Fashionably Mix Colors with the Color Wheel

How To Fashionably Mix Colors with the Color Wheel

ROYGBV — quick — what is that?

Hi everyone. It’s Grace here!

If you grew up in the U.S., you should remember that as the key to the colors of the rainbow. You remember, right?

Look, I love me my black and monochromatic looks, but ever think of how what you learned in, say, 2nd grade, might help you with your wardrobe? How do those magazines mix violet and green with such panache? Why am I drawn to certain combinations? What do I do with this orange dress?

The key is in ROYGBV, or the color wheel. Let’s take a look, shall we?

Color Wheel

There are dozens of color issues to consider — I mean, there are books and books written about color theory going back hundred and hundreds of years. Seriously!

But for now, let’s think about your outfits, and the following 4 combinations: Complementary, Split Complementary, Triadic and Analogous.

COMPLEMENTARY. This is the easiest. It basically means opposites. Take one color on the wheel, go across to the other side, and voila! There you have it – any two colors directly across the wheel from each other are Complementary:

Color ComplementHow does this translate into an outfit? That’s why that violet outfit looks great with a pea green purse. Let’s take a look at blue and marigold:

Complimentary Colors

This is particularly fun for a sharp, crisp look. See how there are neutrals mixed in with the outfit? Not the “red is the new black” kind of neutral, but the true, timeless neutrals like white, cream, tan, beige, gray and black. Otherwise, you might look like the high school mascot.

SPLIT COMPLEMENTARY. This is the slightly more complicated cousin to the above. Take one color, go directly across to the complement, but then pick the 2 colors on either side, like this:Color SplitCompInstead of going from purple directly to just one green, you split the direction to two – a moss green and a gold green:


This combo will give you more choices, giving the look more variety and depth. Again, see the neutrals that are in there? The gray boots, the gray and cream in the shirt?

TRIADIC. This splits the colors up evenly around the color wheel. Select 3 colors located evenly around the wheel, creating a triangle:

Color Triad IIThis can be really tricky, because it can make the outfit too busy, or clownish. So you need to pick one dominant color, then add in the other two as co-stars. Let’s take a bright red dress. Don’t want to wear the predictable black or neutral? Try the Triad:


Red, blue and yellow. Tricky. See how instead of taking yellow literally, I’m suggesting gold? It adds *bling* to a dressy outfit, aaand the gold would be considered…yes, a neutral. Check out the black in the shoes? The cream in the shawl? If you don’t add the right neutrals, you might look like Old Glory…or somebody’s flag, anyway.

Here’s another Triad, using teal, magenta and orange:
Triad teal magenta orange

Here, the neutrals are the black stockings and boots. The “orange” is used as a neutral because the bag is more of a natural leather color, and the coat leans more toward a tan, seen in the saffron/cognac bag and coat.  If you actually carried an orange bag or wore an orange coat, it would be overpowering for every day.

ANALOGOUS. Here’s another easy one – colors that are next to each other on the color wheel:

Color AnalogIf you stay in the same color group, the looks create a gentler, calmer look. It’s especially handy for petite figures because your body isn’t “broken up” by the different colors.


Remember that with each color combination, you need a healthy dose of neutral.

The last thing to remember is, try to stay in the same RING of the color wheel. See how the inner ring is saturated and the outer ring is light? If you’re working with colors of the inner ring, you’ll want the other colors to be in the inner rings, too. If you’re working in the outer rings, like the chambray, the other colors should be in the outer ring, too.

Got it? Simple, right? *wink*

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How to Wear Leggings

Fashion Over 50: How to Wear LeggingsA while back, my good friend Grace wrote a fabulous post called Fashion Over 50. She received a great response in the comments and that post consistently gets great traffic. Evidently there are a lot of women over 50 searching for fashion advice! I’ve been begging her to write more style posts for me, and she finally agreed to share her fashion advice on how to wear leggings.

So without further ado, I give you Grace!

How to Wear Leggings

Leggings have been around since I was a little girl in the 60’s. The stretchy pants, with the help of newly popularized synthetic yarns, migrated from the ski slopes to every day wear. Young women wore them as they danced to 45s with their girlfriends on shag carpets. And 50 years later, they’re still here. Is it no wonder? Is there anything more comfortable?

Think you can’t wear leggings at your age? I wear them! Here are the rules I follow. Leggings are worn in 3 general ways:

Leggings as Tights

Since “hose” has become a 4-lettered word, leggings are a good way to have some modesty when the situation calls for it. Wear leggings with a dress — to the knee in the summer, or to the ankles in cooler weather with boots, pumps or ballet flats.

Leggings as Pants

Just Say No. Really. A while ago, I saw a beautiful woman with an amazing physique wearing leggings as pants. Meaning, she had on a top that one would wear with jeans or slacks. I saw her every nook and cranny and muscle structure. It made me blush. For her.

Leggings as…Leggings

This is what we’re interested in today. And there are just THREE major rules:

3 Rules for Wearing Leggings for Women Over 40

#1. Fabric and Fit. Make sure the fabric is heavy enough and stretchy enough. There may be some trial-and-error, but it’s really Rule Numero Uno. You don’t want your skin to show through, nor your lumps and bumps to be visible. We highly recommend the Hue Ultra Wide Waistband Leggings at Nordstrom (make sure you click on the Regular sizes if that’s your size; for some reason this link defaults to the Plus sizes.) They’re regularly $36 and often go on sale for 25% off, bringing them down to $27. You can’t beat the value.

#2. Cover your Crotch. I hate to be so crass, but – there you have it: I can’t say it any other way. Wear leggings with tunic tops that will cover you front and back, and won’t cling if you walk or sit.

#3. Find tops that will give you a graceful proportion; not voluminous, and not tight to your body.

Check out these three outfits I put together.

how to wear leggingscowl neck tunic // green blouse // zip seam tunic sweater // Hue leggings
brown riding boots // black dress boots // suede tall boots
earrings // cuff bracelet // crossbody // layered necklace // scarf // pave cuff // black tote

Here are some ways NOT to wear leggings, and I’ll explain why:

how NOT to wear leggings

From left:

  • Don’t hide behind volume if you’re worried about your figure.  It’ll make you look bigger and top-heavy. And don’t wear matchy-matchy frumpy shoes.
  • Don’t use a too-short dress as a tunic. Don’t wear gaudy leggings. And don’t try to look like a little girl.
  • Don’t wear a body-hugging top, even if you have a nice figure. And goodness, please don’t wear stiletto pumps. [Does “hootchy-mama” mean anything to you?]
  • Don’t wear a jacket; it’ll just look like you forgot your pants. Did I say not to wear stiletto pumps?

Leggings In Real Life

Here’s Grace with some of her favorite leggings outfits:

Fashion Advice for Women Over 50: How to Wear Leggings

Fashion Advice for Women Over 50: How to Wear Leggings

And here are some of Jo-Lynne’s favorites.

#1. With a tunic sweater and riding boots:

Fashion Advice for Women Over 40: How to Wear Leggings with a Tunic Sweater

tunic sweaters // Hue Ultra Wide Waistband Leggings // similar riding boots

#2. With a chambray tunic, infinity scarf, and OTK boots:

Fashion Advice for Women Over 40: How to Wear Leggings with Over the Knee Boots

chambray tunic // leopard infinity scarves // over the knee boots // Hue leggings

#3. With a tunic blouse and riding boots:

Fashion Advice for Women Over 40: How to Wear Leggings with a Tunic Blouse

roll tab sleeve tunic // Hue leggings // similar riding boots

#4. With UGGs and an extra-long tee under a drapey waterfall cardigan:

Fashion Advice for Women Over 40: Casual Outfit with Leggings

waterfall cardigans // long tee // Hue Ultra Wide Waistband Leggings // UGG Classic Cardy

#5. With a sweater dress, riding boots, and a scarf.

Fashion Advice for Women Over 40: How to Wear Legging with a Sweater Dress

sweater dresses // floral scarves // Hue Ultra Wide Waistband Leggings // similar riding boots

So whatever your size, style or season, go for it! Are you ready to rock the leggings!?!

Fashion for Women Over 40: How to Wear Leggings

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Fashion Over 50

A few weeks ago, I had a request for some fashion advice for women over 50. I can attest that with each changing-of-the-decade, I find myself rethinking my personal style and reworking my wardrobe choices a bit. I will turn 40 this summer, and I’m definitely finding that I can’t wear some of the things I used to be able to wear!

Fashion Over 50

But I am not yet 50, and I am not a trained stylist by any stretch, so I don’t feel particularly qualified to address that topic. However, I know someone who is. My friend Grace is the most fashionable 50-year-old woman I know. If anyone proves the adage “50 is the new 30” — it’s Grace.

She has great style advice for everyone, not just the 50-and-over crowd. I have learned so much from her.

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Fashion Advice for Women Over 50

Grace | Blackbelt OmaJo-Lynne quotes that 50 is the new 30. I know what she means.  We are so much more fabulous than we used to be! I’m no stylist either, but I’d like to play one on TV!

But 50. It’s still 20 years more than 30.

By the time we are into our 50s, we’ve passed the youthfulness of early motherhood and the initial rocket-boost of our careers. By 50, we’re settling into ourselves, and so are some of our body parts! No matter how fit we may be, certain parts aren’t as pert or smooth as they once were.

Ever since I turned 50 (which has been a few years now!) I’ve been wondering what is “appropriate” for me to wear. When I was a little girl, 50 was….um…50, and women were lookin’ pretty dowdy by that age.  Now that they say “50 is the new 30,” should I be dressing like a 30-year old?

I can take more risks than my mom or your mom might have, but there’s a part of me that says, “Grace, maintain your dignity.”  Because I’m not 30. (There are certain things you can do though, to Look Ten Pounds Thinner (and Ten Years Younger.)

Here are some of my thoughts:

#1 You Can’t Go Wrong with Classic

Well, you could, if you stay too conservative with it Continue reading “Fashion Over 50”

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