Monday, February 15, 2010


This outfit is comprised of the somewhat odd combination of burgundy, orange, and pink, and hopefully I'll be able to effectively explain how I got there. It all started with the burgundy and orange skirt (and I realize it probably doesn't look burgundy and orange on your computer screen, but trust me, it is!), which I purchased while Jess was in town.

Let me just digress here for a minute, because this actually happened to us while we were shopping at the Skunkfunk sample sale on Haight Street: the sales girl came up to us and said, and I quote, "Ladies, would you like a cocktail while you shop?" I can't make this up, kids. Jess and I looked at her, then at each other, then back at her, and asked, "Have you met us? Ah, YES!" So we had cocktails while we shopped. And it was... inspiring.

So this skirt is what I bought. It is saturated shades of orange and burgundy, and when I put it on I was actually stumped for a few minutes because although I've got plenty of other burgundy and orange things to go with it, I knew I needed a third color. What goes with burgundy and orange? I struggled for a few minutes before I came up with the solution, which is: What goes with burgundy OR orange? Well, lots of things. Pink, for instance, goes with burgundy beautifully.

Now you might think that with this skirt being one of the players, orange is automatically one of the main colors in the outfit. NOT SO! The "main" colors are determined by repetition, not so much by surface area (the same is true in interior design, btw). By adding the burgundy boots and cardigan I repeated the burgundy color 3 times; by choosing a pink scarf, belt, and bracelet (I could also have put a pink shirt under the cardigan), I repeated pink 3 times. How many times does orange appear? Once. And since it's already incorporated alongside burgundy in the print of the skirt, it totally works. So as long as I pull one color out of this skirt and pair that color with a suitable mate, I can make this skirt work with just about anything. And so can you.

Do you have an item in your collection that has an odd color pairing? Do you have any new ideas for what to try it with?

Scarf, belt, cardigan: gifts
Bracelet: Betsey Johnson
Shirt: Michael Stars
Skirt: Skunkfunk
Boots: Miz Mooz


Dr. Da said...

That cardigan is wonderful! What a great post on how to control the color focus.

girlxoxo said...

This outfit is so bright & cheery - love it!

Sheila said...

You are so clever! I love the "rule" of repetition - that makes so much sense.

I laughed when I saw this outfit, though, as I have a pink, orange and brown dress coming up for tomorrow. I swear, I am not copying!

The Patersons said...

OMG! I agree with Sheila - you are so clever, and very helpful!

The Small Fabric Of My Life said...

Loved your scarf tutorial.
Are you going to join the Spring Capsule Wardrobe Challenge?

scicurious said...

So I have an odd color pairing. Sort of. I have these GORGEOUS teal tights (also a gorgeous pair of teal fishnets) and I don't know what to put with them. I did them with black boots, a grey skirt, black shirt, and hot pink sweater, and apparently that really didn't work for the people who saw me. I guess my eyes were very flawed. Thoughts on teal??

Also, I have a LOVELY grape purple dress for a wedding this weekend with black heels (because that's what I have and I have no time). Shawl thoughts?

Kasmira said...

I have a floral velvet skirt with some odd colors - purple, blue, dusty rose, coral, greens, tan, black. From a distance, all you see is the coral, green, and black, so I think it's a fun challenge to pick out the less obvious colors.

And, OMG, my verification word is shoetini! Was that what you were drinking?

Sara said...

I am loving that skirt!

Julia said...

You do such a nice job at explaining things like the color repetition vs. surface area. Thank you :-)

Marie said...

You've tied that scarf perfectly! So wishing I had that Betsey bracelet.
Marie @ Lemondrop ViNtAge

Raquelita said...

I love the pink scarf with this!

I have a thrifted Anthropologie skirt that has beige, dark brown, olive green, light blue, orange, and grey in its print. So far I have paired it with light blue and with olive, but I'm actually starting to think I should try orange and grey next.

Emma at Daily Clothes Fix said...

Love this colour combination. Have been following your blog for a couple of weeks now after finding it through Academic Chic.

Now working my way through your archives. Finding your style so inspirational and layered my first skirts today, thanks to your recommendation. My effort is at

Emily Kennedy said...

I think it's adorable that you worked so hard to match. An alternate path would be to make the skirt go with the rest of the outfit (using What Not To Wear terminology). For the next wearing this might liberate your fabulous new skirt from difficult terrain: neutrals! Tan, camel, dark brown, warm ivory, navy, charcoal gray, silver, bronze gold. I can see them all, and it's a beautiful future.

Audi said...

scicurious: I love teal with other saturated jewel tones such as eggplant, mustard, red, and orange. Here are a few ways I've worn my teal tights:

For your grape dress, you might want to try to find a patterned shawl if the dress is solid; perhaps a richly-colored floral on a black background.

Kasmira: I think I might need to invent a drink called a shoetini!

Emily K: I love the idea of the skirt with neutrals; I have an adorable vintage navy jacket with off white piping that might be just the thing. Thanks for the ideas!