Fashion by Felicia
Felicia Caponigri | Tuesday, March 22, 2011
There is nothing more frightening than realizing you have become a casualty of your own “Mission to Conquer Fashion.” I came to this realization suddenly and abruptly, every morning during my study-abroad experience in Paris.
Each morning I would attempt to complete the everyday task of exiting my miniscule, closet-less room to attend class. As I would reach for the doorknob, I would pause, barely breathing, and say a deep prayer that the overloaded, rickety metal rack upon which my jackets hung would not be disturbed by the atmospheric movement that the door inevitably caused. For if it was, the rack would fall over onto yours truly, creating a domino effect.
Jackets, belts, dresses, in short the never-ending ocean of my closet, precariously draped from every hanging object in my room and myself would end up in a glorious heap on the floor. All this would of course be accompanied by a deafening crash. This would always be followed by my over-attentive landlady bursting into my room screaming very loudly in a torrent of French to make sure I had not been knocked unconscious or strangled by a hanger or other flying accessory.
As you can imagine, when this happened, the disruption to my daily pre-class “café au lait et pain au chocolat” ritual caused me no end of distress. After many bruises, two ripped outfits, and one sprained ankle, I realized I had to stage an intervention.
As I weeded out my closet one night with my friends, Wine and Brie, I realized I could actually create more fashion ensembles with fewer pieces. The key to smarter fashion strategy, and apparently surviving my room, was color combination.
Just as Mediterranean women of the Amalfi coast and the trendsetters of London embrace color creativity, so can we. And what better time than Spring to clean out the closet and incorporate the bright colors heretofore reserved for your recent Spring Break beach vacation?
The key to incorporating brights and matching colors into your wardrobe is an awareness of the color palette. Often designers will combine different colors through color blocking or a more fantastical pattern in a dress or key accessory. This can be a diving board from which to enthusiastically jump into the sea of color.
However, the key to discerning what is avant-garde, and what is prairie home companion, is a firm grasp of warm and cool colors and their relationships. For example, if you normally gravitate to an all-black ensemble, spice it up with cooler colors, such as teal blue, chartreuse green or even both. If you love red, you have two options — go for classic by pairing it with neutrals cream and camel, or find a reddish-based fuchsia, and an orange — make yourself a living sunset.
The key to crisp color presentation lies in bold strokes and solids, not small, decorative, flowery patterns. If you wear a yellow, green and blue top, pair it with a solid color pant or skirt in navy. Relate independent colors with visual ‘tocchi’ or touches. That is, if the bedazzled shoulders of your jacket are emerald green, wear a complementary green shoe or purse.
Think of yourself as an abstract painting: often the key to its beauty is its complementary colors unified by one base color, such as black or white. You can start your journey onto the proverbial ‘color brick road’ by taking advantage of high-end designer Thakoon’s colorblock dress at Target for $39.99. Watch out Jackson Pollack, new artists are in town.