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Proprieties In Colors

( Originally Published 1924 )

Then, of course, there are certain proprieties in color which must be observed if one would dress in good taste. Color must be suited to the purpose of the costume—street, home, social gathering. It must be suited to the material and to the cut of the costume. The mood which the costume is supposed to reflect : Is that mood gay or somber, dark or light, warm or cool?

One needs considerable reflection before deciding on a personal color scheme. No hue at all would be the simplest solution. This would mean black, white, or gray, which would offer no danger of discord. But, after all, what a stupid world we should have if all chose to hide ignorance of color by playing safe and choosing no hue.

A one color plan may acquire interest by the employment of different textiles. The shadings will then produce the effect of varying values.

A two color plan would give many opportunities for color schemes, such as a dominant harmony, a complementary balance, and others.

A multi-colored plan is, of course, more suitable for evening clothes, especially when chiffons are used.


But, if in search of a more interesting color scheme, we may go further than the field of dress. Nature offers infinite suggestions for color chords. In considering the harmonious combination of colors, notice the amount of each color used in her plan, the related values of dark and lights of the colors and the intensity or brightness of each. One may get color organization from pictures by any of the masters, from museums, and from Nature. From feathers, insects, flowers, leaves, sea-shells, pottery, tapestry, and oriental rugs associations of color may be obtained.

There is a charming Indian legend about the autumn leaves which the Great Spirit felt were too beautiful to perish. So his glorious gaze trans-formed the dying leaves into the plumage of bright-hued birds. From the red-stained oak the robin came ; the cardinal-bird bore the maple's splendor ; to the yellowbird came the gold of willow, and the lark and sparrow found that their plainer shades were forgotten in that most appealing asset, a melodious voice. Since then, the birds have kept close kinship with the trees and have built their yearly nests in the friendly shelter of the boughs.

So, too, has the inspired manufacturer of today renewed the life of each brilliant color in the fabrics, bringing satisfaction and opportunity for self-expression to women.

There are certain factors also to be taken into consideration before deciding on one's color scheme. First among these are the age of the wearer and her economic status. For example, a woman with a small dress allowance would be foolish to choose a conspicuous color in a garment which must be worn more than one season. For her the color range is more limited than for her more wealthy sister who can afford to discard a garment that is but slightly worn.

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