Spring is here! And with spring, come a lot of things we Cairenes dread: The finals, the heat, and the fashion colour blast! Spring is associated with colour worldwide but in Cairo, people either fear colour (perhaps because we’ve got issues with attracting unwanted attention on the streets and styling it the wrong way) or Cairenes fall victim to the fashion crime of extreme multi-coloured outfits, the kind that makes eyes sore, bellies ache and kind of reminds us of Bozo the clown.
So today we’ll overcome our colour shyness, colour blindness, as well the set of tardy rules passed down by grandparents to younger generations (No, your shoes don’t have to match your bag young ladies or your pants young men!) Here’s a guide for how to rock colour this season without anything getting in your way. (Our chic and fashionable Managing Editor, Alaa, promised to help me out with this article by his contribution of male outfits whenever possible – note; not all colour fashion rules apply for ladies and men alike)
Introducing the neutrals:
To know your colours, you must know the neutrals first, so what are neutrals? They are the basic shades from the colour spectrum that can be matched with any other colour from the spectrum without causing conflict.
To make it easy, we have shades of black (this includes jet black, onyx, charcoal, licorice, grey, and various other shades), shades of brown (this includes chocolate brown, beige, buff, chestnut, tan, taupe, camel, wood brown, rosy brown, and various other shades), shades of navy (navy blue, bright navy blue, and indigo all fall under this category), shades of white (white, ghost white, snow, smoke, linen, seashell, ivory, etc… ), and the all-time favourite dark wash blue jeans (I know this is not only a colour but also an item; still, it is considered a neutral either way)
If you own a couple of the basic colours, you are guaranteed to create a lot of flawless outfits.
Introducing the Color Wheel:
Now you know your neutrals. Let’s get to know colours. You might recognize the colour wheel from your school art class –remember the primary colours blue, red, and yellow? When mixed, they give you the secondary colours violet/purple, orange, and green and mixing primary with secondary colours produce tertiary colours! It’s simply a circle of colours that will help us guide you to how to wear colour the right way.
Starting Small with Basics
If you’re colour shy, or you’ve just started experimenting with colour one of the easy ways to start is wearing multiple neutrals together. Forget the old rules that black, brown and navy don’t mix; this is 2014!
For this outfit I paired black pants with a white and navy striped top. You could add a grey cardigan if you like to avoid the AC chills or a navy blazer for a bit of sophistication. Add a pair of brown oxfords for relaxed trendy spring vibe, and a multi-neutral coloured cross bag to complete this casual look for spring.
For this outfit, it’s all about the basics. It’s very simple and laid back. I’ve paired up a collar t-shirt, with beige chino pants, a brown belt and grey boat shoes. To top off the look (for those who dare), a straw hat, tinted shades, braided bracelets and a scarf were added for a more “impressive” look.
The Stand-out Piece
You’ll be surprised how a pop of colour added to your outfit could have you radiant and happy all day long. Here’s how to keep a neutral palette with a touch of colour to keep it interesting.
This outfit is a little extreme so fair warning! I’ve matched up a dark basic shirt with dark trousers. To dim out the darkness, I’ve added a bright blue belt and grey casual shoes with light blue soles to match with the belt. It’s more of a night out outfit and be sure that you’ll be the centre of the party!
Complementary/ Contrasting Colours
Complementary colours are any two colours on the colour wheel opposite each other; when mixed together they produce the colour black, when paired together the contrast beautifully. One of the most famous complementary colour pairs are yellow and purple/violet; but today I’ll go for less famous combination orange & blue!
One clever way to wear colour, is to match a bright shade with a light shade. In this outfit I matched a bright orange blouse with light blue jeans, cool blue earrings, and kept the rest neutral with nude sandals, a straw bag and a silver necklace.
*The product became unavailable by the time we published this article.
Some prefer matching to contrast; let’s face it not everyone’s a fan! If you are, don’t go all matchy, matchy! The monochrome look is a classic look where you match different shades of the same colour, not the exact same colour. Here’s how to do the monochrome.
For a more laid back style (and for the Marina enthusiasts), a blue t-shirt with light blue shorts paired up with a denim waistcoat. I matched them up with dark blue espadrilles and black sunglasses.
Stay tuned for next month’s article; we’ll be discussing how to wear colour even further.
Will you be adding more colour to your closets this spring? Do you have certain colour rules passed down to you that you live by? Share them with us & let us know what you think!