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Kings Mountain, North Carolina, United States
"A mind lively and at ease" is a blog by a first-generation Russian-Ukrainian immigrant Maria K. (Maria Igorevna Kuroshchepova). An engineer by education, an analyst by trade, as well as a writer, photographer, artist and amateur model, Maria brings her talent for weaving an engaging narrative to stories of life, fashion and style advice, book and movie reviews, and common-sense and to-the-point essays on politics and economy.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Look book - essential garments - color

Do not be afraid of color. It is not that I encourage you to swath yourself in key lime or magenta. However, even if you are a hard-core all-black wardrobe sort of person, color can be your friend. Remember, Johnny Cash practically invented the monochromatic black - and even he didn't wear it all the time.

Color is a great tool for experimenting and expressing yourself. It also works in reverse - if your mood doesn't match what you want it to be, you can wear a color that you know peps you up to at least somewhat change your outlook. Color can be used in various doses and for various purposes - from subtle accents to full-on eye catchers.

After spending most of my childhood in a brown school uniform, and some more time in the standard office white blouse/black skirt uniform, I finally started embracing color sometime around my mid-20s. I can't say that all of my experiments were successful, but I have definitely learned a lot.

Slowly but surely, I came up with my own suite of colors. Most of my best hues are jewel tones - deep purples and blues. I also wear a lot of red and turquoise. I do love yellow and orange, but I have to be careful with them. I can only wear them in the summer, when I have some tan. In the winter, I get so pale that I look jaundiced in yellow. After being misguided, as so many other people, that "black goes with everything", I finally realized that black takes all the life out of the more subtle colors, and started combining colors with brown and gray instead. My favorite combinations are red and gray, any shade of blue and chocolate brown, as well as dark purple with bright red accents. I also taught myself to add a "pop" of color to neutral monochromatic outfits. For instance, I might brighten up a very basic black t-shirt and jeans combination with a pair of bright orange shoes, wear a classic gray dress with a red bag, or a business suit with a deep purple laptop tote.

While many books on fashion and style provide color palettes that correspond to people's coloring - skin tone, eye color and hair color - they are not very reliable. Finding colors that suit you is a process. You pick a bunch, stand in front of the mirror in good daylight and hold them up to your face. What effect does each color have on how you look? Does it make your eyes sparkle? Does it brighten up your skin? Or do you look like you are getting ready to go to a Halloween party as a ghost or a drowning victim?

Set aside the colors that make you look and feel the best, and see how you can work them in with your neutrals. As our skin and hair changes with age, so do the colors that suit us. Remember that, and do an occasional color check over time.

Embrace the rainbow and happy coloring!

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