Simplify Your Clothes Part 2: Adding Colour

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So after part 1, your clothes should be nice and simple. All your leather goods are black, and all your clothes are black, grey, white or navy.

If you are happy with those colours, you can skip this blog entry.

However, i’m assuming that most people, blind and visually impaired included, want a little extra color on their clothing. After all, people often express themselves or their personality through the clothing they wear.

This blog entry aims to add a little more colour to your clothes, but still allow you to reach into a closet or dresser, grab a shirt, pair of pants, coat, hat, tie and sweater, and know that everything is going to match, no thought or effort needed.

This requires a little work from you. I’ll give you a few instuctions, then show you my choices as an example.

Identifying Your Best Colours

The key here is that you should find the best colours that work for you, not just choose your favorite colours. Choose colours that suit you best, your skin tone, personality and style. Ask yourself what colours look good on you, make you feel good, or make you think, ‘I look good today’. Pay equal attention to the colours that make you feel like shit or uncomfortable. For me, yellow or brown shirts always made me feel like crap.

Ask your family and friends for their opinion and try on a wide variety of colours. I have always hated light pink and pastels, but was surprised one day to find that watermelon is a good colour for me.

Now before I lost my vision significantly, I had already narrowed my ideal colour choices to just 5; burgundy (wine), dark green (pine), dark purple, mint and lilac.

My colour choices, pre-vision-loss

Before moving on with this blog post, take some time and choose the colours that suit you best, aside from black, grey, white and navy.

If you need help with this, you can search online for a local colour or fashion consultant who can do a ‘personal colour analysis’ for you. Basically, they use various coloured fabric swathes or drapes to see what colours best suit you, and test warm or cool tones against your skin. Is it bullshit? Check reviews first, but it doesn’t hurt to get some expert advice before choosing a colour that will become an integral part of your wardrobe.

Cut, Cut, Cut

Now comes the hard part. You need to cut all of these colours down to just one. Choose the one colour that suits you best.

I was able to easily cut lilac and mint. I only had a few items in these colours, and they are not often found in stores. Purple was cut next, similarly, I had only a couple clothing items in purple. So I was left with wine and pine.

Finally, I cut out the dark green for practical and personal reasons. I feel burgundy is simply a warmer, friendlier colour, but it is a fairly common colour in men’s clothes in any season.

Why Not Two?

You should only choose one extra colour because every colour you add beyond black, grey, navy and white, exponentially increases the number of possible permutations and combinations, resulting in a greater chance for poor mixing and matching. This will make you spend more time deciding what to wear, and if items work together. Remember, the original goal here is to reach in, eyes closed, and look good. Zero mental effort, zero stress.

Adding a second colour complicates everything. The easiest way to manage two extra colours would be to keep some items seperate from everything else. Imagine keeping all your red ties, socks, shirts and sweaters in one area, and all the green items in another. No, it’s time to commit to your one extra colour.

No accent or accessory colours. Were looking for nice, simple and classy clothes that always look good together.


Prepare to leave stores empty handed when shopping. If you see a nice sweater, but it’s not available in your colour choice, you have to leave it behind. This will rarely will happen because most clothes are available in black, grey, white or navy.

This will save you time though, because you are going into any shipping situation with only 5 colours to choose from now. Black, white, navy, white and your one extra choice.

Special Considerations

Burgundy or wine is not as popular in athletic clothes, especially mountain biking gear. So for functional athletic clothes, I always buy choose. Three quarters or my athletic equipment is black, grey or white, and the only other colour allowed in in red. This makes shopping pretty easy.

There is however a single exception to my 1 colour principal. My custom yellow mountain bike jersey. When I designed the shirt, I considered using red. I usually hate yellow clothes, but this jersey has more important considerations than fashion or style. It was designed for high visibility in mountain bike races and events. The yellow popped more as a hazard or warning colour and safety beats style, every time, but if anyone wants to donate $160 dollars to me, i’ll gladly get a red version made.

What About Sentimental Items or Gifts?

If you have any special accessories or items that are a different colour, you’ll need to keep these in a special place, and clearly identifiable. I recommend keeping any special items to a minimum. Put a special tag on that item. In the case of gifts in the wrong colour, if possible, exchange it for another color, donate it, or give it away to someone else.

Coming up in the next post: putting your colours into practice, dressing for work.