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The Right Colors For Every Woman

( Originally Published 1924 )

After all, what does it profit a woman if all the colors in her costume blend in perfect unison and yet they will have none of her? The color note of the person is the first consideration. "Oh, what an adorable blue costume!" "Yes, but how sallow it makes you appear !"-"I don't care. I like blue and I'm going to have it." One more self-willed lady gone astray in the matter of clothing because she did not understand that the first law of good taste is to have the color scheme blend with her.

The established and undisputed note is the individual's coloring, and it ought not to be muted in the chord which the whole picture sounds. In viewing the lady's coloring, one must first decide whether or not the colors used in dress are to harmonize or to balance. If she needs to be brightened, there will be no quandary—employ contrast! If she is vivid, she may have either.

One general rule, if followed, may prove more helpful than a list of specific colors to be worn by certain types, since there are many people who do not fit into any one of these types. That rule is: never let the costume overshadow the wearer. Color, like any other factor in dress, should be employed to enhance the person wearing it and not be conspicuous in itself.


"My love is young and fair
My love has golden hair
And eyes so blue and heart so true
That none with her compare."

If soft-featured, kindly, with an animated expression, the blonde with a clear skin can wear almost any color, related or in contrast, of high or low value. However, she should avoid large masses of pure warm color near her face, for they will out-rival her own delicate tints. Tints of an intensity about the same as her own flesh tone will give to the blonde a very ethereal quality. But she who, unfortunately, has a large waistline must forego the joys of delicate colors and choose black which, while decreasing her size, will delightfully bring out her blonde coloring.

Pale Blonde: skin pale; hair flaxen or light brown; eyes blue, black, brown, gray, or hazel, may use light green, light blue-green, light and dark blue, light red, pink, dark brown, light orange, light tan, blue-gray, light gray, cream white, flesh white, lavender, and shiny black. She should avoid red-purple, purple, red-brown, bright red, dead black, and all strong color.

Semi-Blonde: skin imperfect but fair; hair light or medium brown, mouse-colored, or drab; eyes blue, gray, hazel, or light brown, may use medium green, medium and dark blue, medium red, medium blue-green, soft pink, dark brown, blue-gray, cream-white, and shiny black. She should avoid purple, red-purple, dead white, pastel tints, too bright colors, somber color, and warm brown.

Ruddy Blonde: skin fair and ruddy; hair brown, mouse-colored, or with golden glints; eyes blue, gray, hazel, or light brown, may use, blue, cool brown, green, dark reds, blue-green, grayed orange, beige-tan, pink, dark gray, white, and black. She should avoid yellow, mustard, blue-purple, purple, red-purple, warm brown, and reddish tan.


"Blessed are the dusky-haired, for they shall inherit the rainbow !"

The dusky-haired daughter has called forth many poetical flights of song.

Pale Brunette: skin pale olive or clear ; hair dark brown or black; eyes brown, dark gray, dark blue, or bright black, may use red, orange, green not too dark; dark blue ; dark green ; warm brown ; light tan; orange, medium and dark; blue-green; dark tan; brownish gray; cream white; dark red-purple, and pink. She should avoid yellow, yellow-green, blue-purple, purple, pastel tints, and black.

Semi-Brunettes: skin imperfect brunette; hair dark brown or black; eyes dark blue, dark gray, dark brown, or black, may use red, medium and dark; dark blue; dark green; warm brown; light tan; orange, medium and dark; blue-green; dark tan; brownish gray; cream white; dark red-purple, and pink. She should avoid yellow, yellow-green, blue-purple, purple, pastel tints, and black

Ruddy Brunette: skin dark and high colored; hair dark brown or black; eyes dark blue, dark gray, brown, or black, may use very dark red, dark blue, dark green, dark orange, dark cool brown, dark tan, dark gray, cream white, and black. She should avoid all light red, yellow-green, blue-purple, purple, red-purple, warm browns, and pastel tints.


"All ardors of the flaming dawn are thine,
Its glamours blended in thy glowing hair !
And sunset winds within that blowing hair
Have twined and woven all the sunset's shine.
And all the quick and kindling heart of wine
And heat of wit are in thy flowing hair."

So masterly was the touch of Titian in his reproduction of the red-haired woman that we now speak of the hair—that dark red hair—as "Titian." His canvasses, unequalled for coloring, glow with the Venetian love of color.

Here is the palette from which this flame-haired maiden may safely choose the colors which will create her artistic personality.

Pale red-haired type: skin pale, clear, transparent, white; hair red; eyes blue, black, brown, gray, or hazel, may use green, blue, blue-green, light blue, purple, cool brown, light tan, dark tan, blue-gray, light gray, flesh pink, white, and black. She should avoid red, orange, yellow, yellow-green, red-purple, warm brown, and rose pink.

Semi Red-Haired: skin imperfect, freckled and not much color; hair red; eyes blue, black, gray, brown, or hazel, may use black, dull blue, dull green, blue-green, cool brown, dark tan, light tan, gray, ivory white, cream white, flesh, and shell pink. She may use blue-purple with caution, but she should avoid red, orange, red-purple, dead white, and rose.

Ruddy Red-Haired Type: skin highly colored; hair red; eyes blue, black, gray, brown, or hazel, may use black, ivory white, dark blue, medium and dark green, blue-green, cool brown, light tan, blue-gray, and dark-gray. She should avoid red, orange, yellow, yellow-green, purple, red-purple, warm browns, and rose pink.

The Composite Type

This type comprises the average person—one who is not assertive in coloring, one who is lost in the current of the mass, but who, however, still retains distinction of individuality. She is most fortunate of all; for because of her lack of definite color, she can play with colors willy-nilly and create of herself what she will. She is neither dark nor fair ; her hair is brown, one of a variety of shades ; her eyes are blue or gray or green. In America, the "World's Great Melting Pot," there are many, many women of this type.

Blonde-Brunette: The "In-between type"—hair light chestnut or brown; eyes hazel, gray, blue-gray, or brown; complexion, medium, may use black with trimmings of color, flesh white, dark brown, gray tan, dull blue, blue-green, gray, lavender, dark red, écru, and pongee tints. She should avoid purple, dark gray, black, and somber color.

While the Hair is Turning Gray

"I don't object to gray hair; but the turning stage, when it is merely streaked, is maddening !"—So voiced the woman of forty. The specialist interrupted with, "Massage your scalp thoroughly and frequently, keep your hair very clean! Brush it until it shines, and don't worry."

There are certain colors which will soften the shades of gray hair and blend them into a pleasant, indeterminate whole. Then, too, Nature seems to compensate us at this time by giving a new charm to the skin which merits vigilant care, and the re-ward will be a delicate coloring that will harmonize bewitchingly with the softened tones of the hair.

Black is not kind to her; if she takes a black satin pillow and holds it behind her head she can see the effect of black on hair, face, and neck. She has the shadow of age.

Colors? Yes; mysterious colors, the colors which were becoming in youth—grayed—red grayed to henna or soft rose; blue to steel-blue; yellow to beige; orange to citron; golden brown to taupe; violet to heliotrope; green to olive—these are artistic expressions of mature women. Pongee shades and yellow and tans are taboo for the woman with hair of "sabled silver."

Mystery—that is the Good Fairy for the woman whose hair is in the transition tones. When her hair becomes pure white she might almost return to the gay color of youth were it not that the grayer pastel tints are more lovely. We always associate with dear old ladies the delicate pale laces to blend into the harmony of gray hair. Soft scarfs of tulle in delicate amethyst or even a pale flesh tone may add a gentle touch of color in keeping with the afterglow of age.

Jewelry must be selected with an eye to harmonious balance, nothing harsh—no yellow gold, but platinum, white gold, or silver. Creamy pearls may be worn or the pale pink ones ; delicate corals ; amethysts; clear soft amber, if the eyes are brown.

To be well-dressed one's costume must express refinement in color. A tonal blending of hues, with no discordant notes—that produces beauty. It is that very blending into a perfect whole which indicates the "Colonel's Lady." It is lack of harmony which bespeaks poor "Judy O'Grady."

One may have all the beauty of dye-blending artists ; she may use all their power to indicate cheer, gladness and mirth, yet withal there must be that real restraint, that dignified reserve which imparts the air of a thoroughbred. "Possibilities are in their hands, no danger daunts and no foe with-stands" those who select raiment with an eye to color effects which represent refinement.

Every person is distinctly a color type. The color is decided by hair, eyes, or skin. In some persons the eyes make the strongest appeal; in others, the hair; in a few, the skin. Decide which gives the strongest color note and play up to it. If your eyes are green, don't try to make them blue, but make the most of their unusual lights. If your hair is yellow-gray, play up to it; wear citron or some like tint.

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