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  • Colours, fashion styles and the Seasons- an overview.

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    Wendy Scully

    How do you know what colours suit you the best? Should you listen to the current colour trends? What are seasonal colour trends? Should you just pick what’s in fashion that season?

    Each year the trends of colour in fashion change. The reasons behind this are multiple. People like to change, if we all wore the same colours each year I think  most would get bored. Fashion is ever changing, and to keep fashion young and vibrant then change is needed, in fabrics, styles and colours. 

    Some colours have historical traditions, and even within different cultures the tradition of certain colours for events many different from other cultures. Please refer to my  article of ‘Colour in Cultural Tradition’.

    Often the colours in fashion, especially at the horse racing, are suggested by the release of the ‘Pantone’ colours of the season. Pantone is a company that has been established for many years. Please read the article about the ‘Pantone Colour in Fashion’.

    A range of colour shades are released each season to direct, suggest or give guidance to the fashion colour range of the season, be it winter or spring.

    There is much excitement and even betting on what colour  Queen Elizabeth 11 will wear at the main week of the Royal Ascot horse races in the UK. Often a shade of lavender, pale yellow or blue, but never green. Betting can be fierce to guess the ‘right’ colour. Although we know she will always wear a similar hat shape these days.

    Well in advance of the ‘next’ season, the colours are released and many milliners, Racing fashion and dress designers try to reflect this colour range, or pick one specific colour. Of course the standard colours of white, black, red, navy and a rose dusky pink are always popular millinery hat staple colours.

    When you are planning your Racing outfit, or even your Mother of the Bride outfit, you will need to discuss your colour plan and overall style look with your designer. 

    Ordering your outfits many months in advance may mean that you aren’t “in fashion” with the season. However, you should always pick a colour that suits you, not just because its “in”.  You know which colours you feel the most happy in, which colours people always compliment you on when you wear them. These are your colours.

    Some companies offer sessions on what are “your colours” whether you are a winter, spring, summer or autumn person. Often this is a great way of rechecking your most flattering colours, however don’t get too stuck in “I can only wear a specific shade of red“ as its all you end up wearing, and can be boring and maybe not appropriate at certain functions.

    Many fabrics and sinamays can be dyed to match fabrics. 

    However it can be difficult to get an absolutely exact match of colour. This is mainly because each fabric reacts to dye differently. A silk fabric, compared to a sinamay, and even different weight hat sinamay fabrics will react and absorb dyes differently.

    So asking your milliner to match a colour is not as easy as you would think. The milliner need to know colour mixing theory works, and the mixing effects of different shades and mounts of colour dyes. 

    But of course the background to this aspect is what are you dyeing. Dyeing a darker based  fabric won’t have the same final colour effect as dyeing a white base. A cream based fabric will also change the final colour. As there are many shades of beige and cream this can change colour dye matching to many variations. Always get a sample first from the milliner to coordinate.

    The actual fabric used also changes the final effect of a colour. You may have to accept that the final hand dyed shade is slightly different to the original commercially dyed fabric. Commercially dyed fabrics use different grades of dyed compared to hand dyes and the final affect on the fabric colours is quite different. 

    Smooth fabrics react differently to a dye, natural fabrics also react differently, even dyeing individual feathers they also react differently to a dye. See my article about “Feather Flower work”.

    So when choosing a colour or style for your race outfit, look at what’s “in” then adapt these colours to what suits you the best.

    Always be aware of convention, for example, wearing black and white to Derby Day, and the tradition that “green” is meant to be bad luck at the races for some cultures.  Please refer the  articles on Race Day Traditions and Ascot Race Wear.

    Different race events and even certain wedding venues may also have their own restrictions. Please see the article about “Ascot Dress Codes”.  Check with the wedding venue, especially if it is a cultural significant building , eg a church or mosque as there may need to be dress conventions also adhered to. Be aware that a specific colour you could wear may cause offence to some cultures. Please see the article on “Colour and Cultural Meanings”.

    But above all wear to the races what makes you happy, that you feel comfortable and relaxed in, not just in colour but in dress style and something that is appropriate to the season. Sometimes classic is always the best, as the reason it is classic is that for many years and seasons it always looks good.

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