Thursday, October 27, 2011


This was the sunset from my backyard last night, brought to you by The Artist Without a Paintbrush.

It is nice that the colors partially offset the headache-inducing atmospheric conditions of the Chinook arch.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Rethinking Power Dressing

A lot of books about wardrobe color talk about the cultural statements certain colors wear. I started a database of those constructs as I read the different books, but it got lost or deleted. Dang.

For example, black has long been considered the power clothing color.  Brown is considered more sensible. Purple is royalty, green is relaxing, blue means loyalty, red is "Va va VOOM".

Every business person in Korea wears black. They called my husband a "playboy" for the colorful clothes he was wearing. Here he is, pictured in his travel clothes in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. Those guards are the same height as my 6'4" husband!

Now to the point of my post:  I've been thinking of in light of the recent Occupy Wall Street protests.  Maybe it's time for Wall Street to get back to wearing brown, the more "sensible" color.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Wearing suits to get your message heard

The folks from Occupy Wall Street want to be taken seriously, not dismissed on the basis of their clothing choices. Out of this has emerged the Proper Business Attire Working Group at

Suits for Wall Street from Wall Street Suits on Vimeo.

From their website: "We all look great in suits. To reporters, to workers, to skeptical tourists, we'll look like people to listen to, or, at the very least, to hear out. Lazy journalists won't be able to take the easy, dismissive out, and will have to actually listen to what we are saying. The conversation will grow out of the protester echo chamber and into the wider world, where it belongs."

Monday, October 10, 2011

Color Math

These days I am trying to figure out some color space math, because I have an idea I'm trying to develop which involves some color space conversions. It was very good of Gabor Boronkay to put this all on an Excel spreadsheet. I can understand doing some mathematical operations in Excel, although I am very rusty at it.  I refreshed my memory by going to Youtube and viewing some tutorials on matrix multiplication. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Makeup pigments

I'm on the guaifenesin protocol for fibromyalgia, which has been working quite well for me for the past three years or so. Salicylate molecules block the effectiveness of the medication, so we have to watch what what we put on our skin, as salicylates are readily absorbed.

The only makeup item that proved especially problematic to buy locally was lipstick. Mail-order companies like Andrea Rose make a castor-oil free lipstick.  Castor oil is a a major ingredient in lipstick, but contains salicylates.

I decided to make my own lip glosses, so I ordered a bunch of mineral pigments and I mix the colors I want with petroleum jelly. Works well for me.  I also liked receiving my mineral pigments in the mail, it brought me back to the days when we looked at such things in geology school. *sigh*

My learnings: one, all makeup is basically pigments in a medium. It always was "mineral" makeup! Two, if you want botanicals in your makeup, you have to add preservatives or the makeup will get moldy very quickly.  It seems a bit ironic to me that to have the benefit of the botanicals you have to add the preservative. Actually I have no strong opinion on preservatives, I know that some folks are dead-set against them; I haven't looked into the topic for myself.

I know this is a bit of a rabbit trail on the topic of color in clothing, but it's been a while since I blogged, and my lip gloss supply was diminished. So here I write about it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Your own coloring is part of your color palette. Eyes, too.

Best-selling book Color Me Beautiful states that most winters have blue or brown eyes. Yet brown is not in the winter palette.  I think if brown is in your eyes, then it is in your palette.

Stylist Brenda Kinsel agrees, writing that she has core wardrobe pieces relating to her hair and eye colors.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Chevreul and the color fringe effect

Michel Eugene Chevreul's scientific work covered a wide range. Besides being a snappy dresser himself, He wrote The Laws of Contrast of Colour.  He noted that colours influence each other when side-by-side.

If you stare at colored disks for a while, you will start to notice a fringe or halo in another color surrounding the disk. That halo is not actually there; your mind is producing it.  It has to do with the eye manufacturing missing wavelengths or "seeking white balance."

The reason this has implication in clothing is that the shirt you are wearing has an "anti colour" which is influencing the way your skin looks. If your shirt color is throwing off a flattering halo, you will look good. If it is throwing off an unflattering halo, your dark circles and blemishes will actually be enhanced!

When I worked at Dairy Queen in the 70's, I had to wear an orange-colored uniform. The supervisor wouldn't stop going on and on about how sick I looked. I think she might have had other problems than acute observation! Conversely, in my closet I have a favourite blue shirt that I wear and I invariably get compliments on, even if I'm not wearing any makeup.  There is definitely something to the colours we wear and how we are perceived.

[I love how many fields such as philosophy, science, and business are being given the graphic novel treatment. So I did a preliminary sketch of a panel illustrating this topic.]

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Years ago when I first started my Certificate in Visual Design program, the Colour Theory program ignited a passion for the topic of ideal clothing colours for the individual. I had noticed how wonderful Cameron Diaz looked in the movie There's Something About Mary. Also how stunning Julie Andrews looked in her golden yellow suit near the end of The Sound of Music.  How I got compliments on how great I looked when wearing a certain shade of blue, even when I was sick as a dog. Conversely how my manager at Dairy Queen kept on about how sick I looked when I was wearing the orange uniform of that era.

When I was deciding on my colour theory topic I initially thought about the fashion side of colour. My initial lizard-brain said that it was a dumb and frivolous idea. I chose to ignore the inner critic and went ahead with it. I decided to ask the question: what makes certain colours ideal for the individual?  That was the focus of my research, and I earned an A+ for my paper, and an endorsement from the prof that she expected to see me on the Fortune 500 list someday!

Life circumstances motivated me to get my research to a certain point and then shelve it, to revisit it again someday. I think now might be the time.

Update: while I think what my teacher said above was very encouraging, my main goal with this blog is to share my thoughts on this topic and work towards her optimistic view of me.