Fashion Magazine

Using Simultaneous Contrast to Change the Way a Colour Looks

By Imogenl @ImogenLamport

Hi Imogen,
Thank you for your awesome posts. I have a question about color : It is said that color is dynamic as it can change when it is next to other colours. Does that mean that we can play with this ability of color when putting an outfit together ? Can we intentionally alter the color of a garment by pairing it with another item in a well-chosen specific color ? Many thanks Dominique

How to change how a color looks How to change how a color looks by imogenl featuring a blue skater skirt

The color concept of simultaneous contrast (technical term) is how a color reacts when you put it next to another color (or your own skin).

  • Dark and light make each other look brighter
  • Bright and dark make the bright color look brighter
  • Bright and muted make the muted color look duller
  • The more similar in brightness, the less bright they both look
Using Colour to change the focus
Using Colour to change the focus by imogenl featuring a chiffon vest

So, we are often told, don’t wear light color pants if you don’t want your bottom/thighs to look larger.  But this is a very restrictive rule, so why not consider:

You can wear two light colours – the lighter of the two will draw the focus – just make sure your tops are lighter than your bottoms (but your bottoms don’t have to be dark.

You can wear a pattern on the bottom, but if you want to draw attention upwards away from your bottom half, take a lighter or brighter color from the pattern and wear it in your top.


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