Pantone Color of 2013: Emerald

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If you’ve been reading for several years, you know that each spring bloggers highlight the Color of the Year. After a couple of years of pink and coral tones (honeysuckle and tangerine) we have gone to something completely different: Emerald Green!  Check out the link below to get some info directly from the site.

Pantone Color of the Year

You will see many varying shades of Emerald. This spring you also see mint green. So, get your green on and enjoy wearing these fun shades. Below I created a fun layout of this year’s color.

Color of 2013

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Spring 2012 Trend: Color Blocking

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Color Block

Milly pleated dress
£160 -

Martin Grant color block dress
$466 -

Strapless cocktail dress
$70 -

Alexander Wang colorblock dress
$450 -

Sonia Rykiel mustard cardigan
1.120 DKK -

River Island heel boots
$150 -

MYSUELLY leather handbag
$412 -


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Announcing… Tangerine Tango

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It’s official. In December Pantone announced the color of the year as Tangerine Tango. You may recall last year was Honeysuckle. When you click on the Pantone site you’ll be able to read a little more about this choice.

“Sophisticated but at the same time dramatic and seductive, Tangerine Tango is an orange with a lot of depth to it,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “Reminiscent of the radiant shadings of a sunset, Tangerine Tango marries the vivaciousness and adrenaline rush of red with the friendliness and warmth of yellow, to form a high-visibility, magnetic hue that emanates heat and energy.”

 I know what many of you are thinking… Orange… not ORANGE! I’ve found from working with many women that you either LOVE or HATE the color orange. Last summer I wrote about my journey with orange. The past year we have seen orange re-surface and we saw all sorts of shades. Personally, I’m partial to a softer coral rather than an overpowering fluorescent shade. But, I have to say that even the brighter shades are growing on me. I get so many comments when I wear orange.

Hands down, the biggest fear women have with orange is “it doesn’t look good around my face.”

I realize I cannot do an extensive color analysis with every person I meet when I am in a retail setting. However, I am often surprised at how quickly I can get an idea from carefully noting hair color, skin tone and eye color. Many women have warm colors in their eyes they have never noticed until I point it out. The trends in hair colors and highlights are definitely warm. Bottom line: Many of you will look great in the color orange.

Still skeptical? Here are some ways to work in tangerine tango into your wardrobe.

1. Start with very muted shades that do not overpower or separates with just a touch of orange.

2. If you have very fair skin, blue eyes, pink tones in your skin AND you are just scared of orange, start with a pinkish coral shade instead.

3. Add in orange with some accessories: handbags, shoes, a bracelet or even a little orange in multi-colored scarf.

4. Wear orange as a layering piece only

Are you getting tired or your winter clothes and need something to brighten your mood. Orange is the answer. Layer it under any neutral!

Caslon                                        Sanctuary                                  Bobeau

            Velvet Heart                                                                     Not Your Daughter’s Jeans

Nic and Zoe                              Trouve                                        Halogen

All photos from Search the brand name for these styles and many more.

What do you think? Will you give orange a chance?

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Things I Love: The Color Orange

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Congrats to Dominique, Comment #8 chosen by as the winner of the Free consultation. She is a faithful reader and comments often, yet this is her first time to win. If you haven’t been a winner yet, keep trying. Your day is coming.

Who would have ever thought it? Five years ago I NEVER would have worn the color ORANGE. When I was told during color analysis training a few years ago that orange was a good color for me, I was skeptical. I thought it was crazy. Now I actually like orange–a LOT!

In case you haven’t noticed, orange is everywhere! Some shades are really more coral which I preferred when I first started branching out to orange. Other shades are a little more pink. They called that Honeysuckle this spring. It’s a good way to transition if orange just seems too overpowering.

Another way to add orange is with accessories. If you like the color, but it doesn’t work with your skin tone, carry an orange purse or try some orange shoes. Both will actually go with much more than you think and give that pop of color. I’ve admired many orange handbags this season.

I thought it would be fun to show lots of orange from a number of sources.

First from Accentuate: (located at 500 NE 4th Ave in Camas, WA)

Note in the photos above that we just have a hint of orange in the scarf and the dress has a few other colors. This can be a great way to try orange in small doses.

Special at Accentuate: 20% off anything ORANGE for Style by Karen readers. Mention this article, and we’ll take care of you! If you are not local, clothes can be hard to fit. However, if you know and recognize HOBO INTERNATIONAL wallets, this is a great deal, and we can do a phone sale. Contact me for the details.

And now for even more orange! The links below will connect you directly to the site to get a close-up of all the details.

Online Shoes: Born Parlor   Clarks Alpaca

20% of most regular priced items. Code 1Thanks

Handbags from Fossil

From Macy’s

Jones New York                              T Tahari                                       Fever

A little more casual from Athleta


Teelicious Hoodies                                        Vyasa Dress                                 Snap Cap

What do you think? Will you look for something orange next time you shop or steer clear from anything resembling orange?

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It’s Black, It’s White…getting it right

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Every week I have women come in to the boutique where I’m employed and say that their closets are full of black clothes. They would like more variety. I am generalizing a bit here, but it seems that as women age the less they like black. Typically they have worn black for years and are just plain tired of it. They feel it does not flatter them as the years go by.

Yet the stores are full of black and bright white. I know from recent buying trips with the store that black still dominates out there in the designer world. Sometimes it seems that the only option is BLACK!

I learned a great deal about how to wear black and choosing the right white during the color portion of my stylist training. It gave me a whole new viewpoint on color. As I continue to read info from other stylists, many are right there with me.

It simply isn’t an option to rule out black and white from your closet all together. It IS an option to be careful in how you wear them. Here are some simple rules I follow. I think these are good rules whether you are 20 or 60. When judging colors, keep in mind that your hair, skin and eyes will be the basis for what you choose.

1. Look for more clothing options in a dark charcoal rather than jet black which is not quite as harsh. It also adds more interest and variety. A very dark brown-what I would call espresso is another great alternative.

2. Add color with layering pieces and accessories when wearing black–especially around the face. Scarves and jewelry make a huge difference and help brighten up black.

3. If you are just not a bright color person and prefer neutrals, creme or khaki work well to soften black.

Now let’s get to WHITE courtesy of  Wardrobe 911. It is the best article I’ve seen on this topic. My purpose in referring you here is not to send you into a panic about the whites already in your closet. It takes a while to find the best white for you and to see the difference. My goal is to simply get you thinking about the whites you choose to wear.

There is going to be a certain percentage of readers who do not agree with this information because they love their bright whites. I get that. I’m also fully aware that there are certain people who look great in the bright whites. Like so many things, it’s a transition. I’m still getting there myself. I didn’t want to give up my black jackets/coats and my white shirts. Now I’ve leaned how to pair them with other things so they can remain in my closet. There are times when I find something that is such a great fit and my only color option? BLACK. I’ve learned to work with it.

If the whites you own or continue to find are just a little too harsh, you can also follow Rules #2 that I listed for black. Have more questions? Please contact me directly and I’ll be happy to help you.

Would love to hear from you. Black? White? What do you do to get it right?

PHOTO CREDIT: White House Black Market

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Add Color, Pattern, Texture and Shine

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There are many ways to add variety to your outfits. I find that some women are partial to neutral colors and monochromatic dressing. I actually like both approaches a great deal. However, as you have seen in my earlier posts on the color gray, I believe a pop of color goes a long way.

For those of you that don’t like to wear pattern, I encourage you to add pattern in other ways. Still not for you? Try varying your textures. Creating a look by adding Color, Pattern, Texture and Shine with accessories is a point I really emphasize to clients.  How much is too much? This post will help you know how to add some pizazz to those blah, tired combinations. Add interest and it will make your outfits stand out!

If you have ever watched TLC’s What Not to Wear, you know that Stacey and Clinton say that every outfit needs the four components stated above. I love when it works. But let’s face it. It can be difficult, and it’s not easy for every outfit. Accessorizing is challenging to many women.

 We’re going to start first with “Karen’s Rules”

Rule #1: Add your color in ONE to THREE places. 

#2: When you add the color, aim for one of those to have some pattern or texture if possible.

#3: Shine can easily be achieved with jewelry and patent leather to name a few.

Here are some ways you can add the interest with Color, Pattern, Texture and Shine.






-Gloves (don’t forget that gloves are NOT just for cold weather! This is a great way to add color and texture)






Pick and choose the accessories. Note that I didn’t say ONE to THREE accessories. Go for more if you like. Of the accessories you choose, decide where you will add your color and then keep the others neutral.

Here are some examples:

Did you ever think an umbrellas could be a way to add color and pattern? Keep reading to see how you can win it!

I was still on my gray theme when these photos were taken. I have a red sweater underneath the gray coat which is hidden. (I should have taken one pose with my coat opened) I have smaller earrings but silver and crystal with a lot of sparkle and shine. If you feel like a red purse or red scarf “stick out like a sore thumb” when you wear them, try to find something with pattern to mix the red/gray together or just add some red jewelry.

Ok, I’m not loving this. Here’s why… I like  gloves with a three-quarter sleeve. They add texture and color. The infinity scarf was not what I expected. I wanted it to be longer and wrap around twice (ordered online-took it back). It adds great texture but I would have rather had my variegated burgundy scarf that ties in the black.  I have an embellished clip in my hair with sparkle and texture but this is the perfect outfit for a hat. I don’t wear hats. My friend had the gray tweed hat when I saw her on the weekend. I didn’t snap a photo. What was I thinking? It would add texture and pattern to this outfit perfectly and balance the scarf & gloves. Another way to change this up: Gray suede boots. I’m still looking for the right ones…

The above picture is an example of a scarf with lots of texture and various colors. The gloves tie it together. If I had added a teal purse—too matchy. Instead mix your colors–purple patent handbag in this example. This outfit is a great example of color, pattern, texture and shine all in one outfit.

Imagine this outfit without the scarf. BORING. (Imagine that my husband could actually take a photo where I didn’t look like a distorted dwarf!) Pattern and texture are added with the scarf and the tights. The patent leather belt adds a little shine as well as the bracelet. When you add a scarf, I like bigger earrings and  a bracelet. Below, the same outfit with jewelry (for those of you that don’t do scarves.) Again, one small necklace wouldn’t have worked. You need multiple colors, layers to make a statement here.

All of the clothes in the photos are from MANY different sources and I’ve had most for a couple of seasons. Here are the things still available.

Red Handbag: Hobo International, Teal and Burgundy Gloves: Accentuate Boutique, Gray Jacket: Nick and Mo brand from Nordstrom sale rack.  Jewelry: Silpada (the picture does not do it justice. There are so many great colors here. They have become “go-to” pieces)

And finally, the Giveaway! Make a comment or ask a question on color, texture or pattern and you’ll be entered in the Giveaway for this Brighton umbrella. CONTEST ENDS 9 PM PST Monday, January 24th.


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Brighten up your Day with Gray: The Sequel

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I’m sure you thought I forgot. I’ve been working hard on finding unique combinations to wear with gray. It’s taken a little while, and I thought I better get this posted before spring! But wait, I think we’ll soon find that gray can be worn year round. When I wrote the original posts on Gray, I added burgundy. Many of you made comments about the colors I should try. I think we got all your suggestions covered except coral and a pink raspberry color which I would love as well!

First of all, I’d like to share some unique combinations with gray that you have probably not seen a great deal. Green and yellow! Who would have thought it? Hopefully after this post, you will see gray as neutral and as flexible as black and brown. Yet, the  softer tones of some shades of gray are less harsh than black and much more appealing with these lighter colors.

 Purple and gray is always a favorite combo. Then some shades of teal/green/gray in a scarf tie it all together.

Here is the same scarf as shown above on me and the gloves add another dimension of color. I took a close-up of the gloves so you can see the great details on the wrist. They also have special finger tips for texting.

These last photos show the perfect shade of blue that works well with a light gray. A client brought this sweater to me perplexed about what to put with it. The lighter gray just wasn’t working with a light teal blue and pink she had picked out at the store. It was OK, but not great. I ran upstairs and grabbed a blue top and some jewelry. Voila! It made such a difference.  I took a close-up of the blue (I have the same shade) to really give you the idea. Lots of silver jewelry is the perfect complement to this combination. Note: It really works well with a light gray vs. a charcoal.

Credits: A big thanks to my friend Leigh Anne for allowing me to use photos of her wearing the yellow/gray and the yellow, green and gray combos. And thank you to my client Kristi for sending a photo. I know how difficult it is to get a photo wearing the right thing and then sending it off. I promised these ladies that I’d show only the clothes–thus the cropped versions.

The clothes and accessories are from such a variety of places: AT Loft, Kohl’s, Nordstrom, The Rack, boutiques! If you love a particular item, make a comment and I’ll tell you if it is still available or where you could find something similar. What is your favorite combination?

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Color Me Gray

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Gray is THE color this fall. I’m sure you’ve heard me say this and seen proof in the stores. Recently I was explaining the benefits of gray over black (not quite as harsh) while shopping with a client. The sales associate chimed in agreeing, “You can never have too much gray this year!”

However, after adding a few gray pieces to what I already had from previous years, I soon felt like my gray outfits were dull and boring. Perhaps it’s because I live in a part of the country where we have our share of gray days. Here in the Northwest, decorators tell us not to choose paint with a hint of gray for our interior colors. I’m wondering if the same concepts apply to dressing. Once the weather changed and I started wearing some of my gray pieces, I realized there was a missing link. Black, gray and white are all fine and good, but I knew I could do better.

 When I do  “What to Wear” show for a group of women, I often wear an outfit that I think is missing something. At the end of the presentation, I ask for their input to see if they’ve picked up some of the things we’ve discussed.

For this post we’ll try the same thing. Below are three combinations of gray that I’ve worn this fall. The vest is actually a dark charcoal gray which is hard to see in the photo. These were all worn with dark wash jeans, black jeans, gray skirt with black pockets or gray pants. I knew when I was wearing them that I wasn’t completely satisfied with the look. Seeing myself in a photo (my son’s homecoming) further emphasized the point. It’s very easy to brighten up black/white with red. Gray is a little different.


Ok, it’s time to weigh in. What would you do to change the look of these outfits? Make a comment and it counts for the SWEEPS WEEK CONTEST.

My answers will be coming the end of the week so stay tuned.

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Do You Prefer Patterns or Solids?

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Our winners for the Silpada Giveaway are: Comment #2: Cynthia D. Comment #3: Kristi G. Winners were chosen by Congratulations to you both. Kristi Thomas will be contacting you soon. Thanks for reading.

Does your closet favor solids or patterns? If you are ”anti-pattern” could it be that when you think of prints this is what comes to mind?

For some of you, it really just boils down to personal preference. But often women admire pattern on others, yet they have completely taken pattern out of their life because they feel it adds pounds. Some aren’t sure how to choose a pattern appropriate to their taste, or they worry it will become dated quickly. Still others fear they are “too old” to wear pattern. 

I have outfits that are completely solid. I admire a monochromatic look. I also have a lot of patterns in my closet.

I hope that after reading this post you will start looking at patterns in a different way.

1. They add variety to your closet. Prints and patterns allow  for versatility when combined with solids. You have way more combination possibilities not to mention it adds interest! When I go to a client’s house to work in her closet making new combinations, my job is easier when there are patterns!

2. Small patterns can camouflage the middle. The right style top with pattern hides a lot of sins.

3. Still not sure? Add a jacket or cardigan in a solid color so just a touch of the pattern is showing

4. Start with a very subtle pattern like a super small print or very narrow stripe.

5. Just NOT you? Stick with your solids but add some jewelry, a belt or scarf (even a solid in a contrasting color will add some interest)

Look at all the possibilities for combinations in the tops below. All these tops are great examples of pieces that mix and match with 2-3 basic neutral colors. Brown, black or gray for skirts/pants. You could add sweaters/jackets in brighter accent colors OR stay neutral. Small colorful patterns as shown below bring the eye up–to your face! Patterns allow you to mix in several of your favorite colors along with a color that perhaps isn’t your best in a solid shade. And, I’ll be honest, when you are wearing the wrong color solid it can be drab, boring, cause you to look tired and even older.

 Yes, patterns on plus size models. They look fabulous!


More patterns. One a little more abstract and bold, the other very subtle. And the asymmetrical hemlines are becoming a huge favorite of mine!

Let’s weigh in here. I’d love to hear from you. Does your closet favor patterns, solids or a nice mix?

(All photos from

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All the Right Colors: Part 2/Giveaway!

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Continuing the discussion on color… Color analysis became very popular in the mid-80′s when we were classified by season. I shared with you that back in the day, 25 years ago, I was told I could wear deep cool colors. Now,warmer colors look better on me.(certain blues and purples are my cool colors) What many women don’t realize is that color analysis should be done every 10-12 years or more if you change your hair color. Skin changes, hair changes and contacts can cover or distort your true eye color. I do not recall an emphasis placed on all the colors in my eyes in 1985. As I pointed out in the last post, this is key! When doing color analysis, I use 500 swatches. I look at a client’s hair, skin and eyes to choose 42 of her best colors for her own individual palette. If you clicked on that link–yes, that is me during training w/o makeup which gives the most accurate portrayal of my true colors!

The two colors MOST women can wear successfully are shades of Brown and Teal/Turquoise. This makes sense when you think of all the shades of brown in our hair (even blondes) and the various shades of blue/green eyes out there. The choice of my website colors was somewhat intentional. Teal is one of the most versatile colors because it goes with brown, black, navy and khaki. Brown is much more flattering than black.

So what about black? You already know how I feel about BROWN. I do not tell women they can NOT wear black. I hear things like–it makes me look thin, I feel better and more confident in black. Recently I’ve also heard women over 50 tell me they are staying away from black. They understand how it causes them to look tired, and overall is not flattering with their skin. There are times for black. I get that. Try pairing black with one of your best colors (preferably your eye color) close to your face.You can also tone down black by combining it with a warmer shade of brown or khaki. Black is OK occasionally, but try to avoid a whole wardrobe of black and brighten things up a bit!

Still not sure? The next time you see someone wearing a very bright color. Look away and then back again. What do you see first–the color or her face? If you see the color this means that the color is wearing her! Now try it on yourself. You should see your face first. Finding the right shade that does not overpower you is important. Typically women with darker hair, skin and eyes can pull off those deeper, bold colors. That doesn’t mean that if you are fair you must be smothered in pastels. In fact, pastels can wash you out quite easily. If you love pastels, try to find a more saturated pastel. I like to show this color wheel and explain that there are some women who can wear the deeper intense colors on the outside edge of the wheel, very few should choose the very inside with the pastels, and many women do better with the middle of the wheel which is mid-range for color intensity.

 How about you? Were you boxed into a season with color analysis years ago? Is there a color you’d love to wear but just aren’t sure? What did you learn about your eyes? This article just scratches the surfaces. There is much more to color and it is very individual. The best way to know is to have a color analysis. As an extra GIVEAWAY this month, I will do a color analysis for one lucky winner. ($100 value) I believe we can do this long distance with the right close up large photos; all readers are eligible. Any comment enters you in this drawing. Contest ends: Saturday, April 17 9:00 AM PST

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