Almost 5 months in and I’m reflecting back on the word and colour I chose for 2020. To recap, I like the simplicity of having a single word to keep top of mind, and the power and symbolism of a single colour. With a milestone 50th birthday coming up in July, I took extra care in choosing my word and colour for 2020. As it turns out, I’ve found them to be extremely appropriate.
I chose the word EXPERIENCE for three reasons. First, I wanted to share my experiences over the last 50 years in ways that might be helpful to others. Second, I’m appreciating and learning from my past experiences so that I can be a wiser, nicer, more thoughtful, self-aware, and fulfilled person. And third, I’m prioritizing significant new experiences — big and small — because they touch my heart and continue to create joy and satisfaction for many years.
My goodness, what a year so far. The novel Coronavirus pandemic and everything that goes along with it is unprecedented, surreal, and will have a lasting effect on us all. I couldn’t have imagined or dreamt a more unexpected and nerve-wracking new experience for my 50th year. It brings tremendous uncertainty, sadness, and stress that I can barely put it into words. Our little family of three quarantining at home in Seattle are thankfully safe, strong and healthy. But worrying about our fragile, vulnerable, and less than perfectly healthy 88 and 82 year old Dads, who live alone in the Netherlands and South Africa, is extremely stressful.
I cannot fly to the Netherlands to help my Dad in critical ways that are much better in person. This is a steep learning curve for me. The situation is completely beyond my control, and I am not used to that. For a while at least, my brother and I need to manage the situation from afar, and trust others to make many decisions that impact my Dad. Although the lack of control fills me with anxiety, I am simultaneously soothed by the thoughtful and compassionate village of people who are looking after my Dad. They are going completely out of their way, simply because they are incredible, selfless people who care about my Dad. I’m deeply touched, and will forever hold a place in my heart for these magical people.
This experience is teaching me that I cannot be in control of every aspect of my life no matter how organized, hard-working, energetic and conscientious I am. Trusting others and relying on them to do things in my place is sometimes the only way, and that’s okay. Trusting that a tough situation will eventually work out and staying hopeful about it takes strength and flexibility. I am building that kind of strength every day.
My happiest experience this year is that the stay-at-home order in Washington state has allowed hubs Greg, Yorkie Sam, and me to spend much more time together. Greg was working in Salt Lake City during the week, which meant that our family lived apart for much of the time. To be happily staying at home with my favourite person and doggy for three months and counting is my COVID-19 silver lining, and the best gift of all.
I chose the colour blue because we live near the Seattle waterfront and we were planning a trip to Greece in June. Blue is also associated with stability, and it symbolizes wisdom, confidence, loyalty, intelligence, tranquillity, good health, expertise, calm, serenity, and precision — all of which I aspire to as I age.
Well, we cancelled our trip to Greece, but the spectacular water views from our loft apartment continue to spark daily joy. Although things are very uncertain and stressful at times, I feel that my life is relatively stable, my persona upbeat, and my mind generally calm. I feel wiser and mentally stronger, learning from new-to-me experiences. I am extremely grateful for our good health.
From a fashion and style point of view, blue is one of my favourite neutrals because shades of blue work well with my beloved sour brights, all shades of white, blush pink, some earth tones, and black.
Here are some of the blue items currently in my wardrobe.
Emotionally, I’ve had my fair share of feeling blue because of the hardships the world is facing as it battles through the pandemic and deals with its aftermath. But each day brings hope, more expertise, more wisdom, and a sense of serenity as people and communities pull together to help and support one another in these great times of need.
Over to you. Would you like to reflect on how your word and colour for 2020 are shaping up?
A Spring column of colour means wearing the same Spring non-neutral on the top and bottom. The look must be achieved with separates and not a one-piece dress or jumpsuit. Separates include pants, tops, shorts, skirts, blouses, jackets, coats, cardigans and knitwear.
The collection below shows some fab examples.
Generally I’m showing traditional Spring and Summer non-neutrals, but you can pick ANY non-neutral to wear as a column of colour. Here are some easy dressy variations. All looks have been completed with heeled sandals but feel free to wear footwear that is more to your taste.
1. Tunic and Pants
Combine a tunic or dress with a pair of pants in the same colour. Here, the fabrics of both the top and bottom are SOFT and fluid. The visual effect is romantic, elegant, and relaxed. I’d preferred to have seen blue, white, red, purple or metallic shoes, but the black sandals do a good job of bookending the head wrap of the model.
The easiest way to wear a dressy Spring column of colour is by sporting a fun suit, and this one is stunning. A suit is a lot more structured than the soft separates in #1. The teal enriched forest green looks as fresh for Spring as it would for Autumn. The addition of the black camisole and sandals work well with the model’s hair.
3. Romantic Layers
This is a three piece column of colour that’s a little more arty and avante-garde. A tank is layered under a voluminous sheer knit cape and worn over a pair of trendy wide crops. All three items are soft and drapey. Low contrast blush footwear lengthens the leg line.
4. Two-Piece Dress
And last, I’m throwing in a skirt and top in the same Spring pattern instead of a solid, just to change things up. Combing a top and skirt in the same pattern or solid creates the effect of a dress – that’s made of two pieces. This version is body con, but tailored and fluid versions work well too. The addition of the fresh white footwear is crisp and unique. Add jewellery, watch and eyewear as desired.
An expert guide to men’s shoe colour combinations. From black and brown to oxblood and blue, we break down the best trouser colours to wear with them for both formal and casual occasions FashionBeans Full RSS Feed
It’s been a brilliant season for pants, jeans, colours, patterns and textures this year, especially in Fall and Winter. So much so, that I can hardly complain about the dismal dress season. Here’s the next section of top pick items that have been winners on clients and forum members recently. Browse the ample colour options and extended size selections.
Halogen x Atlantic-Pacific Oui Oui Sweater: This is a good sweater for very mild Winters and non-wool wearers. Lightweight and no allergies. Semi-fitted, and fluid in all the right places. Comes in a few patterns and colours. Quite short.
J.Crew Turtleneck poncho with buttons: A fun oversized, cosy and slouchy sweater that you can hide in. Might need to size down – but remember it’s supposed to look slouchy. Looks fab over a button-down shirt or blouse too.
Halogen x Atlantic-Pacific Long Wool Blend Trench Coat: A lovely classic in a LONG midi length to wear over midi dresses and skirts, or wide pants. Works best on a defined waist, but not good on a larger bust. Best on TALL people. It’s tailored so make sure you can layer adequately underneath. It’s not Boden quality, but perfectly fine. Comes in pale pink and red.
VAGABOND SHOEMAKERS Mya Pointy Toe Bootie: Brown metallic boots are a very rare find. These are comfy if you have low-volume feet, narrow ankles, and can manage the heel height. They are dressy, and look amazing with skirts and dresses. I have the cream, and they’re reserved for dressy occasions because the heels are too high for daily wear.
Dr. Martens 1460 Chrome Boot: Docs in a metallic shade of turquoise are quite special. They will probably feel uncomfortable at first, but wear in really well. The metallic pink is as fun.
Boden Bell Coat: Faux Shearling Fabness. Super comfy and cosy, great length, fits a range of body types, and comes in toffee.
Boden Estella Sweater: This is for DOG PEOPLE even when you don’t like grey. It’s quite tailored, but fluid in the right places. Sleek and refined despite the slogan. Launders well, and there’s a cream version for Cat People. The grey earned a place in my wardrobe and I wore it right away with cute checked pants.
Club Monaco Self-Buckle Pant: You can’t see the waist of the trendy pants in the photo, but they have waist buckles and look super cute in a fab ’80s way. Click on the link to see the buckles. Great quality and works on a range of body types.
Yinka Ilori is a London-based artist of Nigerian heritage, who specialises in creating artwork that blends Nigerian traditions with contemporary design.
This Summer Yinka Ilori designed, ‘The Colour Palace’ – a temporary outdoor structure currently at the Dulwich Picture Gallery. It was the winning design for a competition run through the gallery and the London Festival of Architecture. Crafted from pieces of timber, each side of the timber louvres forming the façade is painted a different colour, creating shifting layers of pattern when viewed from different angles.
The Colour Palace by Yinka Ilori is being displayed at the Dulwich Picture Gallery this Summer.
Yinka’s colour palace is a celebration of colour, pattern and light and draws upon both European and African cultural traditions in creating a design that is relevant to and representative of today’s multicultural London.
A model of the winning competition entry – Currently on display at the Royal Academy
Inspired by the traditional African fabrics he was surrounded with as a child, his work features the pops of colourful geometric lines that feature in Nigerian patterned prints with a hint of playful 1980s retro nostalgia.
The artrepublic Brighton gallery are excited to stock his prints from the ‘Do Good Because Of tomorrow’ Exhibition. The phrase is widely used in Nigeria and is used to inspire people to participate in good deeds and catalyse positive changes.
‘Do Good Because of Tomorrow Side A’ – Signed limited edition of 15 – Silkscreen Hand Finished Print:
‘Do Good Because of Tomorrow Side B’ – Signed limited edition of 15 – Silkscreen Hand Finished Print:
Back in January, and just for fun, I chose a word and colour for 2019 and asked you to join the party. Six months down the line, and we’re checking in on how things have progressed.
I chose “relaxed” because I need to be less tense, uptight and anxious about certain aspects of my life. I am often the cause of my own stress, which is something that I control and can therefore change. I want to stop worrying about things that are not important, because they take up precious time and energy that I could be investing elsewhere.
I took this to heart and I’m trying very hard to focus my energy where it can make the most difference. This requires little conversations with myself during the day. It has been an effort, but I have been disciplined about it and I’m beginning to reap the reward. I do feel more calm, despite 2019 being a stressful year for a variety of reasons.
Every time I feel stressed, I stop and ask myself the question: how important is this relative to the other things happening in my life? Many times, the answer is that it really isn’t that important. It’s extraordinary how well this simple little strategy has worked. If it is something important, I tackle things one step at a time. Taking the step back allows me to subdue the emotions and focus on the positive, not allowing myself to spiral into negativity. If there is someone else involved, I discuss it with them when I have something constructive to add.
I’ve also done some soul searching to pinpoint exactly what it is that causes stress and creates happiness. Of course, I can’t eliminate all the things that cause stress and simply do happy things because unfortunately life doesn’t work that way. But I am better at eliminating unnecessary stresses, getting my head right about them, and making a point of doing stress-relieving activities and happy things EACH DAY. For me that’s physical activity. I try to walk as many places as possible, and I practice yoga three times a week.
I am extremely relaxed about fashion, my own style, and my work with clients. Those areas of my life cause me no stress and give me lots of pleasure. I relax into every style analysis, closet edit, closet review, purchase, sale, hunt, shop, outfit creation session, and don’t let any of it boss me around. I spend time on fashion and style every day, and that is stress-relieving.
It’s also important that I create things from scratch each day, which might mean cooking a fabulous meal, writing a blog post, making something for our new home, or figuring out how to help a client with a wardrobe dilemma. The thing that makes me most happy is spending quality time with my boys Greg and Sam, and I am constantly trying to make more of that happen.
I chose red for 2019 because I love the colour and all that it symbolizes. I want to be relaxed, but I also want to maintain my high levels of energy, energize those around me, show unconditional affection to my favourite people, be creative, go on exciting adventures, continue wearing my heart on my sleeve, and make a positive difference.
My progress is good. I added more red items to my wardrobe that spark great joy. The exact items are shown in the collection. Some of them became instant workhorses, like the red jeans, patterned blouse, linen shirt and Japanese micro-check wide cropped pants. Now that the weather has warmed, I’m sure I’ll wear the heck out of the dress too.
I continue to have high levels of energy for which I am very grateful because it allows me to do the things that make me feel I’ve accomplished something to my satisfaction in a day. That in itself is stress-relieving and creates happiness. We moved to an exciting new home, which means small but meaningful new adventures daily. As far as showing unconditional support to my favourite people and animals, you’ll have to ask Greg, Sam, and my family and friends about that.
Over to you. If you chose a word and colour for 2019, I’d like to hear your thoughts and progress.
This weekend saw Trooping the Colour, the Queen’s official birthday celebrations, seeing the royal family gather from far and wide to mark the date with a parade.
While the Cambridge family was expected to attend, Prince Louis made news for his first official royal appearance. But it was Meghan Markle who really hit headlines, with the Duchess of Sussex breaking her maternity leave to make a surprise appearance.
Royal fans were confused however to see Meghan wasn’t present at the first group appearance on the Buckingham Palace balcony after the procession, only joining the royals later.
While some speculated that Meghan could have been tending to baby Archie behind the scenes, it is thought that the newborn wasn’t in attendance and that Meghan was instead most-likely doing a quick wardrobe-change, emerging without her jacket.
Meghan’s appearance was surprising, with the Duchess still in her maternity leave and not taking on any royal duties until the end of summer, but given her closeness with the Queen, it’s hardly surprising that she made an exception.
We’re wishing Meghan Markle a relaxing rest of maternity leave!
We’ve rounded up the trending new colour combinations to freshen up your wardrobe for spring.
From sweet sugary shades to bold and bright hues the SS19 catwalks were awash with colour. But don’t think you have to stick with just one; designers from Roksanda to Tibi clashed and combined various colourways within their collections proving that it’s not only what you wear that’s important, it’s what you pair it with. But with a whole spectrum of different shades to choose from where to start? Experimenting with one of our eight colour combinations below could be a good place…
A zesty injection of orange can help liven up darker sludgy shades such as camel, tan and brown. Adding colour-pop accessories like this belt and bag are an easy way to transform your look without turning your entire wardrobe upside down.
Despite what you think pastel palettes can pack a punch too. These pale hues – especially when paired with delicate silk and lace – inject a fresh sense of femininity, helping to tick off yet another SS19 trend.
Calling all Colour-phobes… These two tones combined are ideal if you’re seeking a spring alternative to your usual dark and dull go-to colours. Similar to white, mint green is a light and airy shade perfect for the warmer weather whilst the pale pewter grey helps to create a crisp modern look.
Considering these two shades sit so closely together on the colour wheel it’s not surprising how well they work when worn together. Use the darker of these two tones as your outfit’s core colour whilst adding accents of light lilac into accessories and shoes and you can’t go wrong.
Yes, it’s true what they say; pale pink and paint-box red colourways can clash but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be worn together. If you’re not brave enough to colour-clash your outfit head-to-toe then try it via shoes and accessories.
Bought heavily into spring’s ‘au naturel’ trend but already bored of seeing 50 shades of beige whenever you open up your wardrobe? Try teaming these neutral colourways with tutti fruity yellow hues for a fresh approach.
These two tones are so closely related that they work best together when the balance is kept equal. So if an outfit’s top half is completely covered with teal then make sure aqua plasters the entire bottom half and vice versa… Just like true siblings, one should not be favoured over the other.
Styling & words: Sarah Barlow Photography: Michael Mills Make up by Sophie Higginson using Dermalogica & MAC Cosmetics Hair by Liam James Moore using products by Davines and Kiehl’s Since 1851 Model: Vlada at Linden Staub