Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

How to team black and blue


Apparently I'm in the groove because I have a couple of dark blue coats, one Cos one from the Jean Muir closing down sale, which I wear with LBDs and black patent shoes

Here's Jess on how to put it together:

Wearing blue and black together takes a bit of getting used to. It's a combination that is neither all-out moody, like black and grey, nor straight-up chipper, like blue with white, but betwixt and between, like a shadow on a sunny day. Handy for days that are neither red-letter, nor a washout, but somewhere in the middle.

However, done badly, black and blue looks like a cheap-trying-to-be-cheerful school or checkout uniform. Be aware of this pitfall in daywear - a boxy navy blazer and straight black skirt, for instance, are to be avoided. To give this particular danger a wide berth, you need to add to the mix something out of the workaday: a slinky fabric, a spot of sharp tailoring, foxy shoes, whatever. It is tempting to opt for baby blue rather than bright blue with black, because it seems like a softer combination, but that looks like business wear. There's nothing wrong with that, but it's not fashion, darling.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

The blue of that dress in the picture is absolutely my favourite colour! I see it's in the shops this season after a break of a few years so I'm buying it up while it's still available. Not bothered if it's out of fashion next year. You won't catch me wearing yellow!!! The only people it suits are black and Asian people.

Nancy (nanflan) said...

Feeling a little racial today, Anonymous?

But back to the topic. Black and blue can be a great color combination, but it has to look like you did it with intention, not like you dressed in the dark.

Anonymous said...

Nanflan, what is 'racial'? Do you mean 'racist'? Don't be silly, of course it's not racist to say that some colours suit different skin colours! Not yet, anyway.

Deja Pseu said...

Actually I look smashing in yellow. I'm a fair-skinned, green-eyed redhead. But it has to be the right yellow...a bright, warm yellow, not the "acid" yellow everyone's selling now.

lagatta à Montréal said...

In general, I look horrid in yellow, but my olive-skinned mum had a rich yellow silk blouse that I always "borrowed", as teenagers to, with a bolero and skirt. Usually it is not a matter of yellow, blue or red etc not suiting certain skin tones, but variations within them.

And I'm as militantly antiracist as they come, but certain tones work better on certain colours of people - that is not just a matter of dark or light, but whether one is pinky or sallow.

Personally, I'd be interested in how to team red and black - two of my favourite colours - without them being any '80s revival. Perhaps adding grey? Or a red that is not so primary?

Anonymous said...

I love red too - as well as blues! If you're red-headed you should go for tomato red, if your dark-haired then jewel reds. I suit bright reds with no blue in them, if you can imagine that. And you're right about yellows having different tones to suit different skin tones. I can get away with that buttermilk colour which you could call yellow, at a pinch. I'd be a hopeless Frenchwoman because I love colour and would only ever wear black on my bottom half.

Toby Wollin said...

How color works with you seems to be a function of the color base of your skin. I've got green eyes and fair skin and certain colors just do not work on me. But with yellow, you just have to find the right one. Anyone here find that their "colors" change when they get older? I used to be able to wear black really really well...now, not so much.

Anonymous said...

I had my colours done years ago with Colour Me Beautiful (Colour Me Stupid my husband used to call it!) I've sworn by it ever since and it has stopped me making lots of stupid mistakes. But perhaps you're right and I need to get it done again as so many years have passed since last time.

phyllis said...

Like many of us who are a product is late 70's/80's I used to wear a ton of black until about 4-5 years ago, and now I still do, but never right next to my face. My current favorite dark colors are a deep umber black-brown and dark bankers gray.

Susan said...

I've noticed the same thing about wearing black. When I wore my favorite black coatdress back in the eighties, My skin glowed like pearls. There was nothing more flattering to me. Now, however, I can look just ghastly--washed out and haggard.

I'm also having more trouble deciding just how much makeup I need and what shades are the best these days. Some days I feel as uncertain about it as I did at fifteen.

Anonymous said...

This is a late reply to the last comment as I too find black difficult as I race towards 50. One thing I do now is follow the rules of Coco Chanel who always wore cream next to the face and hands. I now wear a cream blouse or long sleeve crew neck T shirt under all my black garments - it really is flattering. As for skin glowing like pearls, perhaps it's time to make the big investment and buy some, or again like Coco Chanel, wear some good quality fakes.

Anonymous said...

I think wearing dark blue and black together can look great if the garments are well cut. I have a navy Comme des Garcons tunic which I wear with black trousers and get loads of positive comments. I've always viewed colour rules with great suspicion. It's not colour that matters, but tone, shade and quality of fabric. If I had to choose one of those it would be quality of fabric.