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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
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How to Simplify Fashion
Someone mentioned having difficulty with fashion choices, especially color matching. I've done a lot of research on this due to some Terramagne stores working a lot better than here, and characters having different and distinctive tastes. So I listed some ways to make life easier if you find clothing choices a chore instead of a joy ...


I have found the 4x4 wardrobe a fantastic capsule for when you need a good selection of clothes in different types. If you made one for each season, or sets for different purposes like home and work, you could easily fill a closet this way.

For a weekend to a week, I highly recommend Whatever's Clean 13. You literally cannot clash that. It has a couple of cool tricks using this template.

* It's arranged in a spectrum, so you can go cooler-warmer or casual-dressy, etc. There is no premade example, but masculine-feminine is also an option.

* If you put all your patterned pieces (plaids, florals, etc.) in one row, they will never be worn together so they won't clash and don't have to match each other.


Here are some hacks for color matching.

1) You can use standard rules.

* All the neutrals (black, gray, white, brown, tan, cream) go with each other, although some specific shades work better than others; you can't clash neutrals.  Here is a 4x4 in neutrals.  To avoid boredom, consider animal prints or colorblocking.

* One bright color with one neutral is also a pretty safe bet. Most of those look good. Some are very common, like blue/white, pink/gray, red/black.

* Lighter and darker shades of the same color almost always work too: navy/sky, red/pink, violet/lavender, etc.

* Any multicolored item may be matched with a solid item in one of its colors. Look at this multicolor skirt with a black top. That top could also be beige, cerulean, or hot pink. When you buy a multicolored item, consider buying (or making sure you already own) solids in several of its component colors. Most multicolors include either black or white, and these are easiest to match.


2) Adaptive equipment helps too:

* Upload a photo of your face to Color Chromatic to get suggestions of colors that would look good on you. Colors that are close to each other on the wheel will probably match too. The pastels are on the inside, the darks are on the outside, and if you follow an arc you see shades of one color.

* Use color theory. You can actually buy a pocket color wheel to carry while shopping to help you match things. Warm colors usually match each other; cool colors match each other. Using contrasts is harder to get right.

* Try some fashion apps.

https://insideoutstyleblog.com/2016/03/readers-favourite-style-and-wardrobe-apps.html

https://www.lifewire.com/best-color-matching-apps-4178379


3) Get someone else to do the matching for you.

* Start a capsule wardrobe with one garment or piece of jewelry that uses 2+ colors. As it was made by a professional, those colors will almost certainly match. Buy other things in solid colors equivalent to those represented in the example.

* Search "clothing capsule" and what you want -- "blue" or "summer" etc. -- and look at pictures until you find a set you'd enjoy wearing. Print out that image (for store shopping) or bookmark it (for online shopping) and then try to find pieces that match those as closely as possible. Here's a main page for 4x4 since you like that.

* Ask a friend to shop with you. Artists, photographers, interior decorators, clothing clerks, quilters, knitters, scrapbookers, and gardeners are just a few people who routinely deal in color matching. Bear in mind that they may see colors differently, and ask nicely for them to simplify that down to a range of colors you recognize.


4) Minimize shopping to avoid stress. A good way is to rely on a basic wardrobe plus accents.

* Use a Common Wardrobe in whatever color(s) or purpose you like. These things will go with a wide range of other garments.

* Use the French 5-piece wardrobe. The idea is to rely on a classic core and add just 5 new things per season. In your case, it'll be easier if you buy a set of 5 things in the same or similar color together, so you know they match, rather than one at a time. Here's a periwinkle F5 with gray & white common wardrobe. If you update your wardrobe twice a year, then chuck out the previous year's F5 from that season, and you'll minimize the chance of clashing while keeping your wardrobe fresh.


5) Buy things in sets.

* Many designers make a "line" of garments meant to mix and match. If you buy a several of those, they'll go together.

** Vacay is a great example, despite the expense, because they show how to add a few essentials from your wardrobe to their capsule, like this Hamptons set. To make it into a larger wardrobe, add: a denim jacket, long blue jeans, a white cardigan, a white midiskirt, white shorts, a coral sweater, coral capris, a short-sleeved T-shirt of each color, and a long-sleeved shirt of each color. If you don't add more patterns, everything matches. If you want more diversity, though, consider a tricolor tie-dye, floral, or Breton stripe.

** Vetta offers several capsules with different themes.  Most use black, white, and gray but some have blue or blush pink.  These aren't just easy to match; most garments are convertible, reversible, and/or otherwise versatile.

** Universal Standard sells their basics in kits, like the Starter Kit (assorted colors) or Summer Foundation Kit (all black, white, heather, navy). Most of their colors match with each other.

* Get on a manufacturer's website or store rack and buy a bunch of different garments all in the same color. Frex, Vacay uses a lot of black, white, and navy so that most of their garments match easily. Building a 4x4 or Whatever's Clean 13 this way is a snap. One navy 2-piece dress, one navy/white 2-piece jumpsuit, 2 navy convertible dress/skirts, 2 navy tops = two 4x4 cores. Do a Core of Four each in white, navy, and black -- that's most of a wardrobe, just tie it together with some bicolor prints.  

* When you find a garment you love, buy it in several colors. Any package of 4 compatible T-shirts = 1 Mileage Four unit in the 4x4 template. 7 different flannel shirts + jeans = autumn wardrobe.  Tie-dye T-shirts + solid shorts = summer wardrobe.  7 multicolored skirts + solid peasant blouses = Bohemian wardrobe.  Universal Standard has a Tee Shop

* If you often spill things on yourself, have small children or pets who get you messy, or otherwise need to change clothes often then buy with changes in mind.  Get a batch of 2-4 tops in the same style but different colors, or the same color with different designs printed on the front.  Choose several bottoms that match all those tops equally well, such as blue jeans for cool colors or khakis for warm colors.  Then think of each set not as four different tops, but one top plus several replacements.  Store them together so it's easy to find the next one when you need it.  Spill something, take off Top #1, put on Top #2, and so on.

* You can also find sweater sets (cardigan and blouse) or twinsets (top and bottom), which are fantastic if they have a pattern because they match each other but can be mixed with other solid colors.

** Vacay sells 2-piece dresses and rompers designed for maximum versatility. If you are willing and able to pay a premium to reduce closet stress, this kind of clothing is an excellent investment.

** Dresshead sells 2-piece jumpsuits. Some are solids, others bold patterns. One tropical jumpsuit makes a great statement piece.

* Most things sold in sets will be compatible. Frex, a batch of T-shirts in red, yellow, blue, and green will all go with jeans. I made a Disability Pride Flag capsule post along these lines.

* If you pick your favorite of the Pantone colors offered new each season, it will be easy to find things in it and you will be "in fashion." You can buy a 4x4 or French 5-piece set that matches, and call it done.


6) Conversely, you can emphasize one thing.

* I had a professor who wore only purple, counting jeans as indigo. It worked for her. If that's too much, consider a single category. My partner Doug prefers black t-shirts with pictures or words on them as his "uniform shirts" because he can wear them without needing to worry about color matching, as he favors black or gray pants.

* A wardrobe emphasizing one-piece garments will minimize the amount of matching required. Here's a dress capsule for example.


7) Try to determine whether you are "warm" or "cool" in tone. Use that as a search term. Always pick colors you like and feel good in.

* Some ideas for warm tones:

https://www.theviviennefiles.com/2012/10/another-common-wardrobe-warm-colors.html/

https://www.theviviennefiles.com/2017/11/warm-winter-common-wardrobe.html/

https://www.theviviennefiles.com/2015/08/a-summer-common-wardrobe-in-warm-tones.html/

https://www.theviviennefiles.com/2014/09/a-4-by-4-wardrobe-in-teal-wine-olive.html/

* Some ideas for cool tones:

https://www.theviviennefiles.com/2015/08/my-wardrobe-revisiting-common-wardrobe.html/

https://www.theviviennefiles.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/3.ACommonWardrobeinnavyandwhite.jpg

https://www.theviviennefiles.com/2018/05/final-phase-of-building-a-wardrobe-based-on-an-owl-photograph.html/

https://www.theviviennefiles.com/2014/01/breaking-all-usual-packing-rules-navy.html/








9) Garanimals is a clothing line for children, for which the tags are coded to assist matching. All garments with the same style of tag will match each other. Sadly, there is no adult equivalent in this dimension. What you can do is ask a fashion-fluent friend to help you tag clothes in sets that mix and match. If you need more than one clothing capsule, especially with incompatible palettes, this is a good way to distinguish them.

http://www.creativecolorschemes.com/resources/free-color-schemes/earth-tone-color-scheme.shtml

http://www.creativecolorschemes.com/resources/free-color-schemes/gray-tone-color-scheme.shtml

http://www.creativecolorschemes.com/resources/free-color-schemes/elegant-color-scheme.shtml

http://www.creativecolorschemes.com/resources/free-color-schemes/art-deco-color-scheme.shtml


10) For my vision-impaired friends ...

* Use textures to create interest.

** Choose rich textures that you like. Silk, velvet, lace, linen, leather, etc. all have their own feel. Knit and crochet create dramatic patterns that you can enjoy by touch. Some fabric paint has a puff texture.

** Dress in one color but use different textures. This almost always looks and feels good.

** Colorblock garments mix two or more colors in big pieces. These are often sewn together so you can feel the seams of the design yourself. Match a colorblock item with a solid item in any of its colors, such as a red-black-white sweater with black pants.

* Here are some labeling options.

https://www.perkinselearning.org/technology/blog/clothing-choices-blind-and-visually-impaired

https://www.feelipa.com/for-visually-impaired/

http://www.coloradd.net/code.asp

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