If you were analysed as either a Winter or a Spring, the chances are that your consultant discussed with you the need to ‘add contrast to your look’. Adding contrast to the look of the two bright seasons really makes them come alive – the wearer suddenly has vitality and freshness and fabulous style rather than just wearing some perhaps rather alarming colours. Indeed, even certain types of the two softer seasons – Summer and Autumn – will want to wear their colours in a more contrasting way, perhaps to add impact to a business look or to express a more dramatic personal style.
But what does it actually mean to add contrast? Having left your consultant’s studio with a swatch book, an awful lot of information and a vague notion that you need to be doing contrast, it is easy to get stuck in a rut of outfits based around a simple equation; dark neutral + light neutral = contrasting look. However, contrast can be achieved in a number of different ways, and playing around with those will help you maximise your palette of colours so your colours always feel fresh and interesting
Ways to add contrast
- Dark neutral + light neutral: Choose one of your darkest and one of your lightest neutrals to get maximum impact from this pared down contrasting look.
- Any neutral + bright colour: A good way to add contrast to a mid-tone (i.e. not too light and not too dark) neutral. Choose one of the brightest colours from your palette to maximise the colour pop on a mid-tone backdrop.
- Several similar tone-on-tone neutrals + bright colour: If you like a shaded layered look, adding contrast with a bright colour, either in the form of a top or a bright scarf or statement necklace, can really lift the whole look from drab monochrome to a look with depth and texture.
- Bright colour + bright colour: Choose two brights from different areas of your palette, such as a red and a blue or a pink and a green to maximise the contrast. Perfect for party outfits or less formal occasions.
- Using skin as contrast: This one works well on those with very fair or very dark skin, and in an outfit that reveals a fair quantity of the aforementioned skin. Use one of your best (remember you have no other colours to rely on to lift this look) dark colours if you are fair, or your best light colours if you have darker skin tone. Adding contrast in this way works particularly well for Winters as they often also have high contrast between hair colour and skin tone, adding another layer of interest to the look.
It is also worth keeping in mind that contrast does not always need to be achieved in great big blocks. Adding a pop of colour in the form of a statement accessory or within a print can work just as effectively. For further information on contrast, have a look back at this post I wrote last year.
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