Falling Into Color Theory

Some may know, but not all, what color theory really is. In the most basic sense of the term, color theory can be described as the guide to quintessential mix and combination of colors. It doesn’t stop there though, the color wheel comes into play with the primary, secondary, and tertiary colors as well. We all know the primary colors (red, blue, yellow) cannot be created by mixing other colors, but rather they create the other colors we see when they are blended. However, secondary and tertiary may not be such common knowledge amongst others Secondary colors (green, orange, and violet) are the outcome of combining two primary colors; for instance blue and red create violet, yellow and blue become green, and so on and so forth. Lastly the tertiary colors are where the color wheel can become a doozy. Tertiary colors are the combination of either a primary color with a secondary color or the mingling of two secondary colors; more or less these colors are the red-orange, yellow-green, and etc. of the color wheel. As for using the colors in an ensemble, it can normally be seen that the colors farther apart on the color wheel are more optimal together than two colors next to one another; for instance orange and blue work very well together, whereas yellow and yellow-orange may not always look phenomenal together. Now that we’ve gotten all the hubbub out-of-the-way about basic color theory, let’s get excited for fall!

With fall fast approaching I can’t help but become overly eager about fuzzy sweaters, cozy bonfires, and of course all the warm drinks on chilly days. Leaves will soon be falling and that glorious crunch will be heard under new suede boots as a soft whistle of wind can be heard through the trees they came from. Since I’m originally a desert dweller my first interaction with Indiana’s ever changing seasons was to say the least…confusing.

I’m sure you would have guessed that Arizona is not the coldest place and those Phoenicians can get away with just jeans and a light sweater most of fall and winter. I didn’t understand how one day it could be 65 degrees and pretty delightful out and the next come crashing down at a frosty 45 here in Indiana. I asked myself, how do they all know to dress every day?! After a few short days of either sweltering in jeans and a sweater or turning into a popsicle in leather shorts and a fuzzy top I finally caught on. The secret of course was layers! Quite honestly, I was disappointed I hadn’t caught on sooner to the Hoosier ways. I survived the balmy fall and winter, in case you were wondering, we witnessed in 2014-15. Now that I know the “secret” of layers I will forever stand by them, but the fall colors are what has really made me love this season.

Here in the good ol’ midwest, we are gifted with the change of seasons. That moss-green, deep yellow, burnt orange, and barnyard red hardly show up in downtown Phoenix so I’m sure you can understand my amazement when I got to jump into a pile of leaves this past year and be surrounded by all these colors.

This fall I want to point out the classics of the fall season. Reds, oranges, yellows, greens, browns, and whites. Let that nostalgic feeling of baking cookies, sipping cider, or carving pumpkins pour over you as you step out each day this fall draped in cozy fabrics and warm colors. When I first started this article I sat down and thought about the most optimal colors and shades for fall. Since I was having a hard time describing the colors I wanted to depict I hopped in my car and went to Lowe’s Home Improvement store. As I was rifling through the paint chip section I realized I knew exactly what colors I wanted, I just hadn’t been able to describe them; well of course names like barnyard and honeycomb were able to give me all the information I needed to write this article. After Lowe’s I went to my local Jo Ann’s fabric and crafts store with one of my good friends. As I trotted around the store searching for fabrics of all patterns and types to perfectly match the paint swatches I had originally picked out I piled the different fabrics I had chosen in his arms, nearly making him topple over. Then I went to the seasonal section to search for the perfect fall leaves and other knick knacks. The last step in finding all the different pieces for the story-board was the market; corn husks, pumpkins, oranges, golden raspberries, and sage leaves were a necessity to really pull the whole board together.

When I finally sat down to create the story-board I knew that the color wheel should be on a bed of vibrant leaves, the paint swatches would look superb with their proposed fabrics, but what would represent these colors in the actual sense of fall? Over the course of a week I would run into new ideas that suited each color. The reds with their plaid flannel swatches paired wonderfully with little leaves and a deep corn husk. The oranges ended up being the easiest to think of with the burnt orange peel and the pumpkin pairing with the corduroy and silk fabric; yellow came next with honeycomb and golden raspberries being the fall identifier. Moss, sage leaves, and a small flower worked perfectly for the green suede and linen swatches; a bundle of acorns and pinecones for the deep brown leather and the cinnamon sticks for the camel colored suede would fit just deliciously. Lastly, would it really be an Indiana fall without corn husks representing a light tan linen and some small flowers for a white suede? I think not.

These are the wonderful and classic colors that have come together to represent fall for the 2015 season. Copper, gold, and bronze are warm metals to add a little glitz to any ensemble composed of warm flannels, suede boots and coats, leather pants, or linen and cotton blouses. Stay warm and cozy this fall and always remember the secret of layers and the fall color theory!

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