Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Wearing Unflattering Colors: Green

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Now that your Christmas shopping is done (or whatever winter holiday gift shopping befalls you!), be of good cheer, the down vests that we spent SO much time with a few weeks ago are ON SALE. HALF PRICE.... I might buy a red one, after all. Click here- send me commissions! (thank you, sincerely, for any commissions I get - I really do appreciate it...)

Back to your regularly scheduled blog post!

It's a frequent question: "I really love ______, but it looks terrible on me!" 

Well, first, let's answer 2 questions:

  1. Does it REALLY look terrible on you, or were you told that once, about 40 years ago, and it's stuck with you since then?
  2. Are you sure that you want to wear this color, or is there some other way to solace your longing? Towels, thrown cushions, table wear, a cell phone cover - there are lots of ways to inject a color into your life without putting in on your person.
Okay, you really DO want to wear this color, and it really DOES make you look ghastly. Maybe it's one of those "local high school" things, or college homecoming, or.... YOU JUST LOVE THE COLOR. You don't have to explain, nor apologize, for the things you love. That's what makes you, you. Never be talked out of it...

But now, let's be practical. Get that color away from your face, and then go wild!

I don't know why I started with green, because there's a shade of green that flatters almost anyone. Still, I think this is an interesting exercise; six neutrals, in lighter-weight tee shirts and pants as we begin to dream of longer days (in the Northern Hemisphere)...

I start with black, and with a true green. In this particular case, if you actually got to own this ring, it would be worth building an accessory family around it!

bag – Zanellato; loafers – Jimmy Choo; tee shirt – Uniqlo; crop knit pants –  
Helmut Lang; Sage nail polish – Burberry; green leather bracelet – Ily Suleyman;
ring – David Yurman

For the warmer brown, I swung toward a grassy green - especially after I found that really great green and brown ring. If you ever stumble on this kind of item, grab it and run! These sorts of pieces can tie together otherwise unlikely color combinations very easily.

handbag – Ella Valentine; canvas shoes – Victoria Inglesa; brown tee – The Great;
 capris – Dosa; Grassy Green nail polish – Formula X; Bracelet – Mateo Brown
ring – Shanker

This whole grouping started with the really dark green ring, set in silver. I liked the intensity of the green against the softness of the grey; it's unexpected, but works!

Handbag – Elizabeth and James; suede flats – Sam Edelman; tee shirt – Uniqlo;
 trousers – Carven; Wild Green nail polish – Dolce & Gabbana; pearl & tassel
 bracelet – Latelita London; oval stone in silver setting – Chintan

It's worth noting that difficult to wear colors might be easier in warmer weather, when we can polish our toenails and wear sandals; nothing is farther from your face than your feet!

Bag – Vince Camuto; sandals – Dansko; taupe tee – Uniqlo; trousers – Austin
 Reed; Pretty Edgy nail polish – Essie; 3-stone bracelet - 
Anna Beckround ring – Kathryn Duncan

And please note that the setting of the ring, and the bracelet, both have a woven element to them. Of such details are my pleasure made...

Green and navy are classic, so I decided to go with a really intense deep emerald, rather than the more expected kelly green. Yes, a velvet bag in the daytime - why not?

Velvet bag – Rebecca Minkoff; shoes – Hush Puppies; tee shirt – Uniqlo;
 trousers – Mango; gold bar bracelet – Monica Vinader; Imperial Green nail
 polish – MAC; square stone ring – Vince Camuto

Here's another neutral that looks really happy alongside a bright green. Inexpensive things like backpacks are a good way to "test drive" a color that you're not sure you want to invest in heavily. If the backpack gets used constantly and you love carrying it, then you can seriously consider buying a more "adult" handbag. Or you can just buy another backpack!

Backpack – State Bags; Loafers – Patricia Green; tee  shirt – Etro; cropped 
pants – Chloe; Grassy Green nail polish – Formula X; dangling coin bracelet –

What color(s) look horrible on you? I'm going to look at this with orange and yellow, at least. Probably brown. Maybe peach.... or lilac? hmmm


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  1. glad that you've been using nail polish as a wardrobe color - helps me explain to the hubby why they even mail it in any color other than red. (Guess what mom did really implanted on the guy!) Nail color is a really easy way to tie an outfit together.

    Happy holidays!

  2. Interesting that you started with green - and a bright one too. I only have a few green pieces and they're forest or hunter green nothing as bright as emerald or lime green. Except for an odd happenstance one day in early fall a few years ago. I was walking through Lord & Taylor and they were having a 50% off sale on coats and I spied an emerald green coat on the rack and it pulled me over. It was a short, wool, mid winter weight jacket and I bought it. I loved it . Then a few months later Pantone announced it as the color of the year. I didn't feel stylish, I felt like a follower. And I stopped wearing it for a few years.

    1. I hate that feeling when suddenly something that you've loved for a long time becomes trendy. I too will quit wearing something for a while if I feel like it makes me look too much like one of the fashion sheep!

  3. Black! Of all the colors one should be able to wear, it washes me right out. Of course, it is the easiest to buy in all forms of clothing.

  4. in the Land's End shop in Sears the vests are $19 - bought my son's girlfriend two!

  5. I have always had a love/hate thing with green. I like it, it doesn't like me. Dark hair, pale skin with freckles and Irish. How can I have a problem with green? I keep it away from my face. I like your green/gray combination. Might need to try that one out. Thank you as always for your great ideas.

  6. I had to laugh at the high school football team thing. My high school football colors are orange and black. Really the worst combination for my soft summer complexion!

  7. Janice,
    I think the whole issue with green or any other color is the underlying warmth or coolness of color versus one's own personal coloring. The vividness vs the toned down quality also matters. I cannot wear anything too bright, too cool based, nor black, nor cold white. Those just mentioned drown out my warm, soft coloring. The one absolute coolor that looks horrible on me is fushia -- once again it's too cool and too intensly bright !

  8. Black for me, too! Way too harsh on me. It's so frustrating how much black is used in fashion. It's got me thinking about seeing again and I haven't done that in 20 years.

  9. Oops, *sewing* again ( not seeing)

  10. There are so many greens. In my travels somewhere, I acquired a pair of Israeli-made celadon glass and sterling silver earrings. I found a soft green scarf in my drawer and voilà ..perfect to wear with grey. If bright green overpowers, soft green flatters grey-green eyes and grey hair. In fact, I might take the lighter grey t-shirt, cropped grey pants and green accessories as my travel wardrobe for Oaxaca in February. Ooh-la-la, I forgot my soft green linen dress from the Sixth in Paris. Your post has just inspired me! Merci!

  11. I like the idea of "test drive" a new color with a backpack before making a larger investment. I have been using the "test drive" method of jewelry - buying something at a garage sale or consignment shop similar to something expensive I am considering. If I wear often and love it, THEN I buy the good piece. This also gives time to save up money, if that's helpful.

    Not only do I find out what I will actually wear and use, and what is a temporary whim, but a few times I have found that I like the vintage or quirky fill-in piece well enough to keep it as part of the permanent and well-worn collection at a fraction of the price. Score.
    Sue G

  12. I remember reading a quote by a fashion expert saying that women should never ever wear green. I don't remember who the expert was or if there was any science to back up such a statement. But, it's always made me question myself when I wear green. Isn't that absurd? Theresa

  13. Beautiful combinations and oh, how I want that ring in the first set.

    I avoid pastels despite the fact that I have a secret yen to wear floaty summer dresses with Monet-esque colour schemes so would be interested to see what you can come up with for lilac.

  14. Pastels are awful on me as are orange and yellow. I am a cool not a warm so while I love the brightness of them, can't wear them. I use them as accents around our home though.

  15. Oh these are wonderful combinations! I love green, but only wear the cool shades. It can be hard to find good accessories in green, but I'm always looking. Thanks Janice!

  16. I love deep greens and jade - in fact these are the closest I have to a signature colour, and I find them very easy to wear. Difficult colours for me are pastels and white. Even though (or perhaps because) have fair skin and blonde hair, they can really wash me out. I also avoid very bright shades.

  17. Very interesting. I cannot wear gray, specifically a pale, washed out grey. Also pastels, so I hope you do something with them also.