Color Me Happy
By Ashley Balding
|Photo by Anna Fischer|
When working with my clients' wardrobes, I often get the response of, "Wow, I never would have thought to put those colors together, but you made them work so well!" I always encourage my clients to take a little risk when it comes to putting colors together for themselves. I don't believe in letting yourself be limited by some silly "what's your season" color rules. This is why I love guest blogger and O'More College of Design student Ashley Balding's latest contribution to the paNASH Style blog. I'm sure you will enjoy it as much as I did! Thank you Ashley!
There are days when I walk out of my bedroom with the craziest color combinations known to man. I see beautifully constructed works of art—outfits that work with intricately chosen, color-wheel-dictated combinations. Upon my entrance into the real world (a.k.a. the kitchen) my mom usually gives me that sympathetic look, somehow communicating to me that my obviously brilliant choice in color is maybe not interpreted in the same light.
"What do you think, Mom?" Her clearly confused facial expression is disheartening at best.
"Well, I wouldn't have thought to put those colors together..." she begins hesitantly, "but then again you know I like my monochromatic neutrals."
Yep, she does. It's true. My mom always hears that she looks like Meryl Streep, to which I would definitely agree. But my mom's style is more like that of Diane Keaton's. Not Annie-Hall-1970s Diane Keaton, but menswear-inspired-creme-colored-creations, only-complete-with-a-fabulous-accessory-like-a-hat-or-some-gloves Diane Keaton. I love this about my Mom. It's a classic statement that gives her comfort and is easy on the eyes.
I, on the other hand, somehow decided at some point in my young life that a place where I’d wear clothing without significantly bright hues was a world I wanted no part in. I love every color I've ever laid eyes on. I love pink, purple, blue, green, brown, puce, citrus, gold, cerulean, lime green, neon yellow, tangerine—I could literally go on and on and feel the excitement grow inside of me with each color. Yes, folks, I am that obsessed with color.
I think it is a great tragedy to live life without color. Color is so deeply connected to our psyche and our moods. Color is far more than a red dress we put on for a special dinner, or a pink shirt we wear in support of breast cancer awareness. It is a statement of our personalities. It is a defiant yet subtle stand in what we want to feel and what we desire for those around us to feel.
During the winter time, people often experience SAD, or seasonal affect disorder, which is said to be brought on (among other things) by the drab and dreary days that carry on until the peekings of the spring sun abound. How crazy is it that a gray sky as opposed to a blue sky can have that much affect on our moods? And so much so that there is an actual medical name for it?
Think about how you’d feel if you passed a million people dressed in black on the streets. I’d feel nothing—just another black outfit on just another human being. But show me someone with pink hair or a bright blue dress or red pants, and I'm immediately interested. Even if it's not an attractive look to me, or something that I might choose for myself, I'm at least intrigued by it. My brain is suddenly interacting with my surroundings and those who share my surroundings. In a society where we are all headed somewhere vastly more important than anyone else—iPod earbuds plugged in so we can plug out—it is so vital to reconnect with our surroundings and our fellow people. I love the random conversations that can come from wearing my favorite bright blue vintage dress.
My one piece of advice for those who don't already use color to their advantage is not to be afraid to experiment! I understand that not everybody will be comfortable wearing a red dress with royal blue tights, sky blue heels, and a yellow leather tote. I'm okay with that (although, come on! Doesn't that sound at least slightly delightful?). Who says you can't throw just a little color in to the mix? Take baby steps. A brightly colored purse is a great way to say, "Hey, look, I CAN have fun," without diving into the color pool head first. Any accessory in general is easy to exchange for a brightly colored addition.
You'll be surprised at how color can change your outlook on your day. Every day that I wake up and stand in front of my rainbow-infested closet, coffee tightly clutched in my hand, I think to myself, "How do I want to feel today?" Do I want to be calm and serene (blue)? Do I want to be fiery (red)? Do I want to be bright and happy (yellow)? Do I want to be grounded and cool (green)? It's a trick that I learned at a young age. Use color to your advantage. It can heave you out from your SAD days, or your just all around less-than-perfect days. Color can be a tool in your tool belt. It can alter your world and the world of those around you. Color is a beautiful, natural creation that we are blessed to have. Don't be afraid to use it.
Go forth—be colorful!