Saturday, October 14, 2017

Fall Neutrals Should be the Backbone of Your Wardrobe

(picture courtesy of google).

Many people cringed and rejoiced on September First when Starbucks released their Pumpkin Pie Spice Latte. It still feels like summer in many places across the nation, but fall is creeping up on us. Here in the panhandle of Idaho, the leaves have already begun to turn and fall. There is something about fall colors that are heartwarming and comforting. While pattern, cut, and style trends will change each fall, one thing will not change: color.

Forget Pantone. While I love Pantone and their seasonal color palettes, they are not the end all be all of color. (Even if they are the experts). When you think of fall there are at least three colors you think of right way: gold, red/burgundy, and orange. If I were to ask for a fourth, you’d most likely give me brown. I could go on and ask you for a fifth color and a sixth color, maybe even a seventh. Purple, olive, and black. Study these colors closely and you will notice a pattern; most colors associated with fall are neutrals. They are also deep and rich in there tone and hue.

Gold, red/burgundy, brown, olive, and black; each neutral can be worn all year round, can be dressed up for the holidays, dressed up for work or for a date, or can be dressed down for a weekend vacation or a trip to the beach. What could be better? Nothing.

Think about it for a moment with me. How many ways can you wear gold; accessories aside? Winter: a skirt in a gold sheen or gold sequins is fantastic party wear. Fall, a blouse in gold adds a warm glow to an outfit. In Spring time, a gold pair of flats adds pop to any outfit. During summer gold sandals or a gold skirt screams beachside.
We can apply this seasonal color mix up with each of the fall colors.

Investing in your fall color wardrobe makes your seasonal wardrobe change out easier and gives you more options in pairing those accent colors like red, orange, and purple; regardless of their shade, tone, or hue. The older you get the easier it become to create a cohesive, effortless professional and weekend wardrobe. A wardrobe based in two or more fall neutrals will serve you well all year long, if not your whole life long.

Nifty Neutrals: White

White is an understated neutral. The polar opposite of black, we often forget that white can be paired with anything. White is often associated with summer thanks to its lightness and brightness. However, come fall and winter white gets sidelined by some adage about white and Labor Day. Who cares? White, like black, is a neutral that can be worn all year round. Let’s throw away the rule and put white denim back into a place of honor in our closets.

1. Brights. Bold bright colors are one of the easiest ways to style a white denim skirt. For summer, I love pairing a white denim skirt with a melon pink blouse, mint scarf, floral print head wrap, and silver flats. It's the perfect spring and summer work outfit. This same outfit can be dressed down by adding a denim jacket.

2. Black. Black and white is a classic combination, with the unfortunate image of waiters and waitresses. White on top, black on the bottom. It’s time to mix it up. Wearing black on top and white on the bottom is a wonderful and fresh way to wear this classic combination any time of the year. I kept my outfit simple, classy, and eye catching by pairing a black knit blouse with white denim and silver sequin shoes.

3. Navy. Navy is another neutral which works well with white. For a clean cut nautical look, a solid navy blouse or sweater works well. To move away from the nautical, look, a navy blouse in a floral or painterly print is the easiest way to keep your style fresh and full of personality. I completed my outfit with a pair of tan buckle flats and a navy blue head wrap.

4. Stripes. If you love the nautical look striped tees paired with a white denim skirt is right up your alley. While navy and cream stripes are the most common tops paired with white denim, black and cream, and burgundy and cream are also excellent substitutes. With this outfit, I styled an olive and cream striped tee under a denim jacket to create a more causal look. I finished off the look with a pair of orange-red flats for an added pop of personality and color. This outfit can be worn from late summer to early fall. For added warmth in mid to late fall, simply swap the flats for a great pair of boots. I am quite fond of the concept of dark brown faux suede boots for this look.

5. Jewel Tones. Jewel tones exude maturity and sophistication, especially when they are paired with white denim. During winter, cranberry and emerald are excellent choices, as well as amethyst. Amethyst translates well into spring. During spring and summer, sapphire and teal are brilliant against white denim. For this last outfit, I combined two jewel tones: teal and sapphire. I love how teal and sapphire play well off of one another to create fun and sophisticated color combination. I styled my white denim skirt with a sapphire knit sweater and dark teal infinity scarf. For some visual interest, I completed my outfit with a pair of giraffe print flats.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Nifty Neutrals: Navy

I like navy blue. Scratch that, I adore navy blue. It is the premier pseudo neutral around and nothing gets better than that. This means that navy can be the back drop of your outfit, or it can be the focal color. So many possibilities abound with navy blue. With so many options with navy, I have compiled my favorite way to wear navy blue.

1. Pink. The combination of a lovely soft pink paired with the deepness of navy is both sweet and grown up. For a casual day at work, I love to pair a sweet pink painterly print blouse, an olive green jacket, and my navy denim skirt. For an easy weekend outfit, I paired a blush pink knotted tee with a hot pink lace camisole with my navy blue denim skirt, and a pair of tan buckle flats.

2. Black. Yes, I said black. You can mix your neutrals! Black and navy can and do go together. The trick is to make it look intentional. If you are not feeling bold enough to solid on solid, go for a black and white print, such as an animal print. Then anchor the black in the animal print with another accessory such as a jacket, scarf, belt or shoes. Since colder weather is just around the corner, I paired my navy denim skirt with a charcoal and black striped sweater with woven shimmery thread layered over mint lace camisole, and a pair of gray boots.

3. Coral. Navy and coral go together like peanut butter and jelly. It is fun, vibrant, and beachy. Coral and navy are great for casual wear. Recently, one of my favorite combinations has been to pair this coral tee with gold foil pineapples with my navy denim skirt, a denim head wrap, and chambray inspired flats.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Nifty Neutrals: Charcoal

Charcoal is a sleek, professional, and easy alternative to black. Since charcoal looks very similar to black, it functions in all of the same capacities as black does. However, charcoal is not as harsh as black is on a vast majority of skin tones. Charcoal is easy to dress up or down and transitions incredibly well from work to weekend. As a closet staple charcoal is an absolute must.

1. Color. As a darker neutral, more saturated and often darker colors create a more cohesive look with charcoal. That is not to say that other colors cannot work with charcoal. Bright colors in spring and summer freshen up this dark shade of gray. As always, be careful with the use of pastels as these shades tend to look a bit juvenile.

Fall/Winter: For the cooler seasons, I went with a rich merlot purple sweater with a pale pink accent. I added a bit of shimmer with a copper head wrap and then played off the brown in the copper with a pair of brown boots.

Spring/Summer: A create way to dress up charcoal denim for work is with a great blouse. I paired my charcoal denim skirt with a bright melon pink blouse, a coral head wrap and black flats.

2. Prints. Prints are one of my preferred ways to add interest to an outfit. When pairing prints with charcoal, it is important to keep the seasons in mind. During spring and summer neon prints, bright prints, and florals are a few of my go to pieces. During fall and winter, something with a bit of sparkle is always fun, as are animal prints, polka dots and burgundy/navy plaids.

Fall/Winter: plaid is always a safe bet when it comes to fall and winter fashion. I paired a navy and burgundy window pane plaid top with a burgundy lace camisole with my charcoal denim skirt. I then added a pair of black booties and a burgundy head wrap.

Spring/Summer: Floras are a fun way to add life and interest to your spring wardrobe. I went for a navy blue blouse with pale pink roses to contrast the deepness of the gray in my denim skirt. To complete the outfit, I added a pair of tan lace up flats and pale pink head wrap.

3. Neutrals. Just one more reminder that you can mix your neutrals as long as you make it look intentional. After that, have fun mixing your neutrals.

The truth is, I only have one outfit for this section. I love the simplicity of this outfit and its versatility. You can wear this outfit with little to no changes throughout the year.
I paired my charcoal denim skirt with a black knit blouse with lace detailing at the yoke of the shirt. I then added a Victorian blue head wrap and added a delightful pop of color with a pair of red crushed velvet flats.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Nifty Neutrals: Gray

It feels like it has been forever since I last made a post. Between classroom changes, classroom redecorating, a new school year, and illness; life has been in the fast lane. Now that I am on the mend, and my work load has begun to even itself out, now is the perfect time to begin blogging again. I have missed this part of my life immensely and am over joyed to have time to create outfits and write.

Continuing with my thoughts on nifty neutrals, this post is all about gray. True gray. When it comes to neutral colors, gray is a gentle alternative to black. It is sweet, semi-professional, and pairs easily with any color. Like black, it transitions well between each season, however, it is not as harsh as black. Like black, gray transitions well between work and play. Since neutrals are easy to dress up and down, I chose to focus this post on three very distinctive ways that can work well at work or on the weekend: prints, brights, and jewel tones. With these three concepts your outfits will give you a wide array of options to choose from.

1. Prints. For work, I love a blouse with a neural background with a complimentary print. My favorite neutral to pair with gray is navy. When I want to mix things up a bit, I go for a rose pink painterly print blouse, and a soft pair of chambray inspired shoes.

2. Brights. A solid blouse in a vibrant pink paired with a soft aqua blue is one of my favorite outfits to wear to work and to job interviews. It is sweet, personable and professional. I love red mixed as a an accent color against a monochrome outfit. Likewise, I love baby duck yellow as a sweet compliment to gray.

#1: Monochrome redux with black and white polka dots, black booties and a bright red scarf.

#2: Simple compliments in yellow and gray, with silver sequin shoes.

3. Jewel tones. For work, I usually reach for a cranberry cowl neck sweater and a pair of black boots, especially during the winter months. When it comes to spring and summer, well, a wonderful sapphire blue short sleeve sweater is my go to piece. I then dress it up or down with a great pair of shoes.

I went with winter for this outfit inspiration. I paired gray denim with a cranberry long sleeve cowl neck sweater, a white vest, white shimmer scarf, and a pair of gray boots.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Nifty Neutrals: Dove Gray

Dove gray is a softer hue of charcoal with a sweet lavender undertone. Dove gray is primarily a neutral and therefore works well with all colors. Instead of showing you how to wear this sweet natured neutral, I will share my favorite ways to style dove gray.

1. Professional. I tend to wear gray as a gentler alternative to black, especially when it comes to interviewing. For an interview, I like to pair dove gray with a bright solid colored blouse, and a contrasting blazer. I recently wore this ensemble to a job interview. I paired my dove gray denim skirt with a bright coral blouse and an aqua blue blazer.

2. Monochrome with a kick. Generally speaking, I dislike monochrome outfits. However, when the monochrome is broken up with a pattern it takes on a more modern look. By adding pattern to both gradient and monochrome outfits, it not only breaks up the blockiness(my word)but it adds visual interest. With this in in mind, I I paired the dove gray skirt with a white and black polka dot tee and a pair of black shoes. To cap it all off, I added a charcoal head wrap.

3. Color. The color paired with dove gray depends heavily on what season is it. During winter jewel toned hues of cranberry, emeralds, and amythest. In spring, pastels of blue, mint, and pink. During summer, the brighter the better; hot pink, royal blue, magenta, and coral. During autumn, mellow tones of mustard, navy, and earth red are a few of my favorites. Since color translates well all year long, I created several outfits for both spring/summer and fall/winter.

Spring/Summer 1: I kept late spring and early summer in mind with this transitional outfit. I paired a dove gray denim skirt with a melon pink sweater, teal cardigan, and teal head wrap. To complete the outfit, I added a pair of beaded sandals.

Spring/Summer 2: I wanted something distinctly summer with this next outfit. I paired dove gray with a duck yellow short sleeve sweater and an apple green headwrap. I then completed the outfit with a pair of tan flats.

Fall/Winter 1: I got all gussied up for fall and winter with this outfit where I styled dove gray denim with a wine purple faux wrap sweater layered over a silver embellished layering tank. I added a bit more shimmer and some burgundy with a plaid scarf. To complete the outfit, I added a pair of black boots and a burgundy headwrap.

Fall/Winter 2: The final outfit for this section is about keeping it casual. I loved the idea of a forest green sweater with dove gray denim. I also loved the visual interest and texture that came from adding a faux fur vest over the forest green sweater. The outfit was made complete by adding black booties and a forest green headwrap.

4. Make it Casual. There is nothing quite like taking an outfit that can be worn primarily for work and dressing it down for the weekend or a fun day off of work. While adding a bit of denim is one way of dressing down dove gray, so is adding print or a fun, age appropriate, graphic print tee.

#1: I went ultra-casual by styling a dove gray denim skirt with a melon patterned tank under a chambray shirt. I complete the outfit with a pair of chambray inspired flats.

#2: For this outfit, I got tropical by pairing dove gray with a tropical teal tee with a sequined pineapple graphic. I layered the pineapple tee over a lemon-lime lace camisole. To complete the outfit, I added a bright coral headwrap and some chambray inspired flats.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Nifty Neutrals: Rust

Rust is a fantastic and little known neutral color. Normally associated with autumn this reddish-brown hue pairs well with a multitude of colors and prints. Depending on the colors and prints you pair with rust, this warm color can be worn through every season.

1.Neutrals. Neutrals look chic with rust. Now depending on what color you pair with rust with rust, it will change the overall concept of the outfit. Black paired with rust looks simple and chic, and very little embellishment is needed. Navy and rust looks not only chic, but very refined. Taupe creates a simple and dressed down ensemble. Finally, white is a great way to lighten up this warm color during spring and summer.

For this outfit, I paired a cream blouse with a rust denim skirt. I then added a black military style jacket. The look is completed with a black and white lace shimmer head wrap and a pair of black felt flats.

2. Colors. Colors and neutrals were just meant to go together. Purple and rust is a fantastic autumn ensemble. Want a vintage 70s look? Wear turquoise and rust. Turquoise is a great color to freshen up rust during the summer months. Paired correctly, turquoise does not have to look vintage, but can look modern. Teal and rust creates a sweet yet modern autumn look. Emerald green is a rich jewel tone that transitions well from late autumn into the winter months. Think mid-December, collecting pine cones or searching for a Christmas tree. Want to create stark contrast between color and neutrals? Wear bright pink. Want a sweeter look? Wear light pink or rose pink. Last but not least there is mustard. As I mentioned early, rust is often associated with autumn. A great way to play up this autumn inspired hue is to pair it with mustard.

For this outfit, I was inspired by the hues of late fall and early winter. I styled a rust denim skirt with a forest green sweater. I layered a charcoal gray faux leather jacket over the sweater. The look is completed with a pair of gray faux suede boots and a forest green head wrap.

3. Denim. Dark wash denim paired with rust is causal yet sophisticated. A fantastic look for either the late summer rodeo or the local pumpkin patch. Really want a cowboy inspired look? Pair rust with light wash denim.

This outfit was simply pure fun to style. I took this rust denim skirt and simply added a dark wash button down shirt with it. The outfit is completed with a pair of chambray inspired flats and a floral print head wrap for some visual interest.

4.Metallics. Gold and silver function like neutrals. They work well with everything. When paired with other neutrals like white, gold accessories help create a sophisticated ensemble. Silver accessories paired with rust will actually help to cool down and balance this warm hue.

Metallics are always fun to style. With this outfit I went with fall inspired tones by pairing rust with a gold lace sleeve blouse and wine velvet flats. I completed the look with a soft pink and cream braided head wrap.

5. Prints. Prints are fantastic with colored denim and neutral denim. Rust has the added benefit of looking great with neutral prints and color prints. When working with prints (and with solid neutrals) it is important to have a completer piece. Simply translated, a completer piece is an article of clothing- not an accessory- that pulls the outfit together. Some ideas of completer pieces are jackets, cardigans, and blazers. When adding a completer piece, create visual interest by pairing color with a neutral print and rust, or by pairing a color jacket, cardigan, or blazer that takes its ques from a color in the print of the to you are wearing. For example, if you are wearing a teal and pink medallion print blouse, pair a peach or teal cardigan with your outfit.

While rust is associated with autumn and winter, I wanted to do something more in touch with springtime. I did this by pairing a rust denim skirt with a mojito mint short sleeve sweater which is layered under a chiffon navy floral print bomber jacket. To complete the outfit I added some silver sequin flats and a navy blue head wrap.