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Hope's Corner: Dressing for the Season

"Holy cats, remember when there were sales associates in stores, who would help you find outfits? That only happens to me now at friends’ rummage sales, when they are trying to get me to take home lots of their clothes." writes Jackie Hope.

Jackie Hope BW.jpg
Jackie Hope is the longest running Dickinson Press contributor and columnist. Hope's Corner is a weekly humorous column with a message of hope. (CONTRIBUTED / FOR THE DICKINSON PRESS)

Do you remember the fashion fad from the 80s, where everyone was dressing according to their season? There were professional seasoners, who would take just one look at you, and be able to tell if you were a summer or winter, or a spring or fall. We would go to parties where a seasoning specialist would talk about how important it was to dress within the colors dictated by your season. Next, each person at the party would get seasoned by the expert, then usually get well-seasoned by the wine and cheese served afterward.

Pick-up lines at the bars changed from, “What’s your sign?” to, “What’s your season?” Sales associates in department stores would recommend clothing based on your season. Holy cats, remember when there were sales associates in stores, who would help you find outfits? That only happens to me now at friends’ rummage sales, when they are trying to get me to take home lots of their clothes.

Carol Jackson was an instant hit with her 1980 book, “Color Me Beautiful.” Her seasonal color book was such a success, that it spawned makeup books and even color books for men. She even sold little fabric swatch packets to take along when shopping for clothing and accessories.

This, however, was not a new idea. In 1824 chemist Michel Eugene Chevreul perfected uniformity in the fabric dyeing process at the Gobelins Manufactory in Paris. His theories of color mixing and juxtaposition were so popular, that in 1855 “Godey’s Ladies’ Book,” an American book of fashion plates, began suggesting proper colors for blondes and brunettes. What, no redheads?

Godey’s contended American women were “too gaudy.” Personally, I don’t see that at all. I fully believe that everything, including mustard yellow hats and hot pink Converse All-Stars, goes with rock star red hair. And I wear a bright yellow winter coat, because I am not very big, and that makes me easier to find in a crowd.

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So, how do you figure out your season? Color analysis – that sounds all scientific-ish, right? – analyzes the colors of your eyes, hair, and skin. It then takes into account the hues and tone qualities of those colors.

After you are analyzed for colors, depth of colors, and warmness or coolness of colors, you are then ready to dissect your wardrobe. If you look like the first victim in a zombie apocalypse when you wear light lilac, you probably are not a spring. If browns and oranges -- or mustard yellows -- take you to your happy place, you are an autumn. Summers wear lots of blue and purple. Winters wear even more purple.

You really gotta wonder what Ms. Jackson would advise for 21st century women. What season is green hair? Can you wear red lipstick with black nail polish? Or black lipstick with red nail polish? And can autumns drink white wine, or do they have to stick to burgundy? Color me curious.

Jackie Hope is the longest running Dickinson Press contributor and columnist. "Hope's Corner" is a weekly humorous column centered on a message of hope for residents in southwest North Dakota.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Dickinson Press, nor Forum ownership.

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