Wednesday, August 24, 2011

More On Neutrals In Your Wardrobe

Eccentric HQ received many interesting comments making new and useful points regarding newts in the wardrobe from our scintillatingly intelligent readership. On to a round-up!

ilegirl made some valuable points on neutrals in the comments to my last post:

"You do neutrals so well, and by wearing ivories close to your face you bring out that healthful natural glow in your complexion.

Sounds like a compliment, right? And it is, of course, as you always look so lovely. But it's also an observation that you've discovered what works for your skin tone - the best neutral for you. I think this is key, because (for example) a charcoal gray top would have me looking as pale as a cadaver while on Ravina it would likely be smashing.

I still struggle with this too. It's easy to be seduced by the cute piece in a store and forget that it needs to be incorporated into an outfit. And while a loud plaid and a bright floral print can theoretically pair nicely, the reality is that some good neutrals create a foundation from which our creativity builds."

 another largely newtral outfit with a lot of color interest

ilegirl's coloring is beautiful and rare - on the pale side with true golden and beige tones, her eyes are a bewitching greenish hazel.  Her emphasis on warm greens in her wardrobe really brings out the ethereal aspect of her coloring. But where to look when adding newts? Trial and error always helps. Go to a store with lots of colors (fabric, decorating, paint, clothing, party supplies), hold a bunch of colors up to your face and see how you look (you may want to take a mirror and a friend who's visual taste you trust).  Try to notice details or patterns that will help you narrow down your color search : do you like warm or cool colors? do you like really saturated colors or lighter, more washed out ones? do you like clear colors or muddier, more complex ones? what 'colors' do you like?

Let's say you're loving the way yellows look on you. You want to choose newts that have a lot of yellow. This will tend towards camels, tans, creams......what you are looking for is a newt that contains a lot of the 'color' that flatters you. Navy has a lot of blue. Many greys have a lot of violet or blue undertones. Other greys have a lot of brown in there. If you find you look better in colors that aren't too dark (concentrated) or light (washed out) than choose newts that aren't too dark or light. And so on. This can help direct your search, hopefully, and then you can try out your ideas in the clothing store.

Another strategy to try is expanding your concept of a newt. In the past several years, the offerings of colors in the sage-olive drab-army green-dun green-khaki olive range have been plentiful indeed. Many of these colors are quite 'muddied' or drabbed down to the point that they read as more newtral than green - but the green is still there to do it's complexion flattering magic. Denim is also widely available, from light to dark and in stretch, tissue weight, various washes and finishes. The great majority of denims tend to be newtral as well on the warm-cool scale, making them an excellent chose for a wardrobe newtral.

I received another great tip via e-mail from ma: "You could mention that if your skin tone won't allow beige without making you look like a total bath towel (or other awful thing, thinking of me in beige - urk), a scarf in a color may allow it.  It only took about 60 years for me to realize that."  This tip works with any newt and any item that will be worn away from your face - skirts, trousers, shoes, socks and tights, etc. It's especially good to keep in mind when facing limited offerings in a critical wardrobe item. Ravina works this one quite well in her outfit at the top of this post - it matters not how her grey boots look next to her complexion. The cobalt blues really make her coloring come alive, and the greys play a wonderful supporting role. This gets back to ilegirl's second point - that newts can play an important role in creating outfits.  I hope these collaborative posts have given you some insight and tools on how to get newts to work for you!

Blouse, Skirt, Vest: own design
Shoes: Bass Lacey Oxfords


  1. Wonderful post. I love color and love how it looks next to my skin, but I do appreciate a good neutral. I love grey, but I'm not sure it's the best for me. Not light grey, at least, so I am careful to keep it away from my face. The same is true with cream unless it's a rich cream (hue or fabric) then it works okay.

    Great advice all around - I appreciated reading this.

  2. I love this idea. I always steer away from light neutrals like khaki and beige and white because I feel that they do me no favors. If I do wear white I try a red lip or bright earrings to keep color near my face. I think the trick now is to learn what dark neutrals work best for me and then pair them with selective brights!
    Thanks for the shoutout, Steph! xoxo

  3. Great series, thanks, DE. I avoid newts with brown/yellows next to my face and reach for the blue/grey undertones. I agree with Ravina that lipstick is a big booster.

  4. I am more into neutrals right now than I have been in a long I really enjoyed this post.

  5. Thanks for the very well written and informative post. As a pale gal, I too need to be careful what colors go near my face. I've also learned that a slight adjustment in my make-up can also help make clothes that might not otherwise work look pretty darn good. I'm talking about a brighter shade of lip color for example.

  6. Thank you Gracey! it's nice to see you here!!!! looks like you have been making some excellent observations out there ;) keep it up!!! :)

    Hello Ravina! Thank YOU for being an excellent model, photog, stylist, etc!!!! The lipstick idea is a good one, it's a similar idea to mom's about the scarf - you could also use earrings, necklace, etc. to bring in some color.

    & sounds like a plan :)

    Hullo Patti! you already got it ALL going on!!

    oh Pam, i'm glad you found this interesting! and very glad to hear that the empire of newts is on the move....... !

    take care everybody! steph

  7. oh for heaven's sake, neChic, i think we cross posted (blushes)
    anyways, thank you - i'm glad you got some good info! and it's nice to hear more feedback on the power of 'the lippie'. i find blush and bronzer can help as well - but lipstick is definitely the easiest to swipe on!

    Happy Friday! steph

  8. I feel so lucky that I have the kind of coloring* that allows me to wear basically whatever color I want! Because having to think about all this seems so difficult.

    *well, either this or I have terrible taste ...

  9. Wow I feel special :).

    Great post, and I love the idea of going to Party City to get a bunch of colorful streamers to try on!