Relating the Colors Worn to the Pigmentation of the Hair and Eyes (1931)

The latest in a series of excerpts from “A Correct Costume Enhances the Wearer: Color and Line in Dress” by Laurine Hempstead, copyright 1931 – a delightful book on dressing to complement your figure with vintage tips that hold true today.

Chapter VI: Relating the Colors Worn to the Pigmentation of the Hair and Eyes

The effect of colors upon the hair and eyes should be carefully considered, even though these points should be subordinated to that of selecting colors becoming to the skin. The person with a slender and well-proportioned figure, who need not fear increasing her size or emphasizing her silhouette and who has a clear, healthy complexion, can wear almost any beautiful color. She may consider her eyes and hair first, emphasizing whichever is the more attractive feature. Occasionally persons with unusually beautiful hair or eyes can afford to wear colors enhancing their most distinctive feature, even at the expense of figure or complexion, although never if it pronouncedly magnifies a defect.

color names referred to in text

The Hair

Improved luster of hair emphasizes color. – The actual color of the hair can best be enhanced by care, which increases its luster, the lights reflected by shining hair giving it added beauty of color.

Enhancing color of the hair. – The hair may be made to appear brighter and more colorful if the opposite or complementary color is worn. Yellow hair will seem more golden, a more decided yellow, if a blue costume is worn.

Value contrasts give emphasis to hair. – Particular care must be taken that the value is not so similar to the dominant values in the coloring of the wearer that a monotonous effect is created. Attempting to match the hair is usually a mistake unless one desires to subdue its color, as in the case of so-called red hair, which may look softer and more harmonious when blended int he color scheme by means of a matching or closely allied hue in a value similar to that of the hair.

Warm, vivid, analogous colors fade hair. – Analogous colors that are slightly warmer in hue and more vivid in intensity make the hair seem faded by contrast. …Brown hair with brown apparel that is slightly more red, richer and more vivid in tone, loses by proximity to the more forceful color.

The Eyes

hues found in eyes

Make-up alters size and color of eyes. – Eye make-up may deepen the color of the eyes, increase their apparent size, and make them look more vital and alert, or it may make them look hard and coldly expressionless. Much more care is needed for its successful use in the daytime than for wear in the evening under artificial lights. Women who must wear glasses frequently find that eye make-up does much to counteract their unbecoming effect.
Colored eye shadow, green in tone for green eyes, blue for blue, blue-green for those of this hue, dark brown for brown eyes, may be applied discreetly to the lids. If used so hat it gives just a faint suggestion of color, it will deepen the apparent color of the eyes, making them seem larger and brighter.

Eyes accented by matching hue. – The color of the eyes may be greatly intensified by the repetition of their hue in the costume, the liquid depth of the eye acting as a mirror to reflect color. The color must be carefully controlled however, and used either in small areas or with partially neutralized intensities. A dress in a vivid color of the same hue as the eyes, say, a bright blue dress, will make even very blue eyes seem pale, characterless, and dull by contrast; but a small area of this same vivid color would accent the blue of the eyes.

Intensifying color of the eyes. – The use of a hue complementary to that of the eyes may also increase their apparent color. Yellow, orange, and red-orange, used either in the entire costume or in accents, may increase the coloring of eyes in the cool color range as much as would a repetition of their coloring.

Want to read more?
Start at the beginning – The Hairdress Shapes the Face
Go to the previous post – Relating the Colors Worn to the Pigmentation of the Skin
Go to the next post  – stay tuned

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