24 January 2007

Operational definition of "color punch"

At the Subway on 18th St. between L and M, I saw a woman in an all-black outfit wearing a pair of block-heeled, square-toed Grimace-purple boots.

(deep breath)

I'm not going to comment on the messes that were her faded, tapered black jeans and over-sized black sweater with black turtleneck. Nothing today about the sheen-free soccer Mom bob. Keeping tight-lipped about how she plowed through her bag of Cool Ranch Doritos in the 20 or so seconds between ordering her sandwich and paying at the register.

But those boots, my God, they were plumb (no pun intended) awful.

You read everywhere - even here - about how adding a punch of color to a monochromatic outfit can make the difference between goth and chic, boring and fashionable. Usually, this is a spot-on piece of advice, but upon seeing this woman today, I realized there are some necessary qualifiers.

My rules:

1. One punch at a time -- this is not the opportunity to don your red handbag, yellow shoes, and blue headband all at once.

2. Stick to primary colors or Fall colors (hunter green, mustard, pumpkin, etc.) -- pink, purple, and pastels should almost never happen. Certain shades of mauve or rose might be acceptable in an outfit with a brown palette; a dark purple suede that looks near-black in some lights might make the cut, too, but only in an almond-toed style.

3. Aside from handbags, which can be as big as you want, pick small, subtle punches of color in the way of a belt, a pair of earrings, or a shoe that doesn't envelope half your leg like a ballet flat or pump.

4. This seems obvious, but from what I've seen on ConnAve I think it's still necessary for me to point out that this technique only works when you're wearing a muted monochromatic or same color-palette outfit. Essentially, an all-black or all-brown ensemble. A punch of green to an all-red outfit is not a punch, it's Christmas.

5. Focus on the rest of your appearance (i.e. primary outfit components, hair, makeup, and skin) before before trying the color punch. If you're wearing pleated pants, sporting a femullet, and suffering from eczema, I can guarantee you the impact of your cute red flats will be less appreciated.

Happy accessorizing!

No comments: