Harmony 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.

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