High-contrast color choices in your wardrobe create a bit of ‘drama’ and interest – black and white is one classic high-contract combination, and colors that are opposites on the color wheel also cause the eye to follow them. High contrast color combinations are best incorporated when your own coloring is also high contrast. For instance – someone with a relatively light skin tone, dark hair and dark eyes is considered high contrast because of the difference between their hair, skin and eyes.
The prototypical high contrast woman would be the cartoon character Snow White – she of the black hair, very fair skin and dark eyes. It’s the difference between the colors that brings the interest level up and also makes the individual more interesting to look at. That is not to say that people with a lower contrast to their coloring – think the prototype Scandanavian with light skin, ice-blue eyes and blond hair – are not equally attractive. They are visually pleasing to the eye in a different way – there is a certain harmony to someone whose eyes, skin and hair are all similar in tone.
For my activities on this day, I stepped out on a limb, so to speak, and put together a combination I’d never worn before. The jacket is an old favorite – black imitation leather – and was purchased many years ago through the Weekenders line of direct sale clothing. Unfortunately, Weekenders no longer is in operation, but the jacket is one that I wear quite often. When I find a good real leather replacement I’ll retire this one, but until that time, it’s a very versatile and often-worn jacket. I often pair this jacket with ornate bronze earrings which match the single button on the jacket. It’s a common theme among fashion – repeat certain colors, finishes or metals to add emphasis.
The length of your jacket is also important – and as a taller woman, I occasionally have to leave jackets behind in the store if they do not fit my proportions. I am tall, but most of my height is in my legs – my body is not extraordinarily long. Many women have a longer body than they do legs, and that can affect how you purchase and wear clothing.
To determine if you are short-waisted or long-waisted, try this test:
Start at the base of your bra (right at the band), then use your hands to find your natural waist
If the difference between your bra band and your natural waist is much LESS than two “hand widths” (i.e. 1.5 hand widths), you likely are short-waisted. This will be confirmed by the fact that your shirts and tops will hang longer on your body than you might expect.
If the difference between your bra band and your natural waist is MORE than two “hand widths”, you likely are long-waisted. This will be confirmed by the fact that your shirts and tops don’t stay tucked into your pants or skirts consistently.
If the difference between your bra band and your natural waist is CLOSE to two “hand widths”, you likely are average.
I paired my versatile jacket with a black and white zigzag top from Target – I caught a sale on Missoni separates and because I already own (and wear) a lot of black, I felt this top would give me a chance to break up some of my all-black ensembles, and mix and match it with other garments. While some may feel that solid colors are the most versatile, prints give you a great way to mix and match colors.
The Missoni top was the perfect counterpoint to the white paneled skirt I added to finish the outfit. The skirt was purchased at New York & Company over a year ago, and I was waiting for the perfect opportunity to wear it. This day’s outfit provided the opportunity. I was very pleased with the way the outfit turned out.
I have to also mention my shoes – they are Black suede wedges from Payless.com, under the Brash name. I had been looking at them for a while and was VERY pleased to find them on sale. They are versatile and comfortable and my new favorite shoes. Suede is not a fabric originally worn for spring and summer (the relatively wet weather can cause damage to suede and it can also be overly warm in hot weather), but it was a moderate day, not excessively hot, so I went for it. I was very pleased with the results.