Color and Print Overload

Color Overload

I was exceptionally pleased with this outfit when I put it together. In my mind’s eye it seemed quite chic. The multicolored scarf looked beautiful with the bright teal knit blouse. The dark indigo cropped jeans set off the burgundy pumps nicely.  The blue jacket harmonized with the navy blue patent leather purse. Of course it should all go together! A quick check in the mirror confirmed my thoughts, and later that day my husband and I took a few minutes to photograph my newest fashion creation up in Griffith park. I couldn’t wait to see the resulting photos.

Later that day we looked through the images and I seriously wondered what was wrong with my fashion sense. The outfit was supposed to be a perfectly coordinated symphony of blues and greens highlighted with burgundy touches. Instead it was a cacophony of clashing elements. What went wrong?

Elements of a Fashion Faux Pas

My mother gave me this blue velveteen jacket early in the fall. I love the cut and the button details. There’s nothing wrong with the jacket. It looks good over a number of other pieces.

Dark Blue Jacket

The scarf was a birthday gift from my mother-in-law. I love the rich fall colors. The teal in the scarf matches my teal knit blouse almost exactly. Even though I’m not happy with the outfit, I do love the combination of the top, jacket and scarf. The colors are so beautiful!

Colorful pieces

Finding a purse to wear with this outfit wasn’t easy, but at least the navy blue went with the blue jacket and jeans.

Navy blue patent leather purse

Here is the newest addition to my kitten heel collection. My closet is filled with black shoes, so recently I’ve been trying to buy some more colorful options.

Burgundy patent leather kitten heels

Each photo looks nice on it’s own. The problem is in the combination of all the elements. I thought the colors would tie the look together but  there’s just too much going on with the silhouettes, proportions, details, and textures.

Color Overload

Colorful outfit

I think you can see from these photos why I’ve decided to focus on collecting a few excellent, basic pieces this year. Would a pair of long, skinny jeans or elegant, slim, black slacks have made the outfit work?

Color Overload

For the last few years fashion has been obsessed with color and print. It was certainly refreshing and I indulged in the trend wholeheartedly. It was liberating to experiment with brilliant colors and multiple prints in the same outfit, but it’s not easy to get the look just right. In trying out more color and print myself I have become very respectful of the women who can put together bunch of seemingly unrelated pieces and make it look cute. It’s very easy to look like you’re trying too hard, or worse, like you rolled out of bed and put on the first few things you found. My outfit in this post falls more into the first category: trying too hard.

I’ve been asking around on Twitter for fashion resolutions and a lot of women have responded that they will be looking for perfect wardrobe basics in 2013. Will we see a return to a more serious, simple look this year? Minimalism is certainly intriguing me right now. I have an overwhelming urge at the moment to remove about half of the clothes from my closet and just leave the best, most wearable, simplest pieces, but maybe I’m just overreacting. I don’t want to give up color and print in my wardrobe entirely, and yet I don’t want to look like a walking fashion faux pas either!

Are you experiencing color and print overload too?


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41 Responses to Color and Print Overload

  1. SACRAMENTO January 7, 2013 at 1:21 am #

    Colour and me are one.Wonderful photos, gorgeous you always.
    SACRAMENTO recently posted..Seapunk in FashionMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca January 7, 2013 at 5:03 pm #

      Thanks Sacramento! Glad you like it.

  2. Marla January 7, 2013 at 2:57 am #

    I have the opposite problem. Just recently I have been trying to mix more color combinations and textures together in outfits. For most of my life I have been too matchy-matchy. I really love how you mix things up. That jacket is beautiful. I love it.

    • Heather Fonseca January 7, 2013 at 5:02 pm #

      Thanks Marla! I got into color and pattern in a big way a couple years ago, but like you I’ve spent most of my life being fairly minimal, or perhaps just being more attracted to solid colors and matching accessories. Now I feel like it’s time to find some more classic styles to add back to my look. Regardless, it’s fun to try out new things, and I’ll probably go through a simple phase and then move back into a more fun one. I can’t usually stay the same. I get bored too easily.

  3. Sylvia
    January 7, 2013 at 5:21 am #

    I think you are being too hard on yourself here Heather. When I saw the outfit I saw exactly what you saw that morning. Great pieces and a great combinations of colours and textures. Although I like the outfit as it is, what would make it simple and perhaps more coordinated is a jacket in the same colour as your shoes (which are very cute by the way). That would tie it all together more (but as mentioned I like it this way too).
    As for colours and prints, I’ve always leaned towards the minimalist side and I’m not bored with colours yet. I think they should be a mainstay in my closet. But yes, I will continue to concentrate on high quality basic pieces that I can combine with geometric prints in black and white with a bright colour thrown in!
    Sylvia recently posted..2013 style challenge: 1.Why is style important to you?My Profile

    • Heather Fonseca January 7, 2013 at 5:00 pm #

      I don’t totally see colors going away in my closet, and honestly I was at the Gap today and was really taken by all the bright colors. It’s fun! But it does seem like there’s been a lot of print and color mixing going on in fashion, and I wonder if we won’t start moving toward a more simple take on color in the future. Who knows. But I’m glad you like the outfit! I think my pants are too short.

  4. Pam
    January 7, 2013 at 5:29 am #

    I think a lot of women are leaning toward minimalism and thrift shopping right now because of the economy. I love a simple, stylish look such as you are wearing today. The teal blouse and scarf are easily something I would do. I look forward to seeing where a minimalist approach takes you!!
    Pam recently posted..From Worst Fashion Moments to Best Fashion Years!My Profile

    • Heather Fonseca January 7, 2013 at 4:57 pm #

      We’ll see how long minimalism lasts with me. I have a terrible problem with boredom, and as soon as I get into one thing I’m on to the next. Sigh. I just can’t help myself. But I agree that the ongoing recession is putting a damper on retail. Still.

  5. Shanti January 7, 2013 at 8:28 am #

    love that last photo, lovely outfit! I didn’t think you were trying too hard at all. I consider my style to be very simple. I also tend to try and find certain styles and pieces in my wardrobe that I feel the best in, and I just wear them over and over again.

    • Heather Fonseca January 7, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

      I’m glad you like the outfit even if I’m critical of it! I also tend to wear the same things over and over, then I switch to something else. Usually in the interim the outfit of the moment gets photographed, and I move on to something else.

  6. classiq January 7, 2013 at 8:48 am #

    I’ve always been the minimalist type, so I rarely wear more than three colours in an outfit. I’ve tried many styles, especially in my early 20s, but less is definitely more for me. The scarf is beautiful!
    classiq recently posted..Valentino: Master of Couture exhibitionMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca January 7, 2013 at 4:53 pm #

      Thank you so much! I’m so glad you like the scarf. I think it’s really beautiful. I love it when I’m given things I like!

  7. nofearoffashion January 7, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

    Oh girl…. I recognise this so much. It happens to me all the time. And I am afraid I am the last person to give you advice. I am always so surprised when people like my outfits.

    Sylvia had a good advice with a jacket in the colour of the shoes. Still, I have a go. If you think it makes sense, try it. If you think I am totally wrong, ignore it.
    I think there are too many different blue colours: the jacket, the blouse and the trousers. A bit different is much harder to combine than contrasting colours I think.
    So if I had to change anything I would have taken light coloured (cream? white? yellow?) trousers in stead of these ones.
    All pieces are perfect in itself I admit. And the outfit is nice too, but I hear what you are saying. The fact that I hate teal (or petrol) makes by biased anyway.
    nofearoffashion recently posted..Orange safari jacketMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca January 7, 2013 at 4:52 pm #

      I agree Greetje I think the blues are conflicting with one another. I tend to like monochromatic color schemes where blue plus blue plus more blue works, but they don’t work when combined with a bunch of other colors. One of my problems is my lack of basics, like cream colored slacks! I really don’t have that many pants, and most of the ones I have are jeans. Sigh. I’ll keep working on it!

  8. Jacque
    January 7, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

    Scarfs tend to be my favorite accessory!!

    • Heather Fonseca January 7, 2013 at 4:43 pm #

      Scarves are an easy way to add print to any outfit I find.

  9. anne the SpyGirl
    January 7, 2013 at 3:38 pm #

    Oh, you will have to pry my bright colors and crazy patterns off of me when I’m comatose! Until then, I am what I am!

    I found it really interesting how, as you point out, all the detail shots look fine and coordinated but you turn into “a hot mess” in the full view. Sylvia nails it on the jacket suggestion. I would also suggest brown pants.
    It’s the 3 different dark blues that are the problem, as No Fear says above but I would say the problem lies with the jacket, the denim and the purse. In your last shot, cover the jacket + purse and THEN you see the shoes tying in with the scarf.

    Funny how things can go so wrong when one gets outside!
    anne the SpyGirl recently posted..Granny SquaredMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca January 7, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

      Anne you have always loved fun colors and prints, but for ages I just used them in my work. Suddenly I’m wearing them and it isn’t always so easy for me to get it right. Not enough real life practice I think! Isn’t it interesting how nice the pieces look individually, then it turns into a mess once it’s together. Unfortunately I have neither a burgundy jacket nor brown pants to try out, however, I was going to wear a burgundy sweater originally, and switched to the teal blouse because of the weather. Maybe the blue and burgundy would have been fine? I don’t know. Better luck next time I hope!

  10. Playing with Scarves January 8, 2013 at 5:37 am #

    Wouldn’t be the scarf, it would be a cacophony. But your scarf does miracle. As it has many different shades in it, it creates a visual link with all the elements of your outfit and makes the whole smoother than you think!
    Anne Touraine (Playing with Scarves)
    Playing with Scarves recently posted..Scarves: Spring 2013 trendsMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca January 8, 2013 at 2:56 pm #

      Thank you so much. It is a beautiful scarf, and it works with a lot of outfits. The colors seem to mesh well with a lot of things. (:

    January 8, 2013 at 8:26 am #

    Well, you know how I feel about this topic, since you commented on my last post…now THAT was color and print overload.

    I don’t think this look is as bad as you think. The blues DO all work together, because they are shades close to each other, and the scarf ties them all together. The only color I feel is the thing that doesn’t belong comes from the shoes, but still, the scarf ties them all together.

    As for experiencing this phenomenon myself, I can’t say I do. I’m drawn to monochromatic looks naturally, mostly in black (yes, I overload that, if that’s possible). I play with prints and mixing them, but a lot of what I wear never makes the blog, though I hope to get back to more personal style shots this year. I don’t think I can overload the colors and prints cause there is something in me that just won’t allow more than three colors in a look. I’ve actually had to force myself out of my matchy-matchy, black shoes, black bag ways. I like to think that’s why I often get compliments on my outfits. I try to keep it simple, letting one item be the focal point.

    I will admit that where I’ve decided more is more is in the jewelry department. I’ve gone from only one ring per hand and maybe one other item (in my 20s and early 30s) to big gold chains, multiple rings, and stacks of bracelets, and I LOVE THEM!
    GRIT & GLAMOUR recently posted..Dear Lucky magazine…My Profile

    • Heather Fonseca January 8, 2013 at 2:55 pm #

      I really hope you get back to posting personal style photos this year too, because I’ve missed your style and your blog. So glad you’ve started up again. I feel like I used to see a lot of fun color when you were posting though. In particular a pair of over the knee fuchsia suede boots worn with a pretty floral dress. Chic! And you might be seeing a lot of black on me in the near future, because I’ve been indulging in monochrome recently.

  12. Tamika D.
    January 8, 2013 at 8:49 am #

    Personally, I LOVE this outfit. I’m in my late 20’s, so, color I love to stalk! I would have added a light yellow bag to add a little pop, but that’s just me. I THINK THIS LOOKS FAB on you & am SO glad my sis found your blog. I look forward to browsing/reading more. Love the photos! Beautiful! Did I tell you I love scraves? I have one similar to this one your mother-in-law gifted you. :0)

    • Heather Fonseca January 8, 2013 at 2:53 pm #

      Aw thanks Tamika and welcome to my blog! I’m so glad you’re following me and I hope you find my future posts as likable as this one. I also wish I had a bright yellow bag. Almost every time I put together an outfit I think “oh, if only I ______ this would look perfect”. Oh well. Not made on money unfortunately. Glad you like my outfit!

  13. Paula January 8, 2013 at 7:13 pm #

    Nope–no color overload here–ever! sometimes I do get tired of the mixing prints thing but never color.

    I like this look really, Heather! The rich tones of blue are chic~
    Paula recently posted..Travel TrialsMy Profile

  14. Annette January 9, 2013 at 2:41 am #

    My closet used to be not very colourful I usually just added one colour to my favourite black-beige-white outfits.
    However, I am looking forward to build in more colours now and I certainly love the juwel tones you are wearing. Especially your emerald shirt and your stylish burgundy shoes. They are amazing!

    Love from Germany,
    Annette recently posted..Emerald GreenMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca January 9, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

      Hi Anette and thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!I’m glad you like my outfit. I was critical but lot of my readers seem to like it. The shoes are something special. I have them in teal too, and I just love them.

  15. Bella Q, The Citizen Rosebud
    January 9, 2013 at 11:27 am #

    I like the pictures- the color teal is the standout and everything seems to go- but maybe it’s one of those outfits that looks better in person? I have taken pics of outfits that were cute in real life but didn’t photograph as well, and the other way around- a good pic of an outfit that didn’t work as well as it looks in print, as it did in real life.

    Like you, I love color but minimalism is even calling to me these days. The fun of fashion is being able to play with all moods, and expressions.
    Bella Q, The Citizen Rosebud recently posted..Think: PinkMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca January 9, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

      I’ve noticed that I love cropped pants in person, but they look silly on me in photos. I don’t know why this is. Maybe it’s a photography thing? I’ve noticed that my simpler outfits tend to look really bland in photos, but perfectly fine in real life. Photography is weird that way.
      Minimalism is calling me too! But I don’t know how long before I’m enamored of prints and fun again. (:

  16. DressCode:HighFashion
    January 10, 2013 at 7:02 am #

    Amazing colour-mix! Loving it!

    Best, Jen

  17. Adiel
    January 12, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

    Oh I absolutely experiment with color and print overload! I actually quite like this outfit!
    Adiel recently posted..Knackered with a Glitter AccentMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca January 12, 2013 at 1:23 pm #

      Thanks Adiel. It looks like more people like it than don’t like it. (:

    January 12, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

    Well, if you’ve seen some of my outfits then you know that I am a colour and print lover, although I do wear a lot of monochromatic pieces and black as well. I went through a few years of greys and blacks in everything and circled back to my love of colour. Lately I have been more into casual outfits for flexibility given the need for extended holiday wearing options. I like the scarf you’re wearing, the rich hues against the teal knit top spoke to me the most! 🙂

    P.S. I always forget to say, I haven’t seen anyone rock cropped trousers so well like you!
    FASHION TALES recently posted..Hit The Ground Running, Sitting, and StruttingMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca January 15, 2013 at 11:29 am #

      Aw, thanks for the nice compliment. I love cropped pants, but then I see the photos and I wonder if I don’t look silly, like my pants shrunk in the wash or something. Sigh.

  19. San Diego Foodies
    January 16, 2013 at 10:34 pm #

    Are you kidding? Nothing wrong at all. You look fab and confident. The only way to pull it off is the desire to pull it off and it’s all manifested in your photos.
    San Diego Foodies recently posted..Clairemont ArtistsMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca January 19, 2013 at 6:50 pm #

      Thanks so much! I’m glad you like the look.

  20. RSA QLD
    February 5, 2013 at 4:36 am #

    You look wonderful! The way you pose looks so confident. That jacket is great too – I like how you match everything up!

    • Heather Fonseca February 5, 2013 at 9:50 am #

      Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment too. I’m glad you like the outfit.

  21. thefashionistachic February 20, 2013 at 7:56 pm #

    Heather I am always moved by your post. You are often unsure. I have to be honest women like you are my best clients. It is much more to fashion than following trends. One my of recent post is How to develop your personal style. I think that you frequent many style blogs and you attempt to mimic what you are seeing. The problem Heather is all these trendy looks don’t fit your personality. I think you are more of a classic girl. I think, as I have told you on twitter, you appreciate sensible shoes. The totally look is more than just color my dear. The total look is fit, proportion and silhouette. One of your reader suggested that your shoe color didn’t work with the rest of the look. If you will indulge me, and allow me to be honest. The issues isn’t at all the colors or prints. it is the cut of the blouse, the cut of the pant, the kitten heel and the cut of the jacket that doesn’t work my dear. I think that you are a beautiful women, with an amazing figure but after all these years of style blogging you have failed to tap into who you really are. I see you as an anthropology gal, with a dash of the Gap and maybe a little Kenneth Cole. It just a matter of picking the right pieces and creating the perfect wardrobe. Maybe one day, if time permits I can give you a complimentary closet edit. You would be surprised how you can benefit from the help of a professional.
    thefashionistachic recently posted..How to develop your personal styleMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca February 21, 2013 at 10:23 am #

      I really struggled as to whether or not I should post the photos of this outfit. I don’t always hit it out of the ballpark, you know? In the end, I thought posting photos of an outfit that I wasn’t totally happy with would be a good way to keep touch with reality. I see a lot of complaints about personal style bloggers on the web, and often the complaints center around the lack of reality. I KNOW this outfit doesn’t work. It’s a classic example of something working really well in my mind, and really badly in real life. The funny thing is it didn’t look so bad in the mirror…Anyway, this blog is a creative outlet. So is my wardrobe. If I always dressed perfectly I’d be bored sick.

      Anyway, I’d love to meet in real life one day, and I always thought it would be interesting to have a professional look at my wardrobe, get a second opinion so to speak.