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Exploring Color

Color brings emotional nuance into our lives and wardrobes.

Posted in: Creativity & Mindset • April 30, 2015

From the age of 16 to about the age of 20, I wore mostly black. Like most color choices in our wardrobe, this had reasons that were both practical and emotional. When you fill your wardrobe with black, everything matches. Buying and wearing clothes becomes very simple. Black is also an easy color to form an identity around, an intentional look that also lets you blend in, particularly if you live in New York as I did. When you are young and life is confusing, black clothes can simplify things.

Gradually I moved into a new phase: my blue period. I fell in love with blue, particularly deep indigo and bright royal blue. Blue became my signature color for a while, and even my hair was dyed a deep navy color. Whereas wearing black was mostly about safety and habit, blue was about exploring a particular feeling that this color brought into my world.

Since that time, color has come to play more and more of a role in my wardrobe, my sewing, and my life. Color expresses particular emotions that I want to experience or share with the world. It's a communication tool that can both say something about who I am and induce the feelings that I want to have.

These days, I have a particular palette of soft and airy neutrals, deep blues, warm pinks and scarlets, and soft ocean colors. And I still love the easy sophistication of black. Having a defined palette that makes me feel like me – that expresses my history, my personality, and makes me feel pretty – has been the single best thing I've done for my wardrobe and creativity in sewing.

This month, try creating your own personal palette of colors using the techniques Elizabeth Farr covers in her article, Design a Personal Color Palette. Using just a few photos, some free apps, and a selection of paint chips, you can develop a palette that feels just right for you.

You'll also learn how to dye your own fabrics using natural dyes that you grow or forage yourself in Tracy Majka's article, An Introduction to Natural Dyeing. Dyeing your own clothes and fabrics with local plants is a sustainable, safe, creative way add color to your wardrobe. It also connects you to your local environment in meaningful ways.

The Adelaide dress could be the basis of an entire summer wardrobe, made in a rainbow of colors.

This issue includes the Adelaide dress, a simple snap-front shift that will take you into summer, but can also be layered with cardigans and tights in the fall. We love it in linen and beautiful ikat weaves. Learn to install set-in snaps as you make this classic summer staple.


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