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How to Wear Medium Value Colours When You Are High Contrast

By Imogenl @ImogenLamport

How to wear medium value coloursImogen, I would love an article on how to incorporate medium value colors when one is high contrast, and how to use our bright colors to increase contrast even though they are not necessarily light. I’m medium high contrast and am puzzled by the medium value colors.

How to Use Medium Value Colours with High Contrast

The biggest tip to remember when working with your high value contrast, is that as long as part of the outfit is high value, you can still wear a medium color as well. So if you are wearing a pattern such as in the illustration below which has a high value contrast (both very light and dark elements in it) then it’s easy to wear a medium value topper such as a jacket or cardigan.

How to Wear Medium Value Colours When You are High Contrast

As long as you have a light and dark color (such as in the pattern of the dress above, adding a medium value color – like the blue jacket – will still give you the contrast you need.  Alternatively you can put a bright color with a dark color or light color to increase the apparent contrast levels. The more similar the colours (on the color wheel) the less the brightness of the color will make the value contrast appear higher.
colour and value contrast explained
So you can see here above how the blue top – even though it has a similar value to the other tops, doesn’t look as bright with the darker denim, so it remains medium value contrast.  The further away the bright color is from the other color (on the color wheel), then the higher the value contrast appears (example the red and orange tops appear higher value contrast as they are on the other side of the color wheel to blue).
Learining about value contrast: muted colours value contrast
Now above is an example of similar colours with the same jeans in a medium value contrast, but because the colours are muted and smoky, their perceived value changes less except the blue top which appears lower contrast. Remember if you want colours to look brighter you can also use colours that are more opposite (complementary) or just further away on the color wheel from each other.  It amplifies their contrast.  How colours react to each other is called simultaneous contrast.
Value contrast explained
Here the pink cardigan – in a medium value – can be part of a low, medium or high value contrast outfit.   Again the pattern of both white and dark in the skirt gives you the high contrast you desire, but you can still wear the medium value cardigan with it and maintain the appearance of high value. In this illustration below, the tops and skirts are of similar value to each other.   You can see this with the red “value” tool which I”m holding over the picture.  
Understanding how bright colours can increase the perceived value contrast of an outfit
But when you look at the two outfits, the blue top makes the contrast look higher value contrast (rather than medium) as it is brighter.

How you can change the apperance of value contrast

  • Brighter colours are more advancing – so come forward.  Therefore look more apparent and obvious.  More noticeable.
  • Muted colours are more receding – so go backwards. Therefore look less apparent and noticeable (which can lower the perceived value)
This is why brighter colours which advance give the perception of a higher value contrast, which is what is happening in the blue top/black skirt outfit in the illustration above. Not sure what your value contrast is?  Then download  my 3 step process to finding your ultimate contrast. Want to see more real life examples of dressing to contrast?  Then download 11 examples in this printable PDF for your reference.
7 steps to color and style
Linking this post to:  Top of the World, My Refined Style,  iwillwearwhatilikeVisible MondayLet It Shine, Monday Mingle, Style Sessions, Turning Heads TuesdayTrend Spin Link-Up, What I Wore Wednesday, Brilliant Blog Posts, Throwback Thursday, Passion for Fashion Friday, Friday’s Fab Favourites, Style Stories,FlatbumMum, The FABulous Journey,Mummy’s Got Style, Sydney Fashion Hunter

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