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Finding confidence through a fashion palette

BYUH students shared their tips for mastering color coordination

Accalia Stancliffe posing in a blue dress with blue eyeshadow.
Accalia Stancliffe said the color blue commonly symbolizes sadness or dilemma, but if someone’s favorite color is blue, it might be simply their happy color.
Photo by Yui Leung.

Discussing the elements of capsule wardrobes, fashion enthusiast Abish Baliwas said she found happiness in the art of mixing and matching colors in her outfit. Baliwas is a senior majoring in anthropology and political science from the Philippines.

According to the Modern Minimalism website, the term “capsule wardrobe” was introduced in London in 1970. The website explains, “A capsule wardrobe contains a few essential and timeless items, such as skirts and pants, that you can supplement with seasonal pieces [and maximize the number of outfits].

For Baliwas, the capsule wardrobe is something she always has on her list. She said her collection consists of a long and short-sleeved white shirt, a black shirt, a black dress, denim pants, dress slacks and white shoes. She said, having neutral colors allows everyone to pair them up with anything. She said, “You can wear the same pants and shirt every day then just change [outerwear] over it and nobody’s going to know.” Baliwas suggested putting on a jacket, hoodie, cardigan or any patterned outerwear.

Vibrant colored clothing

When she was younger, Baliwas said her mom always took her to the thrift store so she could learn to mix and match outfits. She said her confidence to wear bright colors didn’t come instantly. “You would never catch me wearing something bright before, because I was very insecure about my skin color. I was darker than other people in the Philippines, so I convinced myself never to wear brightly colored outfits.”

But when she arrived at college, she got a light yellow dress and people complimented it when they saw it. She said, since then, it has become her signature color and people remember her as a yellow dress girl.

Accalia Stancliffe, a senior majoring in visual arts from Texas, shared a similar experience. Stancliffe said she used to wear jeans and simple oversized T-shirts, but her style began to shift as she began trying out brighter clothes. After feeling more comfortable dressing in more vivid colors, she said, “I can wear neon colors. Our skin should not dictate what color clothing you wear, because all of us can pull off whatever color if we go more into fashion.”

Stancliffe said every person has their own favorite color and it doesn’t always mean it’s a reflection of the common meaning or symbolism of color for a person. She explained, the color blue commonly symbolizes sadness or dilemma, but if someone’s favorite color is blue, it might be simply their happy color. Stancliffe said, “Because of my love for Princess Peach, that’s why I was naturally drawn to the color pink. … Try to adopt the color that matches best with you and explore it.”

In her painting class, Stancliffe said she learned about how reflected light and color bounce off and reflect onto our skin. She said it works like when the light hits our faces and clothes. She illustrated this by hovering her hand over her green pants and the green reflected on her hand. She said this principle reminded her that certain colors are more flattering on certain people, but it doesn’t limit you to wearing bright neon colors.

Do’s and don'ts 

Balinas said there are no exact do’s or don'ts in fashion because, in high fashion, sometimes they professionally clash one pattern with another. However, when it is not on a catwalk, there is always a preference. For her daily outfit, she said she wouldn’t combine patterns, she said, “It will be hurtful to the eyes because the colors fight each other. It won’t be good for those who wear and see it.”

Stancliffe said, “Personally, mixing gold and silver is never a good idea because it’s a different type of metal.” She added it has the same characteristics as a strong hook to the eye but doesn’t look good when they're together. “If you wear something dominantly gold, just stick with gold. That’s the same with silver.” As we train our eyes on what is appropriate and inappropriate to be combined, she said, slowly we will understand what style and color are appealing to the eye.

Accalia Stancliffe posing.
Photo by Yui Leung.

Accessories to compliment

Baliwas said some days she might only want to dress up simply with subtle colors. She said when her outfit is only a shirt and jeans, she chooses to match it up with accessories. She said even a simple accessory can add a little accent to your overall look.

Stancliffe said the accessories we wear can match the hue and saturation of our shirts. She said one of her tie-dye dresses is yellow, green and pink. She suggested choosing accessories with a color element from one’s outfit, even if it’s only a small part, it is acceptable.