When I was a kid, probably about 12, I had this awesome patterned sundress. I remember it because I always felt like it was a bit special – I think it was a gift and may have been a “brand name” of some nature. Remember wearing tshirts emblazoned with Stussy or Ripcurl across them? Or Mambo (if your parents were okay with the edgy design aesthetic)?
ANYWAY, I vividly remember wearing that dress and some girl questioning its excellence by opining that red and pink clashed – it featured both, heavily – and that “everyone knew that”. Did they know that, snooty pre-teen girl? Because I thought that dress was dope, and the colour scheme, while certainly vibrant, certainly did not “clash”. (And now, please excuse me while I go and write this on the list of things I clearly still need to work through with someone appropriately qualified.)
To be honest, I’m not sure clashing colours are even a real thing anymore. Blue and green should never be seen? Please, nothing looks as fresh and bold as cobalt blue and emerald green, together. If they aren’t meant to be next to each other then why are tall trees green and the sky blue? Red and pink clash? The entire realm of tropical flowers would like you to get a grip, thanks. It might be bright, garish even, but it still very much works.
I, for one, am pleased that we are living in a time of increasing maximalism in fashion design, along with increasing minimalism in fashion consumption. I recognise that there’s an entire school of minimalists Marie Kondo-ing their way to a wardrobe full of grey cashmere and white cotton. There’s also room, I think, for a school of thought that believes that buying clothes more ethically means buying things you really love in a thoughtful way, and not being constrained by dumb fashion rules.
One of the stupidest fashion rules, in my opinion, is the idea that certain colours suit certain seasons. I don’t know that this is so much a rule as a trick – if you’re told that deep berry colours and camel are “so right for Autumn” then you have a reason to buy more things for your wardrobe. If you believe that palm print and pink floral print is for summer, you cycle through them. Like the scourge that is seasonal interior decorating, this is obvious nonsense designed to do nothing but make you buy more stuff. I think certain materials are more season appropriate – no, I do not want to wear a chunky merino knit in high summer – but colours should not be chosen on the basis of which season we find ourselves in.
For starters – Autumn is three months long. Some of it must be more summery and some of it must be more wintery. So clearly the very notion of Autumn is fairly arbitrary.
Instead, you should try to find things that:
(a) will work with your skin tone, if you’re good at that kind of thing, or you can ignore this bit if you’d rather just wear colours you like or
(b) you know you can wear across seasons.
I’ve worn this top as part of a summer outfit, and as soon as my red coat came to be via a clothing swap, I knew it would get paired up with this shirt at some stage in order to bring out the red details. I’m currently plotting an outfit including my tangerine trousers, the most summery of all trousers, that will be worn in May. And, to be honest, I don’t care if I clash (so there).