A Complete Course in Dressmaking/Lesson 1/Becoming colors
For the Blonde.
For the Brunette.
For the blue-eyed girl with brown hair.
For the auburn haired girl.
For the woman with gray hair.
If your complexion is sallow.
If your complexion is florid.
If you are stout.
For the Blonde.—Match up your eyes if you want a really becoming color scheme. Haven’t you always heard that blue belongs to blondes? That’s because blondes usually have blue eyes.
Fig. (20) Match your eyes if you want a becoming color scheme.
You know, when an artist is studying color composition he learns that a repetition of a different tone of the same color intensifies it. So if your eyes are dark blue and you wear a pretty gray blue or peacock blue watch ribbon, for instance, with your navy blue dress, your eyes will seem bleur and more sparkling.
If you are very fair and have a clear skin and color, black will also become you. People with sallow complexions ought to avoid black, for it absorbs all light and doesn't give a pretty reflected glow to help out pale skin.
Of course, the blonde can wear pastel shades, almost any of them—pale blue, ender, shell pink or light green. However, you will be wise to avoid yellow tones as they give too little contrast.
You must remember the importance of contrast in your cloth dress or suit. It is a great mistake for a blonde to wear a sand colored suit or dress. If your hair is very light, dark shades will tone it and make it seem even more yellow. For street wear make your choice among the dark blues, dark browns, dark greens or black. Have a dash of color in the trimming—some becoming light shade. A soft silvery blue, for instance, on navy blue or brown is better for the blonde than the introduction of a vivid shade such as scarlet on navy or orange on brown. Leave these vivid contrasts for the brunette.
Another way of working up a becoming color scheme for a suit or top coat is to have the suit or coat dark blue and the lining hydrangea blue.It gives such a pleasing note of color when you open the coat.
In cotton frocks lavender or the medium and light shades of blue and green are the wisest choice for the blonde.
For evening the pastel colors, except yellow, are all good. White is also becoming to a blonde if it is combined with a touch of light color, such as blue.
For the Brunette.—As blue is the color for blondes, so brown is the color for brunettes, ranging right
Fig. (21) Browns are for brunettes. through to orange and the copper shades. The one exception to this rule is the brunette with blue eyes. If you have dark hair and blue eyes probably you will find that blue becomes you.
Red is another shade that brunettes and only brunettes can wear successfully.
There are light shades a brunette looks well in but they must be more intense than the blonde wears. Here are some evening shades for the brunette—greenish blue, on the turquoise order, apricot, peach, orange, lavender and flame.
Of course, dark brown is one of the best street shades for the brunette. However, it is by no means the only one. Brickish reds and. the wine shades, which are now permissible as far as good style is concerned for the street, certainly help a brunette to look her best.
A brunette can also wear navy blue if she remembers to introduce one of her special secondary colors such as tan or orange.
If your hair is black, or a very dark brown, hunt out the reds in the cottons for your summer frocks. There are lovely red checked ginghams, swisses and plain organdies. Cottons come in good looking brown tones too, which you can wear well. If you want something lighter, try a yellow or apricot organdie. Lavender is often becoming to the brunette, especially the lavenders that have a good deal of pink in them. You know there is a difference—some lavenders have more blue and some more pink. Remember that the blue lavenders belong to the blonde.
Black is not as apt to become a brunette as it is a blonde. However, if you have a very clear skin and lots of color you can probably wear it. It's a good idea to relieve it with a vivid touch of color, such as jade green or cerise. For instance, a black lace evening gown ought to have a sash of either shade.
The same rule holds true in wearing white. Use a vivid color to relieve it. You need more intense colors than the blonde to bring out the coloring in your hair and eyes. Although the reddish purples, which are sometimes called the fuchsia colorings, are rather trying, they are becoming to some brunettes.
For the Blue Eyed Girl with Brown Hair.—You are the in-between girl.
Fig. (22) There are colors which will help to bring out the pretty lights in your hair.
probably if you were named you would be called a "blondette." Your coloring permits you to wear most the shades that a blonde wears and you can also have some of the brunette's colors.
Of course, with blue eyes, blue in all its shades will be sure to become you. Since your hair is brown, dark brown shades ought to look well on you.
Perhaps you can carry out this little scheme and have both the coloring of your eyes and hair.
With a brown suit and a white blouse try a narrow watch ribbon or neck bow of double-faced ribbon—brown on one side and gray blue on the other.
You really have a wider choice in colors than either the real blonde or the real brunette. Take your street dresses and suits for instance. Since your hair is fairly dark, you can wear the light tan which is taboo for the yellow haired girl. On the other hand, for evening, you can wear a pastel shade if it happens to take your fancy.
But to go back to street clothes, you have your choice of tan, brown, dark blue or any of the pretty reds that happen to be worn. If you are blessed with a good color and a fair skin, then you can wear a light gray. If your skin is sallow, taupe, which is gray with a little brown in it, will be more becoming. Whether or not you can wear black depends on your skin. If you have a clear skin, you will probably look well in black.
Where your costume is either white or black, try to introduce a note of color, such as hydrangea or peacock blue. It will make your eyes seem prettier, you know.
In cottons, the soft gray blues will probably be your wisest choice. Remember that you can wear the bluish lavenders too, and yellow will intensify the lights in your hair and not detract from it.
Light shades for evening will probably suit you better than vivid shades. Lavender, light blue, light green or yellow are all good.
You will find it a good rule not to wear the too vivid shades. It takes a real brunette to carry off a whole gown of flame color or peacock blue. With your coloring, you cannot stand more than a touch of these colors in the trimming. On the other hand, the colorings of your hair, eyes and skin are too intense for the very palest of pastel shades. You will have to study the degree of color that you choose.
You need more intense shades than the blonde, but not as vivid as the brunette can wear.
If Your Hair is Auburn.—What you need is contrast, but not a vivid contrast. Let your pretty hair be the interesting spot of color.
Black will do wonders in bringing out the beauty of auburn hair.
If your eyes are blue, you will wear dark navy blue well. However, avoid the light or vivid shades of blue. Being what is called a complementary color to red, they intensify it. A vivid blue will make your hair seem a more brilliant shade and you don't want that.
There are many neutral shades for street wear that will become you among the grays and taupes.
A very dark greenish brown is also good, but a reddish brown is seldom becoming. It's too near your own colorings. Of course, the same holds true of red. Green, except, the very darkest shades, come under the rule of too great a contrast.
The auburn haired woman may safely choose any of the darker shades of blue for her cotton frocks. There are lovely grays, too, in gingham, organdie, linen and batiste that she will look well in. Tan if it isn't too red, is becoming. The auburn haired woman always looks well in white. If there is any color introduced in the white frock for daytime wear, it must be subdued, as for instance, a cluster of silk flowers or fruit in tones of dull gray blue and lavender on a white frock.
Some auburn-haired women wear certain shades of blue lavender well but you want to select it carefully. Under no circumstances wear a red lavender. You know it varies.
Even for evening the auburn-haired woman is wise to select a black gown—black lace or net—or if you are very young, black taffeta. All white, of course, is always becoming or you may have a vivid contrast with it for evening as a torquoise blue or a jade green girdle of ribbon or tulle. Such decided contrasting colors can be used for evening if they are not placed too near to the hair.
There are lovely gowns, too, of gold lace and gold cloth and brocade which are becoming to a woman with auburn hair.
If You Have Gray Hair.—Certainly if your hair is gray, you ought to have no difficulty finding pretty clothes. There are so many, many lovely shades that seem to be intended for the woman with gray hair.
Fig. (23) The grey haired woman will do well to remember the becoming touch of white at the throat. There used to be a time when a woman grew a little older that she gave up all the pretty colors and wore only gray and black. But they don't do that any more.
Did you know that a very light and soft shade of pink is just about the most becoming color you can wear? You might have a nice little informal dinner dress of pink chiffon or a pink silk skirt with a matching color chiffon blouse. Such a skirt and blouse topped with a becoming sweater, perhaps of light gray wool, make a smart costume for out-of-doors in the summer.
Blue, orchid and lavender shades go prettily with gray touch of white hair, too. There are also soft shades of light blue which are becoming. But don't use very much of the blue. Just an edge of gray blue and silver ribbon showing beyond the neck edge of a navy blue frock will tone it attractively.
For street wear you have quite a variety from which to choose. Navy blue, gray, henna and neutral shades such as taupe.
If your skin is clear and you have good color you can wear black well.
In cottons, there are lovely flower sprigged dimities in gray and blue tones which are becoming to an older woman. Gray swiss dotted in blue is another good choice for the gray haired woman. Black and white effects too in voile, dimity, and swiss are considered very smart.
For evening, an older woman may choose a pastel shade of gray blue or lavender and be dressed in perfect taste. Gray chiffon over a silvery blue chiffon makes an exquisite dinner dress. Brocades come in lovely shades of gray blue and lavender too, for evening. As I said before, you can wear black if your skin is clear, and of course, black is always nice for evening. The older women's evening gown, black and silver is a dignified combination.
If Your Complexion is Sallow.—As I said before avoid black. It absorbs all color and doesn't give a reflected glow to help out a pale skin.
Neither is it a good plan to wear brown or yellow tones. As they intensify the yellow tinge of the skin.
It will probably surprise you to know that you can wear a peach shade which has pink and yellow in it and your skin will look whiter. It's just a curious little fact about color. If you place a color that has two shades in it along side of one of the shades the two like shades will seem to disappear.
It is true that colors do very definite things. Colors which are opposite each other on the color wheel, see Fig. (26), intensify each other.
Fig. (24) A red umbrella will do wonders in the way of lightening up a sallow complexion.It's just like the law of gravity—a fact we have to remember and accept. This explains why you can't wear blue purple. It's another color that will intensify the yellow tinge in your skin.
I am going to ask you to look at the color wheel, Fig. (26). You will see that blue purple and yellow are opposite each other. Read the colors that are opposite each other. You will probably recall having seen some of the opposite colors together, and that they did intensify each other.
Neutral tones are your safest choice. A taupe dress with the vest edged with the tiniest bit of old rose and gold ribbon ought to look well or you might have a gray dress with a touch of henna. Probably an all henna dress would prove very becoming. Remember the importance of a touch of cream color or white at the neck.
Just about the best rule a woman with a sallow complexion can follow is to look for warm rosy tints. If you choose brown, hunt out a warm reddish brown. A greenish brown is to be avoided. A navy blue that is a red blue, not a greenish blue, will become you if you touch it up with a little rose trimming—perhaps it will only be a placque enameled in rose, worn on a silk cord. Rose or henna wool embroidery is an effective way, too, of introducing the needed color.
For a dinner dress or evening dress, you will do well to make your choice a subdued rose shade as gray or taupe chiffon over rose chiffon. Another way of bringing in the rose tint in such a frock is to bead a gray, a navy blue, or a taupe chiffon with rose crystal beads.
When you are choosing accessories to go with your street clothes, remember that a rose tint will seem to bring a becoming glow to your cheeks. Perhaps you can wear a creamy old rose wool scarf with your tailored suit. Or you may be able to tuck a rose-colored flower on the brim of your hat. Even a rose colored pocket handkerchief will help out a drab costume.
Another item which has its importance so far as color is concerned is your umbrella. I hope it isn't green. Really there is nothing so trying for the woman with a sallow complexion as a green umbrella. It even robs a rosy cheek of all its color. Navy blue isn't especially good, either. And black never adds to your appearance. If you want to look your very best in the rain, choose a red umbrella, or a reddish brown one.
If Your Complexion is Florid.—Sometimes I think the woman with a florid complexion has just about the most difficult problem in selecting becoming clothes. Perhaps you have had the experience of selecting a frock and trying it on when your face wasn't flushed, and it was becoming, and when you wear it your face flushes up, and it isn't becoming.
You can't trust your complexion, so you will have to go more by rule.
No doubt you already know that you can't wear red—that red reflects red in your face.
It may be too that you have learned from bitter experience that blue green makes your face more florid. Does it puzzle you? If you will look at the color wheel on page 67 you will find it's opposite red and therefore what is called a complementary color. Not because we know the reason why, but because we have to accept the fact—complementary colors intensify each other.
However, if you wear purple, it will lessen the color of the skin for purple is made up of red and blue.
The two like shades will disappear. I have explained the reason for this in my suggestions for a Sallow Complexion.
Black is excellent for you for it absorbs all light and doesn't reflect color in your face. As a matter of tact, it will seem to take away some of the color from your face. The same is true of very dark shades of brown and green as they absorb nearly all color.
The neutral shades such as taupe, dull gray, blue, and gray lavender, you can wear, as the gray tones them down.
In neck wear, you will find a cream color more becoming than dead white, which offers such a decided contrast to your skin. I might add that all white is not as becoming to the woman with a florid complexion as shades which neutralize the color in her face.
Your very wisest choice in an evening gown will be black. Don't be tempted to relieve it with a brilliant dash of color. It will prove far more becoming combined with a little cloth of silver or gold, or a few subdued flowers in dull blue and lavender tones.
I want to add a bit of caution about your umbrella. Don't be tempted to buy a red umbrella. Even in the rain you won't need the reflected red glow of it in your face. There is the question of the green umbrella, too. You certainly don't want to bring green
Fig. (25) If you are stout, cross the vivid, the light shades and white off your shopping list. so near your face. Black or dark blue is a better choice for you.
If You Are Stout.—How much thought have you given to color. Just the mere lines of a dress won't make you look slimmer if the color is wrong.
It's the inconspicuous colors that will make you look smaller. Black absorbs all light and is by far the most slenderizing shade you can choose, if black can be called a shade.
White, which does just the opposite, reflects all light, will make you appear larger.
Neutral shades, such as gray and taupe are excellent for they blend in with the surroundings and are most inconspicuous.
Dark shades of brown or blue are permissible. Avoid any bright or light shade, as it will call attention to your size.
Take an inventory of your wardrobe and see how many light dresses you have. haps it hasn't occurred to you that there are just as many pretty dark cottons as light ones. Voiles, linens, and crepes all come in dark shades now. As a matter of fact, dark cottons are considered smart.
You can always lighten them up, you know, with white at the throat, and perhaps in a vest front.
I might speak about color in trimmings, too. You may indulge your liking for brightness in trimmings if you choose, but be careful where you place the bright spot. As a matter of fact, it's better to make it a narrow piping or binding than a spot. An edge of bright red or green or peacock blue to outline a vest front, to finish the sleeve, or across a collar is quite permissible, and often the stylish touch to the garment. However, it is not advisable to sew a bright piping crosswise on the garment or to outline a large piece. Keep your piping running up and down for the best effect.