Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Changing a leopard's spots

Yesterday I revisited a blue dress and made what I think was a better outfit by pairing it with a cardi in a contrasting but neutral color not actually occuring in the print of the dress.

That got me to thinking about a leopard patterned blouse I bought last year. I loved the animal print combined with the prim ruffled detail. However, all the outfits I've tried to create with it just didn't look right to my eye; I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was that was hitting the wrong note. It was the color, surely...but why?

Once, when I went to buy a carmel colored coat from an upscale consignment boutique, the owner told me it was a mistake because it matched my hair too much. I happen to love that color and often gravitated towards it. But as soon as she said that about my hair it became crystal clear she was right -- completely engulfed in carmel, topped further with my own amber locks, would be totally overwhelming.

It dawned on me the same holds true for most leopard prints -- all those colors echo the golds & browns in my hair along with my pale beige skin tones. So I tried pairing the blouse with first a chocolate brown and then a black cardi...but it was still too much in the same color family and didn't do the trick.

Perhaps there needed to be a stronger contrast in order for the colors to work?

And that brought to mind the ever fashionable Karen from the blog Of A Certain Age. During the popular Wardrobe Capsule Challenge put forth by the lovely Jane of WorkThatWardrobe back in December, Karen mixed patterns & color in a way I never would have thought of by combining a leopard cardigan with a printed blouse & fairly bright blue skirt -- here, see for yourself. Well, I wondered if a similarly colored blue cardi I have would make a leopard print more suitable for my complexion.

This photo is the result -- what do you think? I like it! Tho I might try a different necklace next time...something a little more bold, simple & singular.

Many thanks, Karen, I never would have thought to try this if not for your lovely & creative ensemble. I love this blogging community...inspiration abounds :)


V said...

Love the print with the pop of color...looks great!

Jane said...

You look great that blue suits your colouring so well and brings a vibrant edge to the shirt.

Sal said...

You know, I love the idea ... but not sure about that shade of blue. Can you carry off red with your coloring? I know it can be tough for auburn-haired girls, but red and leopard is a great combo.

La Belette Rouge said...

Fantastic bit of blue with the print. Really nice.

Kayleigh said...

Thanks all!

Sal -- I know just what you mean, I can see that the blue could be a little bit...off. Perhaps a deeper & darker blue might work? Something in the royal or navy tone?

As to the red, I seem to look best in orangey reds which I don't think would work. But you never know, I'll try it and see :)

Thanks again!

Sheila said...

How about purple (you look great in it)? Or a nice tomato-y red? Even yellow would look nice with that.

I like the look and I love the blouse.

Cassie said...

I think this is a great combo!! Green or like Sheila said a red might work well too!

Kayleigh said...

Thanks Sheila! You know, I never thought of purple -- not sure why...but I think that's a FABULOUS idea!!! I'm going to try it ASAP.

I did in fact try red as per Sal's suggestion and I have to say it looked great...my only prob is that the cardi I used isn't really suited to the blouse -- but color wise it was a really lovely combo.

Thanks for the idea :)

Kayleigh said...

Thank you My Shenanigins :) Gee, I never thought of green either -- I may just have to to a retrospective w/this silly blouse and try every cardi combo I have with it, lol!

Thanks for another great idea :D

Cathryn said...

I like how the bell sleeves peek out under the blue cardigan.

Anonymous said...

Hi kayleigh, just catching up on your blog! Thanks for the nice comments and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the way you did this!!!! Perfecto!!! You've got it! The colors in the blouse are not WRONG for you at all. And about the camel coat: Try and find a camel that is deeper than your hair and skin. Or scoot a bit towards the taupey side of camel. I have the same problem. I bought a leather coat (resale) that I hate as I blend right into the whole thing. Another thing is you could wear such a coat, but might use a warm scarf to break up the "neutralness" of the coat blending into your own coloring.

Long live Leopard! Now, I think you can also work that top under a solid colored jumper dress. I have been wanting a chiffon blouse in leopard after seeing Audi of "Fashion For Nerds" in one from Forever 21. I just think of leopard and cheetah as neutral solids, not a true "print." Another thing you could do is find a floral cardigan (largish pattern of roses e.g.) and put it over the top. Look in the magazines that are out now, there is going to be a lot of pattern mixing for Spring. Play around with it.

Anonymous said...

Kayleigh, one other idea! Try that leopard blouse under the argyle vest! Audi did it and it looked great. Belt it and see if that is good too. Karen

Trace said...

Love it. I really need to try mixing patterns and color. I secretly love leopard and zebra prints!! You look great here, fab job.

Anonymous said...

Kayleigh, sick of me yet?

One more thing, Isaac Mizrahi says to go ahead and "anchor your prints." It is still cold out there, so you could have a turtleneck under the blouse, then the argyle vest over, belted. Try an overcoat over that.