The ideal wardrobe for any woman is made up of many tiny decisions.  Early in my career I made choices intuitively, often not realizing WHY a certain thing was going to showcase a client perfectly … just somehow knowing that it would.

Eventually I  recognized the underlying theme – points of connection!  The more elements of the outfit that repeated the woman’s inherent characteristics, the more fabulous the pairing. Both the client and the garment looked more attractive because of the repetition. The focus went to her – not the specific item she was wearing.  People didn’t say “what a great dress” but instead started saying “you always look so wonderful”.

If that sounds confusing, let me use a non-garment example – my home.  Before I married Mr Wonderful I had a very traditional home with rather soft furnishings — not flat-out Laura Ashley English Country, but nodding in that direction.  When I moved into his mid-century modern, angular and more hard-edged house, my softer things looked totally out of place.  They were lovely, his house was lovely, but the combination was like fingernails on a blackboard.  Neither did anything to enhance the other. The pictures below aren’t my real homes, but you can see the obvious disconnect, right?

points-of-connection

That same thing happens with women and clothes.  The collage below – from a recent fashion mag – features 10 gorgeous women in 10 fabulous gowns.  But do you see how many of the combinations make the woman appear entirely unrelated to the dress?  Don’t ask which dress you like better on its own, but rather which one showcases the characteristics of the woman wearing it.  instyle1

Your attention may go first to Viola Davis – in bright yellow top right.  She’s a stunning woman, but can you see how the brightness of the color makes it difficult to focus on her darker, low-contrast facial features?  Or maybe you noticed Naomi Campbell’s black and white Versace gown. It’s gorgeous, she’s gorgeous, but it’s hard to take you eyes off the black and white color bands to look at HER.

In my opinion, the best choice in the group is Laura Dern’s.  I cropped her out (not very skillfully – sorry) so you can really see the points of connection.

points-of-connection1

See how her skin color, hair color and its highlights and low-lights are all included in the print? The contrast between the paler background and the darker print elements is about equal to the contrast between her pale skin and  deeper eye color. The softly curved print motifs echo the wavy shapes in her hair. The lip color is as warm as her total color pattern and as deep as her eye color, so her face looks balanced.  There’s a lot going on in the outfit, but still your primary attention ends up at her face — you’re seeing HER.  That’s the impact of “points of connection.”

Can you find at least one item in your closet that has points of connection to you?  Tell us about it in the Comments.

If you need a hint, repeating your hair color is an easy place to create connection. See below  how each  woman  chose a print that includes that element. You see the print and the face as one unified visual, don’t you?  Much more on color choices coming soon…

hair-color-prints

 

About Nancy Nix Rice

I help other women feel confident about how they look every day - regardless of their age, budget, lifestyle or the size tag in their pants - so they put wardrobe concerns on the back burner and go share their gifts with the world.

20 Comments

  1. Wanda on February 13, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    Most interesting! I am a deep brunette with very little gray, brown eyes and ivory complexion and short. Would you be taking my reds away? I always wear red to work on Mondays… to help my mood and others for the brightness! I wear lots of black with brightly colored accents around the upper portion or in my jackets…..not the type prints that will jump out!

    • Nancy Nix Rice on February 13, 2017 at 1:32 pm

      Thanks for your comments Wanda. First let me clarify that I don’t take anything away from anybody – that only happens on those nasty makeover TV shows. Real wardrobe consultants provide professional guidance and insight to clients who implement it in the way they choose.
      Second, nearly everyone can wear nearly every color family if they find the right version of that color. To use your example with red, one woman might be best in a true fire-engine red, while another might need a more rusty red and a third might look better is a cool but muted or dusty red. They all have a similar psychological energy.
      It sounds as if your current hair color is dark enough to connect well with basic black, but you may find that softening as time passes, so your best neutral may shift to some version of gray or taupe. That is actually part of the topic for next week’s lesson.
      And finally, I used a print example in this post because it gave me so many “points of connection” to call out – not as a blanket endorsement of prints over solid colors.
      Much, much more on color and print selection to follow. I’m fighting with myself as I write these articles because I desperately want to just tell everybody every single thing at once. But of course we can’t process info that way …need small steps.

  2. Jeanna on February 13, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    Oh darn! I have medium to light brown hair, but have never cared for brown clothes! They make me feel frumpy. I guess I don’t really know what to look for. Good reason to pay attention here, I guess!

    • Nancy Nix Rice on February 13, 2017 at 9:54 pm

      Jeanna, I hear this a lot from women who are indoctrinated to the brightness of black and white. But after we start building a wardrobe in their best neutrals and their optimal coordinating accent colors, they find they never want to go back. Sostick with me here and I’m betting that by the end of our color discussion you’ll be a happy convert.

  3. Barbara Webb on February 13, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    You are doing a fabulous job, Nancy
    Barbara Webb

  4. Katrina on February 13, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    You would think that color would be the easiest point of connection, but I have not always found that to be true. While I like my hair color – golden blonde over medium brown – I can’t seem to get over my aversion to the brown/tan/beige/camel color family in clothing. On the other hand, I love wearing my eye color – grey-blue-green, and lip color – dusky rose – in clothing. To further confuse things, I was diagnosed as a “Light Spring” and according to my official palette, I should not be wearing either of those colors. Ha! Needless to say, I take the official color consulting advice with a grain of salt.
    Prints are another challenge, and I know how you feel when you say you want to blurt out everything at once. I will try to abbreviate it by saying I have an oval face, wavy hair, and smallish features. I lean toward medium-contrast florals (when I do a print), mainly because I like them! I also have some small geometric prints that are either rounded or blurred shapes. I *think* these two types of prints may provide some points of connection in shape, color, and contrast.
    I have never known what to do about jewelry. “Medium and round” is what I usually try for, because even though I’m tallish (5’9″), I have very small bones. Large pieces look odd on me (to my eye), but small pieces seem to disappear in the vast lengths of fabric needed to cover my body. 😀

  5. TC Ferrito on February 13, 2017 at 6:55 pm

    I just wanted to reinforce Nancy’s advice. Once you “get it”, everything comes together. I am one of Nancy’s clients who sews. It is amazing how I can pull together fabrics in my stash now to color block a top or use as a foundation for an outfit- and because I understand points of connection- it all works! I can now buy on a whim and know that it will work with what is already home. The fabrics that coordinate just seem to find each other in my stash and scream “sew me together”. And it really is simpler and save me time and effort. Done with my commercial!

    • Nancy Nix Rice on February 13, 2017 at 9:56 pm

      Thanks TC – so glad you’re happy with the results of our work together.

  6. Mary on February 13, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    I get what you wrote (and I picked the same model so hopefully I’m not a lost cause!) My question is what to do in your 60’s when the overall color you present is dull, faded or mousey? I guess I worry if I “connect” with it, I’ll be even more drab.

    I did get from your book (I bought it, read it cover to cover and love it) that even though we crave color the colors we choose in our 60’s won’t be as vibrant as the ones we could wear in our 20’s.

    Right now I’m gravitating to white and denim (I’m retired).

    • Nancy Nix Rice on February 13, 2017 at 10:12 pm

      I often hear that concern from people with subtle coloring. Think of it this way: if you put something bright next to something more subtle, which one are you going to notice? The subtle becomes drab-looking by comparison. When you surround subtle with other subtle, you get gorgeous understated harmony I promise. And the range of subtle colors that are most flattering for you will all work together in amazing ways – much more easily than brighter colors will.

      • Mary on February 14, 2017 at 5:38 am

        That makes sense – so it’s about finding the right subtle colors to connect with? I’m really impressed with the time you are taking with us in these comments. I can’t wait to read the next post in this series.

  7. Anna on February 14, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    Great visualisation of your main point! It left me wondering – these women often get their dresses made by designers. Surely a good designer or fashion house should make clothes that emphasise their customers, clothes in which their customers look great, stand out and look stunning, not clothes that make a customer to dissapear behind them. Clearly that is not the case.

    • Nancy Nix Rice on February 14, 2017 at 3:51 pm

      Ironically, in these high-visibility situations both a designer and a stylist can benefit more from getting the garment noticed than from actually making the individual woman look her best. And frankly, these personal flattery concepts aren’t taught in most design schools or understood by most celebrity stylists.
      The same thing happens in a retail setting – the more the clothes are super-bright or super-high contrast, the more they catch a shopper’s eye and the more likely she is to buy them and be overpowered by them … unless of course she is taking some training like this series.
      Of course some women do look good in extremely bright colors, but the majority … not so much.

  8. Leslie Willmott on February 14, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    Nancy, this series is terrific! I’m directing a woman who lives too far away for me to work with in person to your posts because you communicate and illustrate the process so well. And, of course, I always recommend your book :-). Thank you!

    • Nancy Nix Rice on February 14, 2017 at 3:43 pm

      Thanks Leslie – coming from a fellow professional your compliment means a lot.

  9. Beth Chambers on February 16, 2017 at 8:55 am

    This concept almong with getting the right colors, are possibly the two biggest things you could do for yourself! I’ve been a convert for a couple of years now and I must say I do enjoy the compliments! I am over 60 and 40 lbs overweight, but when you put all the right things together, age and weight are not what people see. It’s not an excuse to stay plush, as I’m forever working on that aspect of my body, but it is nice to know you can look great at any size by practicing a few guidelines!

  10. Kathleen on February 21, 2017 at 9:32 am

    I really struggled with this one and have put off answering all week. I think that for the most part my wardrobe has completely missed the mark as far as points of connection go. I focused on garment classes – pants, tops, sweaters, shoes – and covered the basic neutrals – black, brown, navy, grey. Then coordinated print tops to go with each neutral, and added shoes and cardigans in each neutral. The closest point of connection was brown, but the brown in my work wardrobe is way darker than the amber brown of my hair, which with the arrival of grey is now almost reading dishwater blond. The best connections came in the scale of the prints, which are well suited to my petite frame and the softness of the fabrics, which I think ties in with the gentleness that I aspire to project. Then when I had about given up, I put on a new outfit recently created as part of part of your Craftsy class “Sew to Flatter: Plan Your Best Wardrobe”. The outfit consists of a pair of slacks in a lovely caramel rayon ponte from your website and a twin set of caramel rayon jersey (fabric also purchased from you). Since I was now drenched in caramel, I added a scarf (from your website) to supply some “pop’, and as I stood in front of the mirror, my jaw dropped. Here were the points of connection I was looking for: The ponte is the color my hair used to be but the lighter colors included in the print (MULTI-DOT OBLONG SCARF – BROWN) provide a great connection with the color of my hair right now. The scale of the print provides a point of connection with the scale of my features and the curvy lines of the Angela Wolf twinset provide a great point of connection with my curvy shape. Surprise! I think I’m beginning to understand.

    • Nancy Nix Rice on February 21, 2017 at 11:38 am

      Kathleen, it sounds as if you have been doing what so many of us do — focusing on points of connection AMONG our clothes and accessories (like print tops to go with all your solid neutrals) but forgetting to connect the whole thing back to US. I wish I could have been there to see the big smile on your face when you saw the impact of including YOURSELF in the formula. It really is magic, isn’t it?

  11. Karen on March 2, 2017 at 3:41 am

    Points of Connection Outfit:

    One of my first tries at styling an outfit. I am a short, heavy female with medium reddish brown Hair, blue eyes, fair skin tone, round face. I put black jeans with a black cardigan over a teal turtle neck sweater with a teal and black scarf and round quarter sized post silver earrings. All colors from my fan.

    Connections: The black column of color makes me look taller and thinner. The teal highlights my eyes and brings the red out in my hair, the scarf ties turtle neck to the cardigan, and the earrings draw attention to my face.

Leave a Comment




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.