Thursday, November 3, 2011

Color-Blocking for Beginners

I’ve never been one to just jump into the water. I’ve always wanted to be the kind of person that does the graceful swan dive into the deep end, but that just isn’t me.  I often find that you can reach the same destination by taking baby steps.  I dip my toes in, and after they acclimate, I go full legs, then up to the waist, and so on and so forth until I’m comfortable.  Before you know it, I’m in the water and I can jump over and over again into the cold depths with the best of them. Mission accomplished.

And so it is with fashion sometimes. I’ll see a trend and want to try it and then quickly realize I have no idea how to go about doing so. This is how I felt when I first saw color-blocking. It started with a picture much like this one:

This is Solange Knowles. My first thought when I saw it was, “CUTE!”, closely followed by, “How in the heck did she look in her closet one day and decide all that would work together?” I mean, yellow pants, red, black and tan shirt, purple purse, leopard heels, and somehow it’s all popping. It’s at least part attitude, but what’s the other part?

I wanted to try it, but after looking in my closet, I was flummoxed. So I did what I usually do: I took baby steps. I found this dress at Express: 

It was perfect for dipping my toes into the color-blocking shallow end.  It did all the color-blocking for me. I just added the black cardigan and heels and I was done. After wearing it all day, I picked up a few pointers along with the all the compliments I received. First, when color-blocking, black provides a good base and gives all the other colors an anchor. Second, like tones go best with like tones. For instance, on this dress, all the colors are fairly bright. The purple is the only exception, but it’s in the same color family as the berry pink.

In order to slide a little further into the deep end, I decided to use Heatha’s Ninth Tenet of Fashion Fabulousness: I stole Solange’s idea. I wore my red skinny jeans with a black and tan striped top, leopard heels, and a yellow cuff bracelet.

Jeans, blazer, striped tee – Express.  Yellow cuff, sunglasses - Steve Madden. 
Handbag - Jessica Simpson.  Owl cuff – Lucky Brand.   Shoes - Betsey Johnson. 
Necklace, ring – BCBGeneration.

I think it worked out really well, but you can all judge for yourself.  I did notice that when going this bright and utilizing this many colors, keeping most of the jewelry simple is key. I went with gold jewelry to compliment the color palette.

I must say, after wearing this outfit, I feel like I’m really starting to understand the whole trend and I’m really enjoying it. As with any trend, if it isn’t your cup of tea, don’t do it. No need to try every new thing that comes along, but if you do want to try it and are unsure, use my method and just go in increments. My next step is trying to wear something as eye-popping as Sarah Jessica Parker:


If you want to try it, here are a few color palettes to use as inspiration: 
So get out there and jump in the deep end….or wade in little by little. If you like color-blocking, give it a try. And send me the pictures of your results -- I’d love to see them.

Need a quick cheat sheet? Remember these four things: 1. Use black as a base or an anchor. 2. Like colors go with like colors. 3. Steal a star’s style!  4. Keep the jewelry simple.  And if you are intrigued, but still a little wary, I suggest starting with some great color-blocked pumps. Then you can, quite literally, just dip your toes in.

Alright, next up for Heatha Be:

  • Shopping Your Closet
  • Sequins: Not Just For Parties Anymore
  • To Buy or Not to Buy, That is the Question
  • It’s a Croc, The Ugg Effect

Stay tuned. And as always, if you have any questions, suggestions, or advice, you can contact me at And remember….

Be Fierce. Be Fashionable. Be Yourself.



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