Not everything is black and white. This fall, there’s a gray area in fashion.
By Maureen Mancini Amaturo
Not everything is black and white. This fall, there’s a gray area in fashion. Not because fashion can’t make up its mind. Not because it’s undefined. Not because it’s depressed. But because gray is chic — classic, neutral, versatile, clean-slate chic. From dove to granite and the smoke shades in between, the breakdown on gray is anything but foggy. Designers are quite clear on the statement they want to make with this middle-of-the-road color: refined elegance, inconspicuous authority. Gray – in all its variations including silver — evokes sophistication.
While gray comes off as understated, there is a power in its subtlety. Think battleships, skyscrapers, Ansel Adams photos, cement, armor, Apple computers. There’s something innate about the strength of gray.
And fashion is capitalizing the impeccable qualities of the color, taking it way beyond the flannel suit and providing a very versatile design element to create powerful fall looks.
To re-image this traditional, low-key color, designers have played with mixed textures, new silhouettes, and anything that is untraditional. Since the human eye can distinguish about 500 shades of gray, (gray has a range of hues that can read warm or cool) this neutral can have its own range of extremes. Watch gray morph through fashion genres from sharp dressing, to menswear, to rock/punk street style. Gray, usually one of the most conservative shades in fashion, is rising from the ashes. You know what they say, where there’s smoke…
PS: Start building your gray wardrobe now. Choose pieces that will slide into spring because gray will be big for Spring 2015. How do we know? That movie, the one based on that book that is really not about any shade of gray at all, will premier on Valentine’s Day. And movies are among fashion’s strongest soulmates.
>Wear gray with more gray. Flecked granite with cloud gray, charcoal with silver. Let the gray reign. Mix light with dark and rints.
>Grades of gray: Charcoal is like a non-edgy black, and it can be more flattering close to your face than black if your over 40. Dove gray works like an off-white.
>If you’re going gray all the way, add interest with texture, i.e., a cable-knit sweater, suede boots, a houndstooth coat. Unexpected texture is the best way to keep gray on gray from looking gloomy.
The Perfect Partners
Pair gray with:
>Pale pink, burgundy, or red; lilac or orchid; coral; navy, cobalt, or baby blue.
>Cool tones: Steel blue, turquoise, or dark green. Warm tones: tan, chocolate, or a pop ofa look dowdy. Try fuchsia or red shoes, belt, or scarf.
>Avoid neon. It’s better with black.
A Touch of Gray
If you don’t already own them, my vote is for any of the following in gray: leggings, cable-knit or cashmere sweater, dark or mid-toned suede boots, architectural bag, cape, wool coat, floppy hat.