OF COLORS IN CLOTHING
1 Men's Clothing
The first important principle to be noticed here is that a dress composed of cloths of different colors especially if the colors are complementary or nearly so may be worn much longer and will appear better although nearly worn out than a suit of a single color even when the latter is of a piece of cloth identical with either of the kinds used in the first mentioned suit.
The cause of this it will not now be difficult to understand. Suppose the effect of the contrast of the two colors red and green or red and blue used in a suit of clothes be to add one tenth in brilliancy to each color and suppose that one year's wear would diminish their brilliancy one tenth then in the case of the two colors associated they would have the same degree of brilliancy at the end of one year of wear as would be presented by a new suit of either of the colors alone. The increased brilliancy gained by the contrast of complementary or nearly complementary colors is one great advantage of forming the suits of soldiers of cloths of different colors.
A dress made of cloths of different colors will not so soon whiten in the seams as a dress of a single color.
2 Female Clothing Blondes
The complexions of females of the Caucasian or white race present two types. 1st blondes with light hair and blue eyes. In this type the color of the hair which is more or less flaxen is essentially a very pale orange brown and the color of the skin although of a lower tone is analogous to it except in the red parts. Now Nature has shown an admirable regard to the harmony of colors in contrasting blue eyes by hues of the complementary orange in the hair and complexion. The purplish red of the lips and the rosy hue of the cheeks beautifully modify the severity of the contrast on principles before explained (see page 114). Thus much for Nature's regard for harmony. Nor is it now difficult to see what colors in dress best accord with the blonde type for it must be as is well known sky blue that color which approaches nearest to the complementary of a pale orange.
On the same principles delicate green is favorable to all fair complexions that are deficient in rose and which may have more imparted to them without disadvantage for it not only harmonizes the sky blue and the pale orange but gives its complementary red to the complexion. If however the complexion be already too red or have too much orange in it even delicate green will be unsuitable for what it will add will give the complexion too much of a brick red hue.
We may now see therefore why either a light blue bonnet ornamented with white flowers and sometimes with yellow and orange flowers but not with rose or violet flowers or a green bonnet trimmed with white or rose flowers is advantageous to fair or rose complexions. Neither orange nor yellow bonnets are suited to blondes and purple is unsuitable to all complexions as there are none which are improved by having its complementary greenish yellow added to them.
Rose, red, pink, maroon, and light crimson have the disadvantage of rendering a fair complexion more or less green and if used in a bonnet they should be separated from the skin by a border of tulle lace or some similar material. Although lustreless white accords well with a fresh complexion it is unsuitable for complexions that have a disagreeable tint because white as we have seen exalts all colors by raising their tone. Black draperies by lowering the tone of the colors with which they are in juxtaposition whiten a fair complexion but this very whitening exerting its influence most on the whiter portions of the face causes the rosy parts such as the lips to appear relatively to the white redder than before.
The reason why deep blue and deep green would not be suitable to blondes is that colors to be complementary must correspond in depth of tone Therefore it requires a tint of blue or green as light comparatively as the pale orange of the complexion to be the complementary of the latter.
3 Female Clothing Brunettes
Brunettes with black hair and black eyes form the second type of the complexions of females of the white race. Yellow and red more or less orange are the two colors which contrast most favorably with the black hair and black eyes of brunettes. Hence a yellow or orange bonnet suits a brunette well and may have for trimmings their complementaries blue or violet if large masses of hair separate the bonnet from the complexion. As the brunette complexion has already too much orange in it it is evident that so much blue as would be presented by a blue bonnet and which would impart its complementary orange to the complexion would be unsuitable for this type. If a white bonnet be worn its accessories may be of red, rose, orange, or yellow but not blue.
4 The Copper colored Black or Olive colored Races
As the copper colored complexion of the women of the North American Indians would be disagreeably dulled or deadened by partially neutralizing it or lowering its tone it is better to heighten its tint. For this purpose a drapery of white may be used on the principle that white heightens all colors or a drapery of greenish blue may be employed for then the complexion will receive a still redder orange hue. The olive or black complexion also appears best when heightened by contrast. To this end if the skin be intensely black or dark olive or greenish black, red is preferable to any other color. If the skin be a blue black orange is particularly suitable. Yellow best accords with a purple black as being nearest its complementary. It is not without reason therefore that negro women delight in red orange and yellow for these colors best become them by heightening the tone of their complexion.
From the foregoing principles it will now be easy to see how the prevailing color of the complexion may be either heightened or lowered by the dress worn.
1 The prevailing tint of the complexion is heightened by a white drapery
2 By a drapery the color of which is the complementary of the tint such as a green drapery for a rosy complexion or a light blue drapery for the pale orange complexion of a blonde
3 A green drapery also heightens an orange complexion by giving it more red and a yellow produces a similar effect
The tint may be lowered
1 By a black drapery which lowers it by contrast of tone
2 By a drapery of the same color as the tint but of a much deeper or higher tone such as a deep red drapery with a rosy complexion or a deep orange drapery with an orange tinted complexion for in these cases the deep tones have the effect by force of contrast to blanch out the lighter tints of the same colors
From A Manual of Information and Suggestions for Object Lessons in a Course of Elementary Instruction 1862