For a while, upon the advice of Carole Jackson in her book Color Me Beautiful, I chose camel as my wardrobe's neutral tone. But camel (a kind of warm brown) never inspired me. I tend toward analogous color schemes, so when I wore camel, I would pair it with brown, pumpkin, or tan... which is a perfectly fine look if you're a scifi desert dweller, but not a happy look for me.
A few times, my loving family would say I needed something to make my face "pop"--which is to say that I was melting into a camel puddle. (Khaki gives me the same problem!) I can wear it, but I need to ditch the analogous color scheme and put something bright and contrasting next to my face. However, what's the point of wearing something that doesn't make you happy? Camel didn't make me happy.
So now I'm experimenting with using gray as a neutral. There are a lot of different grays... some more blueish, others variations on light black. I like dove gray. But it's definitely not recommended for my complexion... so what to do? I definitely can't go analogous--blues and silvers are also unflattering on me. So I look for warm contrasting colors. I have lots of scarves, jewelry, and accessories in rose pink, which looks fetching with gray.
Gray and pink - classy with pearls. I like a rich pink, not an insipid pastel one.
Gray and teal - easy to get wrong... sometimes the two next to each other seem to vibrate unpleasantly. Maybe as part of a triad, with a mutually complementary color in between?
Gray and gold - distinguished and unusual. Rich but not noveau riche.
Gray and amber - not as successful as gray and gold. At least not to me.
Gray and yellow - I'm not a fan.
Gray and green -- blah if the saturation is too low, but if the gray has low saturation and the green is rich, it's like moss overtaking a stone. Several green plants actually combine green with gray, like sage (the herb), or blue spruce. So: God-approved!
Gray and red - vivid and modernist. An aggressive combo; not relaxing.
Gray and orange - similar to gray and red. It's dynamic, but doesn't suit my personality.
To sum it up: if the hues and saturation work together, gray can be paired with warm colors to very good effect. So now I have a few gray staples in my wardrobe, including gray wool slacks that I quite like. I even made a blue-gray dress, with a wide scoop neck, that I usually pair with a gold scarf.
Recently, someone informed me that "blush" is the new neutral, a trending color. I generally don't pay attention to trends, but if a trend works for me, I may adopt it. As it happens, I do look good in blush. Perhaps I should experiment!
So what is your favorite neutral color?
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