Harmony of Colors, The World of Colors, The World of Colors

To understand Neutral, Muted, and Toned down Colors, and their Advantages for Clothes

Here is one for my belts for the Spring / Summer 2020. Its colors are typically Japanese … and it’s not easy to find English words to describe them. There are neutral, muted and toned down colors. Explanations.

To start with, here the is color palette:

And here are now the explanations for each of those colors, i.e. the family to which they belong, and how they are composed. Starting with the one on the left … which is almost a trap 😉

at fist glance, this color looks like a kind of green …moos green? solider green? or khaki? Technically, man gets this color by exclusively mixing a bit yellow with black; this is what is called a toned down color (here, a tone down yellow); or a shade of yellow. So, yes, despite appearances, it is not a member of the green family, and if you print it, it will not use any cyan ink. This touch of gray adds something wabi sabi … Among the traditional Japanese colors, few are close to it: gray willow (yanagi-nezumi), color of old bamboo (oitake-iro), or time altered celadon (sabi-seiji).

When correctly seeing this color, we will primarily match it with black, or gray, or yellow … or any greyish color. Rather than with a genuine green, which would vibe differently.

The following color is a burgundy red. Technically, it’s red plus blue. We could talk about purple, or bordeaux … or amaranth (pigweed). But we can’t say that this color is pure … since mixed. We can’t say that it’s bright or bold, since it is quite soft. We can’t say that it is neutral, or dull, because it is expressive, a bit sanguine. Indeed, it’s what we may call a muted color.

Somehow, this is a bit like a tone down color (darkened color). Since, technically, we can get a very close result when mixing a slightly fuchsia pink with a few black.

The 3rd color is clearly a beige, so a light, or very light brown. We could possibly say tan, or sand. We obtain this color by almost mixing a bit of everything. And that will go with almost any other color.

Why almost? Because this precise beige has no blue. If it were a bit more dark, a bit more gray (like the greige of Armani), it would match even more most colors, indeed everything.

Lastly, what is also interesting:

  • this color can also be obtained by whitening a kind of golden beige … (whiten a color = get a tone of this color, wheras darken a color = get a shade).
  • The color to be whitened is precisely the one following in the colors palette of the belt … surprising?

How to name this golden beige? Camel? or ochre? A Japanese would probably refer to certain tones and colors of leaves in autmun (like kuchiba).

The “funny” thing is also that we can get a very close color when mixing yellow with burgundy red! 2 colors that we met before in this post … and this coherence explains the overall harmony of the belt.

To quickly finish …

  • the pink of the belt could be named old pink / antique pink. So, it’s a light / whitened red (pink), with a hit of gray. But it can also be obtained by whitening a burgundy red.
  • There are then 2 tints of gray, mixed with light other hues.
  • the black is very slightly bluish.

To finish, you have here:

  • muted colors, ie together rich, complex and soft, like a landscape in autumn;
  • toned down colors, more or less grayish, like the colors of nature at the end of winter or early spring;
  • and neutral colors, rather pale / light, based on gray, beige, and even pink / nude hues.

The colors of those types has 2 big advantages:

  • they will match any gray, or black, or beige, or white outfit … indeed, anything classic;
  • they match themselves very well.

After, you can like or not … it may match your style or not … your skin complexion or not. But those colors can always be mixed in an harmonious way.