Saturday, May 25, 2013

Personal Coloring - The Basics of Color

Key # 2 - Part 3 - of The 5 Keys to Dressing Well

Personal Coloring - The Basics of Color

Our bodies have a unique color pattern, we need to choose colors that enhance it.

Let's talk about hues: hues are the common names we use to refer to colors, such as: blue, green, red, yellow, purple, etc.

There are six basic hue families: the reds, the oranges, the yellows, the greens, the blues,  and the violets or (purples).

When we talk about colors we use names that are very descriptive, we may refer to food or animals to name them, such as peach, salmon, canary yellow, apple green, etc. This is important because when we just talk about colors and can't show them visually, we need to have tools that can help us and everyone picture the color in their minds. At the end of this post there is a list of color names for your reference.
Color also has temperature - We can categorize hues are either warm or cool. 
Psychologically we give colors temperature: so the reds, yellows and oranges,  are usually regarded as warm, they remind us of fire, the sun, the power of aggression.
The blues, violets and greens, remind us of cold splashes of water, shadows under trees, mountain tops, deep blue skies, these colors are often associated with distance, calm, tranquility, and coolness. 
Thus hues can either be warm or cool. The warm hues are more yellow. Cool hues are like the sky and water they recede in the background.

Primary colors - red yellow and blue.
There are other terms you should be familiar with, they are:
Value: it describes how light or dark a color is.
Chroma: it refers to the purity of a color. How clear or muted a color is.
Harmony: the way we combine certain colors.

Now let's go back to the temperature of colors, beacuse here lies a lot of the relevance we will give to them when choosing our own palette.

We said that the reds, oranges, and yellow are warm, and the blues, violets and greens are cool. That is just to begin with. That is the psychological association we give to color. But colors also have a relative temperature that depends on how it is mixed, let's see, for example if you look at the color wheel the red, if it is mixed with blue, it becomes Red-Violet, and has a cooler temperature, the same thing happens, with yellow when mixed with green, Yellow-Green.
This especially happens with greens that although they are considered cool, they are a mixture of both yellow (warm) and blue (cool). All oranges are warm, because they are made up of red and yellow (both warm). I believe orange is one of the most difficult colors to wear well.   But sometimes we can change its value, and make it work! 


Let's continue with the orange, it can either be very dark or very light. This relative darkness or lightness is called value. We can add white to an orange pigment and make it lighter, thus changing its value, but what we can never do with orange is change its temperature. If we do it will no longer be orange. Usually when colors are light they appear "tinted" or whitish. We can also add black to orange to make it darker. It will appear shaded, deepened, and weighty. Usually when colors are darkened by adding black they are considered: serious, profound, mysterious.
There are other ways to lighten and darken colors, and also to mix them, but I am not going to go further into this, for now. It is not necessary for our purpose, and I don't want to complicate things.


This is very important when it comes to choosing our wardrobe also. Colors can be clear, which means the pigment is very pure, or muted which means the color was combined with its complementary color or shaded with gray to soften it down. Clear colors are bright and vibrant and tend to reflect light. Muted colors appear misty, veiled, and de-intensified. Muted colors are gentle, soft, and can be also subtle.


Harmony is the combination of hues, and we use it in clothing to achieve a certain look and style. 
Harmonies can be:
  • Monochromatic: only one color, use one hue (e.g. all blues, light blue top and navy blue pants)  Same hue is with different values. 
  • Triadic: the harmony created by hues that are equidistant from each other on the wheel (e.g. red/yellow/blue or green/orange/violet)
  • Analogous: two or three hues that appear side by side on the color wheel (e.g. reds/violets/blues)
  • Complementary: Two hues that appear opposite each other on the color wheel. (e.g. red/green, orange/blue, yellow/violet)  

Following is a list of common names for different colors: 
    Ivory - Champagne- Cappuccino - Toffee - Copper- Russet- Bronze - Gold - Tan - Olive - Chocolate - Beige - Walnut - Sable - Avocado - Olive - Fuchsia -  Herb - Forest Green - Cedar Green - Teal - Navy- Aqua - Patel Blue - Azure - Royal Blue - Periwinkle - Sapphire - Cool Turquoise - Jade - Blue-green - Emerald - Hunter green - Moss - Balsam - Spruce - Celery - Kelly green - Apple green - Lime - Citron  - Ginger - Tawny-  Plum - Eggplant - mauve - aubergine - butter-cup - Marigold - Tangerine - Peach - Poppy - Coral - Apricot - Salmon - Pumpkin - Brick - Wine - Burgundy - Merlot - Pastel pink - Cerise - Crimson - watermelon - Chinese red - True red - Indigo - Apricot - Smokey Coral - Cherry red - Stone - Pewter - Cocoa - Winter white - Off white - Pearl - Cream - Acorn 

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