How to Dress in Contrasting Colour Schemes

Clothing worn in contrasting colours combinations can appear very strong and sometimes hard on the eyes. An example of this would be dressing in a wardrobe combination of true violet and true yellow. Although this example contains complementary colours which are across from each other on a colour wheel, contrasting colour schemes are a combination of 2 or more colours that are on opposing sides of the colour wheel.

When wearing contrasting colours they tend to look best when worn in different intensities and example of this would be dressing in one dark; one light and one bright colour. This will draw attention to the brightest colour and the rest will complement that colour in the background.

A less dramatic version of this colour scheme is when the colours are all muted. Muted colours are more restful to the eye and appear more harmonious. In these wardrobe combinations they are also easier for most of us to wear and feel confident in.

How to Wear Colour Schemes Effectively

Throughout history, clothing colour combinations have been made more complicated than they need to be because fashion has always dictated what we should wear. However one of the nicest things about being a certified image consultant is that I get the privilege of showing my clients what colours look great with their colouring and what they should wear based on their personality, body shape and goals. Instead of focusing strictly on fashion, they are shown how to dress to look their personal best with colour.

In general there are two types of colour schemes – related colour combinations and contrasted colour combinations.

Related combinations are colour schemes where the colours have something in common. An example of this is an analogous colour scheme, where colours are side by side on a colour wheel. Monochromatic colour combinations are another related colour scheme. These colour combinations refer to colours that are made from the same base colour. The colour is altered by toning with grey, adding black, white or a small amount of another colour. When these colours are worn together they appear tone on tone.

Contrasting colour schemes are colours that have nothing in common. They are on different sides of a colour wheel. When side by side they draw attention to each other and stand out. Complementary colour schemes are the most contrasting. Complimentary colour schemes are when the colours are exact opposite to each other on a colour wheel. For example: red and green; blue and orange; violet and yellow; another example of a contrasting scheme is using three colours all equal distance apart on a colour wheel. An example of this is would be wearing red, yellow and blue together in a combination.

To look more elegant, softer, more approachable or harmonious opt for related colour combinations. To appear more dynamic, fun or energetic dress in contrasting combinations.

I highly recommend playing with colour and creating your own colour schemes with a box of Crayola crayons or paints. Find the combinations that interest your personality and suit your colouring. Incorporate them into your wardrobe and the way you dress.

13 Packing Tips to Make Unpacking Easier

Looking great, while living out of a suitcase, is definitely not easy. You will find that your clothing tends to wrinkle and it is usually impossible to pack enough outfits to wear without having to find a Laundromat if your trip is more than a few days. For many women and men, deciding what to pack to look good while traveling is a huge challenge.

Below you will find tips for packing to look great while you travel. Follow these tips and you won’t have to lug three suitcases with you. Looking great while on the road does not have to be difficult at all.

Avoid Pure Cotton
Cotton wrinkles rapidly and it is probably one of the worst fabrics to pack when traveling. Instead, look for clothing that is either supposed to be wrinkled (think crinkle fabric) or that is wrinkle-resistant. There are several brands of clothing that are specially designed not to need ironing and these work very well for travel.

Use Accessories to Dress up or Down
As I mentioned in my previous post, ‘Packing Light for the Stylish Traveller’, before by changing accessories you can take an outfit from one activity to another or change your look from daytime to evening. Save space by packing basic clothing styles in neutral colours. Using accessories is an easy way to alter your appearance.

Give it a Roll
A good way to pack your clothing is to roll it, rather than fold it. Roll garments in tissue, plastic or a thin towel if they are likely to wrinkle. This helps to eliminate lines and creases and helps keep clothes nice and smooth.

Keep Garments looking Great with Plastic
Covering garments in a clear plastic dry cleaning bag before hanging them in a garment bag will help to prevent wrinkling.

Roll ties and belts.
This will stop them from getting crushed during transport.

Fill the Gaps
Socks and underwear can be stuffed into shoes. This will save space while keeping your shoes from getting crushed. These items can also fill in gaps around bigger items and prevent them from moving around.

Use Space Saver Bags
This idea works well for wrinkle free fabrics. By removing the air you will get a lot more into your suitcase. Test the fabric of your garment before you try this unless you are planning to bring an iron.

Use Travel Sizes
By transferring toiletries into travel size containers you will save space and weight in you suitcase.

Limit the Shoes
Shoes weigh a lot and take up precious space. Limit your shoes to neutrals and metallic’s. They will be easier to coordinate with your clothing. Stick to comfortable, basic styles that can be worn for different kinds of activities.

Protect with Plastic
When travelling use plastic bags to protect your clothing from your shoes and toiletries. Ziploc bags work particularly well and keep your items sealed and visible. Use a kitchen garbage bag for dirty laundry.

Leave the Blow-Dryer at Home
Most hotels and resorts now have blow-dryers in the rooms. Check ahead to be sure.

Swap Clothing
No I don’t mean share clothing, although if you have laundry facilities, the idea does have possibilities. What I mean is, if you are travelling with family pack an outfit in each others’ suitcase. If swapping clothes is not an option, carry-on a complete outfit.  Just in case you and your luggage don’t arrive together.

Unpack Immediately
When you arrive, unpack immediately and hang up hanging garments. If they are wrinkled, hang them in a steamy bathroom for a short while and then let them cool in a closet.

If you have a packing tip or any questions about packing for travel, I would love to hear from you.

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My Take on Recession Etiquette

I received a call from CBC radio last week asking me questions about Recession Etiquette. At first I was a bit surprised because I had never heard of Recession Etiquette. I couldn’t believe that there was a certain set of rules that we were supposed to follow while in a recession. It didn’t make sense to me at all.

But the more I listened to the person interviewing me, the more I realised that what she was really asking about was not a special kind of etiquette called recession etiquette. She wanted to know how we should treat people who are personally affected by the downturn in the economy. She also wanted to know if there were etiquette rules of behavior that people struggling financially should follow. Although I understood what information she wanted and I believe I answered her questions, I am still struggling with this term ‘Recession Etiquette’. I don’t know who coined the term Recession Etiquette, but I have to say that I disagree with the terminology.

Let’s face it, although many of us are affected by the global downturn there are not any special rules of behaviour that suddenly became important over the past year that were not important before. Almost everyone I know has gone through their own personal recession at one time or another.  And this is an important issue no matter if there is a formal recession, or not.

If we think about the definition of etiquette compared to the definition of manners, Etiquette is the rules of conduct that we follow as a society. Manners are about being sensitive to others and making them feel comfortable. In other words, ‘the golden rule’;

In my opinion as an professional image/ etiquette consultant, if you are ever in a situation where you need to choose between following the rules of etiquette or using your manners by being sensitive to the needs of others, always choose manners first. Etiquette comes second.

Here is my take on some how to handle 4 situations that you might face during any recession.

If someone you know has lost their job; let them know that you heard they lost their job and let them know that you are there to help in any way you can. Be sensitive to whether they want to talk about it or not. And go with the flow without pushing the subject. According to western etiquette, money is considered a taboo topic. It is not appropriate to ask questions about someone’s finances. In this situation, some people will want to talk about what they are going through and others will not. Be open to listening and responding. However, if you get the feeling they don’t want to talk about it, be respectful and move onto a different topic.

Don’t assume that just because the person doesn’t have a job that they don’t want to socialize. Suggest free or inexpensive activities. Every community has them. During the day, go for a picnic rather than going to a restaurant.  Go on a hike, play tennis or take the dogs for a long walk. In the evening get together at home: Play a game or watch a movie on TV.

Clients often ask me if it is alright to split the bill or ask for separate checks when dining out. Of course it is. Just make everyone knows this ahead of time. If you are on a budget, asking for separate checks is the best way to handle things if you concerned about the difference in what might be ordered.

When dining out, don’t forget to account for the tip in your dining budget. Remember, the service staff members generally receive a low salary and rely on their tips to get by. If the tip is a concern, suggest dining at a less expensive restaurant instead.

Since the recession is something that has affected most of us, one way or another, I would like to open up this topic and get your feedback, your etiquette questions and your comments. How has the recession impacted your social behaviour, reactions and responses? What do you think about the idea of recession etiquette?

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