As a middle school teacher, I often hear that I don't match or am questioned: how do you match? I still remember my first year teaching a self-contained class in my little classroom overstuffed with all boys and one tough girl, when a boy (who later went on to fashion school) asked: "Miss, how do you match?"
My response, appropriated from Stacy and Clinton of What Not to Wear: "I don't match; I go."
And that truly is my motto. People who know me well and have seen me go through the process of putting together an outfit (sometimes quickly, sometimes more thoughtfully), I abhor matching too much. Strong word, I know, but I prefer mixing things up and having fun with color. I also prefer not to wear common color combinations such as red/white/blue, save on the fourth of July; orange and black; red and green; even yellow and black, as it reminds me of a bumble bee.
Lately I've discovered the depths of neutrals: grays, black, navy and brown. I hardly wear brown, though, because it matches my skin too much; but, I love my brown pumps (worn here and here). Black is overdone, with reason, but hackneyed just the same. I love gray, particularly charcoal gray, but navy blue is my favorite; It's like black, but not quite. I love mixing neutrals together (like here and here) and wearing black or navy with brown accessories. A brown pair of shoes or purse softens the harshness of all black in a lovely way. But, a brown outfit with black shoes will not work as well. A brown dress, black tights and brown shoes, yes, but all brown and only black on the bottom is a little awkward.
I also realize that as I continue to mature, and in addition to exploring neutrals, I find myself evolving past my self-imposed color limitations, sometimes by unknowingly and other times on purpose. I wore red and blue here and in a way here; and black and white here. I also used to avoid wearing white and black because it reminded me of a uniform. However, I've matured and am realizing that I can wear common color combinations in ways that are me. Even though I remember the outfit mentioned as black and white, looking back at it I now remember I also wore navy (and black) polka dot tights and brown pumps. Totally me!
To end, one of my best compliments was given to me by my painting professor during senior year in undergrad. He said: "You live color and that is evident in your work." The painting professor also talked about color theory, saying that some