You are watched, if you are successful. And you are on the path to success, if you are watched.
Mark Zuckerberg, with his penchant for the grey hoodie, and Liz Taylor, who travelled with 90 suitcases, have all been widely discussed in the media. It is living life in a fishbowl, where each detail is hungrily lapped up by the eager public. It takes an army of brand strategists, stylists and sponsoring designers, to take them where they are, and to project the image that they wish to convey.
Dressing Right is an art and science, and yet, not rocket science. The whole concept can be summed up in 7 elements of style, for an average person.
- The Magic of Neutrals
Yes, it starts with the blandest of all elements- the wardrobe neutrals. Incorporate basic pieces like trousers, shirts, skirts and jackets in classiccuts in these colors. This should comprise at least 70% of your wardrobe.
New colors like greige ( grey+beige) could be the rage of the month or year or decade. You can add your favorites to this row of colors, which can be easily combined with any other color.
2. The Color-wheel concept
Stick up this color wheel charts inside your wardrobe, where you can see it, before pulling out your clothes for the day, to create combinations. Cardboard wheels are available with sliding tops, which help you in choosing the right color combinations.
- Analogous color scheme – colors adjoining each other on the wheel ( the monochrome effect)
- Complementary colors are colors diametrically opposite each other ( the contrast effect)
- Split complementary are colors to the left and right of the complementary color.
- The Triad pulls the split complementary colors one house further.
- Square are colors on 4 corners of the wheel.
- Tetrad are the colors forming a rectangle on the wheel.
Black, white and grey are termed achromatic colors, which can be combined with anything.
The color schemes from (c ) to (f), just add to the possibilities in the first two schemes, increasing the choice in combinations.
These colors form the ‘accent pieces’ to brighten up the look, when combined with wardrobe neutrals.
This is the most crucial aspect of dressing. The color, cut and style should highlight the best parts, and conceal the less attractive ones. The basic principles can be summed up as follows :
- Bright and light colors highlight, and dark and deep colors conceal.
- Monochrome combinations would suit heavier and petite figures, since a contrast visually divides the body, reducing the length.
- Vertical lines in shape, structure, fabric or pattern add to the height. Horizontal lines do the opposite. Diagonal lines balance the body well.
- Minimize the broader parts with dark colors and firm fabrics. Add bulk to the thinner ones with bright colors.
- If the lower half is heavy, add details on the upper body to move the eye upwards. If the upper body is heavy, minimise detailing on the top, and draw attention downwards with interesting patterns and colors.
- 4. The Effect of LayersLayers are the jackets, coats, sweaters, shrugs, scarves and stoles added on to the basic layer. Strategic use of layers conceals the flaws in the body shape, and adds to the elan of the outfit.Use them in different fabrics, cuts and styles to create a stylish outfit.
- 5. The Level of formality
- Straight lines and cuts, dark and solid colors, pinstripes, sharp tailored styles, a contrast effect in the outfit are high on the formal scale.
- Curved shapes and lines, patterns, pastel colors, softly tailored styles, indicate approachability.
- Paisleys, polka dots, gingham, plaids, tattersall checks are all classic patterns. Stylized prints, animal and nursery prints, fancy prints like teapots, faces etc. are not appropriate for a formal occasion.
- In the Indian style scale, kurtas with mandarin collars and straight pants, or sarees in silk and cotton are considered formal. Soft, flowy fabrics are to be avoided.
- The skin show should be minimal in any style or outfit.
Choose the message that you wish to convey, before choosing your clothes.
- 6. The Cluster ConceptThis one has been done to death, and is yet, crucial to a hassle free working week. Create different looks on paper or your computer screen, with a few basic garments, the accent pieces and accessories, and arrange your wardrobe accordingly. A cluster of 5-12 garments can create minimum 20 looks for the month.The pictures will give you a fair idea.
- 7. Coordination and AccessorizationThis creates the finished look. Accessories can either make or mar an outfit. Different styles of tying a scarf or necktie, arranging a pocket square, jewellery, shoes and bags are the vital elements.Quite a lot depends on aesthetics and individual taste, rather than several pages of theory on the subject. Get as creative as you can.
- Each of the factors above will need a detailed analysis by an expert, for a customized look. But a basic awareness of these factors can take you through your social and professional life with elan. Needless to say, pre-planning for the week and an organized wardrobe, helps in time management. Very few of us can afford several hours to dress for work, in the morning. This is hard work at the outset, that creates easy elegance later.Happy Dressing !