Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Common Capsule Wardrobe Colors: Puce

Yes, I'm really sorry, but I had to disable Anonymous comments.  While I was out of town, someone figured out how to "spam" my comments, and I got about 10,000 advertising comments.  There were some legitimate comments scattered through those which might have been lost - if so, I'm terribly sorry!

Also, if I've linked to your blog in the past and you're not on the current list, send me a note.  That also managed to get eaten in the digital carnage of my brief blogging hiatus...

Okay, even the internet can't agree on what, exactly, puce looks like!  But one of my favorite color references, Encycolorpedia, calls it puce, and that's good enough for me.  This is certainly a color that you could tweak a bit - moving to something warmer, or lighter, as suited your wardrobe, your preferences, and your personal coloring.  Never buy a color just because it's the "big" color for the year - that's just an industry device to get you to spend money you don't need to spend on things you don't need to own!

This color has been added here because I've recently read a couple of things that suggest that it's a universally flattering color.  I believe that a color that matches your personal blush or lipstick is indeed flattering, but I'm not sure that this is it.  But let us sally forth and see what we think of this color.

I fully appreciate that many of us can't really wear whimsical socks with success, but I wanted to show them here to remind you that they're a very inexpensive possibility for including a color in an outfit, and for bringing a bit of humor into your day in an unexpected way.

While the sweater and socks are something you can buy and expect to wear for a few years, a nice pair of earrings in a color that flatters your face might be something you'd want to keep for a long time. Once you've figured out all of the hundreds of semi-precious stones available in jewelry, you'll find that almost any color is available, and that some brilliant craftperson is working with that very stone. (Novica has similar earrings available in lapis and amethyst from this same woman...)
Sweater – Jonathan Saunders, socks – Topshop, earrings – Sissi Bernal

I like the look of this blush-like color the navy and grey Starting From Scratch Wardrobe.
Sweater – Jonathan Saunders, socks – Topshop, earrings – Sissi Bernalnavy trousers – Jacques Vert navy skirt – Nina Riccisilver grey trousers – Viyellagrey cashmere cardigan – Jaegergrey jeans – Rebecca Taylor

Pink with brown is not uncommon, but I know a lot of people who struggle with it. Maybe opting for the coral shown July 25th would be a better direction to go?
Sweater – Jonathan Saunders, socks – Topshop, earrings – Sissi Bernalbrown jeans – Viyellabrown twill trousers - Lands’ Endkhaki skirt – Merona beige pants – The Row
I just don't know about inserting puce into the black and caramel Starting From Scratch Wardrobe....  Maybe a lighter or warmer color?  Pink and black can be great together, but the caramel brown that is in this wardrobe just doesn't feel right.
Sweater – Jonathan Saunders, socks – Topshop, earrings – Sissi Bernalblack shorts – Hallhubercopper twill trousers – Lands’ Endblack cardigan – Michael Michael Korsblack skirt - French Connectionblack jeans – R13 
If I were building a khaki and olive Starting From Scratch Wardrobe, I would definitely sample this color in two or three things, and just never wear them with olive! I think this rosiness looks lovely with muted beige and khaki.
Sweater – Jonathan Saunders, socks – Topshop, earrings – Sissi Bernalbeige hoodie – Uniqloivory shorts – Erika Cavallinikhaki cashmere cardigan – La Garconnebeige skirt - Vicky Tiel, beige jeans – Morganolive cardigan – Meronaolive trousers – Isabel Marant Etoile
I love how this color brightens up the black and grey Starting From Scratch Wardrobe!  I pretty much live in black and grey - a rosy accent might be in order...
Sweater – Jonathan Saunders, socks – Topshop, earrings – Sissi Bernalblack cotton and cashmere cardigan – 10 Crosby Derek Lamblack linen trousers – Viyellagrey pleated trousers – Alberto Biani, grey cardigan - Mangoblack jeans – Current/Elliottshorts – T by Alexander Wang

Pink and brown together is unexpected, but can be really pretty.  Your mileage may vary...
Sweater – Jonathan Saunders, socks – Topshop, earrings – Sissi Bernaltan shorts – jeans – Uniqlonavy wool cardigan – Miu Miuvy trousers – Viyellatan pants – Uniqlobeige cardigan – Marella

Happy Socks: Fun and Crazy Socks for Men, Women, and Kids.


  1. This shade is WAY prettier than I'd originally envisioned "puce". I love all of the combos, but navy and grey with puce are my favorites!

  2. I'm sorry about the technical issues you are having to deal with along with everything else.
    This is a gorgeous color and when I read the word puce I was envisioning some type of stone , grey or green color...not pink, lol.
    One more question, I was really enjoying the previous years posts for the same date linked under the body of each post. Did some technical mishap ruin that for us?
    Thanks again for all you do. I love coming here each morning.

    1. Dear Cheryl,
      I was putting those posts from previous years in manually - I've been so busy working on the mammoth color combination file that I've lost track of all KINDS of things.... (you should see our apartment). I'll put them back soon, I promise!
      warmest regards,

    2. I was thinking the same in terms of the colour, especially since all those muddy 'stone' colours look really good on me, whereas pink in any variation makes me look really bad. :))

  3. I really enjoy reading your blog. I love this color combination. I am glad you are back and all is well. I am a big fan of the television show Scandal. Can you show me how to recreate some of the styles of Olivia Pope? Thanks.

  4. A wonderful color. I tend to lump it into my generic "pink" range. It's truly great with grey, black and navy as well as white for summer. And, how can you not love a name like "puce"!!

  5. "Puce" reminds me of old novels....

  6. I cringed when I saw the color today was puce. I was expecting a yucky pea green color. What a wonderful surprise! I love this shade of pink. I'm doing the navy/grey starting from scratch wardrobe. What a great addition! Thanks, Janice!

  7. I had thought puce was more of a rusty-red shade, like a flea! But whatever the's really pretty. And it does go with lots of colors. I flinch a bit when it's put with caramel,but I like almost all the other colors, even the brown, with this delicious puce!

    Hope all is well, or better at any rate, with your ill family member. Good to have you back.

  8. Hello Janice,

    Thanks for all the work you've done so far.. I have been following up this blog for three weeks.. I underwent foot surgery for about 4 years ago and since then can't wear anything with heels higher than 1.5 cm. I quit buying women's magazines a while because all they suggest to be "chic" is you know.. heels, pumps that impossible for me to try on, let alone walking in them. But here you really are doing something amazing, showing ways to look good with ballerinas, flats and sandals.. I decided that I won't be a tomcat from now on, and look as elegant as I can be.. combinations with more flats please..


  9. The Pantone chip is quite a bit darker, more of a browned plum:

    And here is an interesting discussion on the colour, which some think of as a yellowy-green:

    1. Fascinating, I too was raised thinking it was a yellowy-green, but then when I worked in apparel they had it as a dark mauvey shade. I love this post, but gosh this blog always inspires me to see my closet in a different way.

      And Janice, I feel for you with the blogging headaches, I've had my share this year! I used to be on your link list and would love to be there again. My blog list is one of my own headaches I'm working on replacing and you of COURSE would be on it! <3

  10. I was sure that puce was yellowy browny green, so I was shocked to see such a delightful shade of pink!

  11. What a gorgeous colour!! I could wear this pink because it has enough blue in it- t'riffic!!
    I first read about this colour in old English novels eg older 'ladies' wore puce clothing. Thus I imagined it to be a sickly shade of deep purple- not a colour a mod young thing would wear. :-)
    Thanks for the Encycolorpedia link- I've bookmarked it for future reference.

  12. I've mainly read a about puce in Regency romances i.e. the heroine's foppish younger brother has a puce figured silk waistcoat, enormous shirt collars and an eleborate (but not quite perfectly tied) cravat.

    I don't wear it much myself as it just feels frumpy on me. It's also tricky to get exactly the right shade to be flattering.