Color and Sustainability

Color and Sustainability

How can finding your color help you with a sustainable wardrobe?

  • It will be easier to avoid impulse shopping by not buying colors that are not good for you
  • It will help you edit your closet by only keeping those things you love in colors that look great
  • You will have more free time because your colors will mix and match. A sustainable life also means having time to enjoy life.

The history of the fashion industry and color has not always been pretty and it is still complicated. In Victorian times Paris green was created using arsenic. Paris green was a lovely color used in garments, paint and wallpaper. If you haven’t already figured this out, arsenic is toxic. Not only were wearers at risk but the workers and artists who needed to work closely with these materials were poisoned as well. Buzzfeed wrote a short article on Paris Green that you can read here .

That is not to say that there is not still trouble in the fashion industry with color. It is cheaper and easier for fashion companies to farm out production of textiles and dying to large dyehouses and unless you have an industry representative and chemical engineer there watching every step you can’t claim to be sustainable with color (or even no color – because bleaching is involved). To begin to be sustainable, dyes have to be non toxic to workers and the environment. Water used in the dying process should be recycled and it definitely needs to be purified before being discharged into the environment.

Clothing that is produced using environmental and worker friendly dye techniques will cost more. The cost is justified. Most of us (myself included) have enough in our closets to keep us clothed for many more years. As part of my quest to be a sustainable stylist I hope to learn more about companies that walk their talk and produce clothing made with sustainable technique that is designed to last for years.

Eileen Fisher has an eco certified line that is worth a look. This beautiful washable silk top is an example.

Think natural dyes are the answer? Maybe in some cases but the growing, harvesting and processing of plants uses water and arable land as well as mordants that are not scaleable for the current level of  fashion consumption.

If your budget is constrained don’t settle for fast fashion. Make carefully considered choices from consignment or thrift stores that will take items out of the waste chain. If you buy new, think carefully before picking up that $10 top made from polyester. We and the places we buy from should be considering our impact on people and places around the world. The easiest way to do that is reduce what you consume. Knowing your colors is a first step. 

Hues, Tints, Tones, Shades

Hues, Tints, Tones, Shades

This week I was asked if I use color as a consideration in helping you find your best style. The answer is a solid yes! I love color and am writing a booklet on using it in your wardrobe as well as presenting the idea on May 1 at a casual event here in West Seattle. In the meantime I will keep discussing color as a theme for this month.

Last week I discussed warm and cool. Today I am going to discuss hues, tints, tones and shades. 

Studying the contrast between your hair, lips, skin and eyes will help you determine if you look best in hues, tints, tones or shades. Your wardrobe will play very well together if you select mostly hues, tints, tones or shades when you are incorporating new items into your closet.  

 Using a gray scale and value finder that you have picked up from an art supply store. Determine the value that matches your:

  • Skin__________
  • Lips___________
  • Eyes__________
  • Hair_____________

Determine how much contrast there is between these values and check which one applies:

                High

                Medium

                Low

This tells you how much contrast you can wear between colors, how much contrast a print should have and how much contrast your make up colors should have for you to show up as your best self. This makes it easier for your natural and unique beauty to show through.

To determine whether you should wear mainly hues, tints, tones or shades of color (more on this later) add up the values. Divide by 4. This gives you your average value. If it equals 8-9 wear  tints. If it is 2-4 use a shade, 5-7 a tone. Average values of 1 and 10 use hues. (If you are a cool and have average values of 1 or 10 black could be your color). Wearing only hues, tints, tones or shades will allow the items in your wardrobe to play very well together.

A hue is the purest form of a color. There is no white, black or gray added. These colors can be found on the outer ring of the color wheel.

A tint is the next ring in on the wheel. It has white added.

A tone is next and has gray added.

A shade is the innermost ring and has black added. 

Play around in a store or your closet and see if you can identify which colors clothes are. Keep training your eye as you learn more. Have fun.  

 

Beginning wardrobe color

Beginning wardrobe color

I love color

but I didn’t know what to do with it in my wardrobe. I fretted over what were my best colors and it often seemed nothing I had matched anything else I had. I tried diagnosing myself using online quizzes that confused me more than anything else. This is why I want to help you gain color clarity.

Why should you care about color?

Wearing colors that don’t fight with your natural colors and repeating those colors found in your eyes, hair and skin will allow others to focus on you and not what you are wearing. If you want to create discord then wear colors that don’t match you. Nothing you choose is right or wrong if it feels right to you.

 

How do you find these colors?

Let’s start with the warm-cool-neutral test. Most people have undertones in their skin that are either warm or cool. The best way to find this is to go to the fabric store and get a square of silver fabric and a square of gold fabric. Wearing no makeup,placing yourself in natural light, and wearing white in a space with a white background will greatly improve the accuracy of your results. Now simply drape  those fabrics around the front of your neck? Which color looks better? Does one make your skin look clearer than the other? Does one make those wrinkles and under eye circles fade away better than the other? If so you have an answer to the first question. You are either warm or cool. If both look equally good you are probably neutral and can wear either tone.

Grab yourself a color wheel and use it a guide to begin finding colors in the right tone for you. Start in your own closet. If you are warm (gold looks best) then locate the colors in your closet that have some yellow in them. If you are cool (silver looks best) then locate the colors in your closet that have some blue in them. You can do this by holding the yellow and blue of the color wheel up to that item and seeing which color is more harmonious with the item you have selected. This can be an item of any color. Blue items can be cool or warm and yellow items can be cool or warm. It has to do with what dyes were mixed to produce the fabric your item of clothing is made out of.

This simple exercise will begin to help you select good colors for yourself. And remember wearing colors that are similar to you will enhance your chances of being noticed, being memorable and helping make the world a cheerier place! 

Up next week tints tones and shades! Go forth and have fun.

 

If you want help gaining color clarity drop me a line.

The Fall Winter 2018 colors – Are any of them YOUR colors

The Fall Winter 2018 colors – Are any of them YOUR colors

What are your colors? Do any of them fit the fall colors Pantone is suggesting will be popular this fall and winter?

Check them out here: https://www.pantone.com/color-intelligence/fashion-color-trend-report/fashion-color-trend-report-new-york-fall-winter-2018

 

Images courtesy Pantone

There is no need to race out and get the latest colors. If they are your colors they will already be in your wardrobe. Now is the time to use those colors that fit both your palette and the latest trends to look great.

The colors above are the fall colors that also fit my palette.

Here is an outfit that challenges the style I usually wear and incorporates some of the fall colors. How will you incorporate the colors for your fall outfit?

Trail Style

Trail Style

Even on the Pacific Crest Trail which stretches from Canada to Mexico you will find a wide variety of personalities and styles. It added a little interest to my recent hundred mile walk on the trail to observe trail styles.

There are 4 categories of hikers on the trail:

  • Dayhikers
  • Thruers
  • Section hikers
  • Lashers

Their gear and outfits tell a lot about them.

Throughers are attempting the whole trail either north or southbound. You can usually tell them by their stick thin yet muscular figures (eating enough calories to walk 20-40 miles a day is a tough job) and smaller packs. Most of these folks wear low hikers, running shoes or (hard for me to believe) sandals.  Attire and personal hygiene varies greatly. There are the folks who embrace the trail and leave behind the razors and combs (which is my personal trail style). This year I saw a fair number of long hair and long bearded men and one woman who had chosen to leave the razor behind – she had the most bold style with a lovely shade of purple hair and long leg hair that had a marvelous striped pattern.

Then there are the people who are nattily attired in their lightweight camping shirts, hats and pants that screen them from the sun and bugs. Most carry a packable down coat for the times when it is cold. And they can probably leave their bug juice and sunscreen home.  I admire these people and may even try out their style one year. When I see them they look freshly laundered and groomed no matter how deep in the woods they are.

Section hikers (like myself) and lashers (long ass section hikers) tend to dress like the throughers only the beards and hair are shorter.

There is a catergory in the section hikers who are brand new hikers. You can tell them because none of their equipment is dirty or worn yet and they may be traveling slower than I am! There were a lot of these folks doing the timber ridge trail this year. Welcome! May your packs get a lot of use!

Dayhikers also have varied attire. There are the spandex suited running crowd carrying no packs and timing themselves on their 50 plus mile runs. (I will never be in this group).

There are more camp shirts and pants and there is the general tourist crowd wearing cotton shirts and jogging shoes.As they are Freshly showered and shaved and have a cold beer waiting for them at the end, I envy them.

Here is what I saw that was different on the trail:

  • Neon sleeping bags – I only saw two and that may be because they had chosen to sleep under the stars and were quite noticeable in the meadow as we hiked by. I can see this would be a big advantage in a snowstorm or other weather event. It would be much easier to find you and your bag. I found some similar bags here at Moosejaw. Neon green sleeping bags
  • Purple hiking boots 

I found these  at hiking boots .com purple hiking boots

  •  Retro style – back to the camp shirts and zip off cargo pants for hiking. This long sleeved women’s shirt with pockets also has built in sun shade to protect you from the sun.

 

I found it here at REI.com sunscreen camp shirts and found some zip off cargo pants with insect repellent built in here cargo pants with insect repellant

Last bit of eye catching trail style was the mother of the bride dress we saw while inadvertently semi crashing a bridal reception at Timber Line Lodge.

It was similar to this dress

only sleeveless and with silver instead of black detail worn by an elegant woman with a glorious head of silver hair.  image from https://www.ebay.com/i/273013350286?chn=ps

What is your trail style?

The rainiest on record

The rainiest on record

Yellow raincoat helped me beat the rain

Here in the Pacific Northwest we had the wettest wet season ever. 22.97 inches of rain between December and February. The old record was 22.27 inches set in 1998. Did it bother me? Shockingly no. I have always thought I had seasonal affective disorder or SAD. I have always lived in areas with shorter days in the winter – Northern Michigan and the Pacific Northwest. Winters are tough on me. But this year was different. I credit it to two things:

  1. Improved nutrition  including Vitamin D supplements that resulted in more energy.
  2. Giving myself permission to take time for myself to explore new things.

Every weekend day when I woke up with rain outside my window I rejoiced because it meant I would not feel guilty staying inside and working on my pattern making and sewing. I ignored the state of cleanliness of my house and did the grocery shopping another day. I didn’t work on my usual job any of the weekend days.I went downtown with a friend and had lunch at the market. Then we poked our heads into all the stores we couldn’t afford and admired their beautiful clothing.  I gave myself permission to feed my mental health and I survived. In fact I was surprised to hear we had set a record.because I didn’t even notice the rain.

Maybe my yellow raincoat helped too.

What have you done for yourself lately to feed your mental health?