buy? Without a way to locate colour according to you, shopping is a giant bag of Lego and no instructions.
Sensitivity of language matters, but...
I got to thinking about why I chose certain prints and not others, even if the colours looked close.
I’ve said everywhere that your personal preference is beautiful because it’s yours. How you choose to express yourself is beautiful.
I don’t actually believe that.
I can’t always tell with my own choices. I’ve asked people I’m shopping with, “Is this nice or the opposite?”
I say it because I think I should. When others do that to me, however well intentioned, I feel a little disrespected. I’d like to be in charge of my feelings. Once we’re protecting others from our ideas, however unconventional those ideas may be, we’re not doing them a favour. I would prefer to hear your ideas and adjust how to use them myself. The more unique they are the better, because this is how we revisit and replace the rules that bind the present.
Here’s what I think.
Preference isn’t beautiful because it’s ours. All taste isn’t good or it couldn’t be refined. We wouldn’t look back on our choices and wonder what we saw.
I believe that one never argues taste. Everyone has the right to their own. You do you. If you believe it looks good, definitely wear it.
There are too many outside voices for our choices. Trend, we all know. Others too.
What we do to keep the neighbours happy and quiet.
Or keep them unhappy and eventually quiet, depending on your mindset.
If you didn’t know any brands and were given 20 prints, jeans, lipsticks, to sort by price, would you get them right? Maybe not. Price and popularity are not beauty. They fall back down to Earth. We’ve seen it a million times.
Because I’m not always sure, I get support with a system that’s always true, for everyone everywhere. Colour harmony is a great place to start. Like you feel safer in a house with plumbing and electricity already to code, and relieved that someone better versed in the subject was in charge. You can take it from there and feel safe.
Beauty’s built-in plan
When people say they study beauty, I think they’re looking at it like math. To me and possibly according to most humans in most eras, beauty has an internal plan.
When people say, “I believe all people are truly beautiful.”, they’re being literal. On some level, they're connecting with a plan.
You have an internal plan. You may not know it but it’s there.
Your colours and shape have a definite internal plan. They’re totally not random. To me, harmony is the word for the plan. Harmony of colours, harmony of shapes.
You hear about symmetry being related to beauty? Maybe in magazine faces or according to a historical or cultural reference, but that’s not reality. Most people are asymmetric. More natural structures, are irregular, like the iris of our eyes, trees, or mountains. Do they average out to symmetric? I doubt it.
There’s more to being esthetically pleasing that symmetry. Fractal geometry is an example and those images are unbelievably beautiful. Natural laws are bigger and more diverse than symmetry and so is beauty.
In a harmonious colour group, the parts can form relationships when they’re together. This creates meaning and shapes our experience of the world. That ability for the parts to connect, that I felt in the prints I chose, is part of beauty.
So, you still have this internal design. Your colour palette is being handed the instructions for the Lego. Now, you know what you’re looking for.
Once you know how to think about something, you can make good decisions about it. You’ll know what to do when you need an item and nothing perfect is available.
People who make good decisions in situations they’ve never been in trust themselves more and more. You’ll be like the entrepreneur of your own appearance, keeping your early bets small, watching your success compound and grow with every purchase.
Beauty isn’t hiding behind money or personal taste. Everything you need to be beautiful is already there. You just need to know how the plan works so you can use it.
Makeup in your own voice
Start with your colours. Add them in your clothes.
Makeup? Of course. Your colours.
Level after level of the same plan builds momentum, the perfect frame for a gorgeous picture.
You don’t have to wear makeup. If you don’t, wearing your colours is huge unless you can honestly say, I don’t care what I look like, but I have never known this to be an honest sentiment.
Let’s look again at beautiful floral prints for two Autumn groups.
The blog post with the makeup colours graphic (from 2014) is here.
If I made this image today, the colours would be cooler and even softer (dustier, grayer), reflected in the cosmetic colours for Soft Autumn in the Shop on this website. Still, your eye can move from blouses to makeup without feeling strained or distracted.
The blog post, Best Makeup Colours Dark Autumn, is here.
Imagine replacing the white background with a person with these same colours. The energy climbs when yet another level of harmony is added. Beautiful isn't a strong enough word to express what we see.
Another blog post on this site might interest you as well is Best Skin Finish on Autumn Colouring, linked here.
Lips should look like lips. If the effect is orange, the colour may too warm. If blue, the colour isn't warm enough. If gray, it needs brightness. In the same way, cheeks should look like the natural flush for the face. Shadows look healthy and are most effective when they repeat the natural colours that shadows would be for the colouring of the person.
The makeup in the shop on this site is colour-grouped by Season. You don’t have to find or figure out these colours on your own. It’s already been done for you.
Eventually, you meet yourself.
Nothing to prove and nobody to impress, you’re still standing there, needing clothes. When you want to bring the beauty that fashion is capable of into your world, you have somewhere to turn. Someone to turn to. Yourself. And your beautiful colours.
Pinterest boards for the 12 Seasons are here, with recently added printed blouses and spring dresses for the 12 Seasons.