Fashion and Color (or Colour): Interview with Andrea

April 28th, 2009

For the month of color, I really wanted to interview my blogging pal, Andrea, of a cat of impossible colour. Andrea is a fabulous writer, but much of her blog is dedicated to her gorgeous outfits, combining beautiful colors, patterns, and vintage fun.

I hope this interview inspires you to play with color in a new way!

andrea yellowpurple

L: First, please tell us a bit about yourself:

A: My name is Andrea, and I’m a Zimbabwean writer now living in New Zealand with my husband and cat. I have a blog where I indulge my hobby of collecting vintage clothing, post daily outfits and record the progress of my books!

L: What do you enjoy most about putting together your outfits?

andrea redblue

A: Well, I see getting dressed in the morning as a creative exercise, just as much as painting a picture or writing a poem, and putting together an outfit I’m happy with gets me in a great mood for creation of other kinds! If I’m wearing something I really love, I feel like my writing goes better that day as well.

L: How does color inspire you creatively?

A: To me, colour represents emotional energy. That sounds a bit pretentious, doesn’t it, but all I mean is that each colour comes with its own set of emotional associations. Colour is food for your eyes, and it can transform or dictate your mood. I have always felt a connection to this passage from George Eliot’s Middlemarch, where Dorothea Brooke is entranced by colour:

‘She was opening some ring-boxes, which disclosed a fine emerald with diamonds, and just then the sun passing beyond a cloud sent a bright gleam over the table. “How very beautiful these gems are!” said Dorothea, under a new current of feeling, as sudden as the gleam. “It is strange how deeply colours seem to penetrate one, like scent. I suppose that is the reason why gems are used as spiritual emblems in the Revelation of St John. They look like fragments of heaven.” … She thought of often having them by her, to feed her eye at these little fountains of pure colour.’

andrea purple

L: Do you have a favorite color combination at the moment?

A: I tend to favour colours that are complementary – that is, hues that are opposite each other on the colour wheel. Purple with yellow and green with red (in moderation, because it can be a bit Christmassy) are favourite combinations. I also love red and blue together. In fact, red with almost everything looks great, so long as you choose the right shade – I wear red shoes and belts with everything from yellow to purple.

L: Where do you get your inspiration?

A: I get a lot of inspiration from other bloggers, and from the wardrobe_remix group on Flickr. I don’t read a lot of fashion magazines – I’d rather see what real people are wearing in real daily situations.

L: Do the colors in nature inspire your outfits at all?

andrea red

A: They do, but not in the way you would expect! I grew up in Zimbabwe, which was a very colourful place – blue sky, golden bush, bright birds and flowers, the gorgeous multi-coloured clothes of the Shona people and the city markets full of fruit and fabrics. When I first came to New Zealand, the landscape seemed pale and colourless in comparison. Now I can appreciate the subtler beauties of a grey sky and autumn leaves, but I still crave the bright, jewel-like colours of Africa. So I compensate with my outfits! People here tend to wear a lot of denim, grey and black, and they blend into the landscape. I would rather add a bright splash of colour.

L: What would you say to someone who is wanting to start playing more with their own ensembles?

A: I would say to be brave and experiment. If you’re not a big colour-wearer, start with accessories – I wear my red heels to death, and they go with nearly everything. I’ve also recently become a big fan of coloured tights – they’re a wonderful way to inject colour into an outfit, although the lighter shades can make your legs look bigger (if you’re like me and don’t have long, skinny legs!). If you’re not sure about colour combinations, the girls at Academichic have done a wonderful series of posts on colour theory and how it applies to dressing.

Scarves are the perfect way to add colour to outfits, as well, and there are so many ways to wear them: over your hair, around the handle of your handbag, as a belt, or, of course, around your neck. They always make an outfit look chic. My favourite way to wear scarves is to tie them in a pussy bow around my neck. Lately I have started wearing big square scarves tied over my hair and under my chin when I go for walks – it’s a great alternative to wearing a hat.

I think it’s important to have fun with your clothes. When I’m having a blah day and feel like hiding away in something grey or black, I resist the urge and throw on something brightly-coloured instead. It always makes me feel better.

andrea pink

L: Do you have a favorite color? Is it the same color as when you were a kid?

A: When I was a kid I always said my favourite colour was blue when asked, because that was the only ‘cool’ colour in my class and we all pretended to love it! In reality, though, it has always been red. I find red strong, energising and optimistic, and I always feel good when I’m wearing it. Purple, green and yellow are also favourites. I think the only colour I don’t wear is orange, but that may all change if I find some wonderful orange item next time I go thrift-shopping.

L: Did you have a favorite outfit as a child?

A: I was a huge tomboy when I was a child, and didn’t bother much with clothes. Looking back at old photos, though, I can see I was a big fan of dungarees, colourful T-shirts and socks with cartoon animals on them. I’m still hoping to find a wonderful grown-up-sized pair of dungarees one day! (And I still wear cartoon animal socks).

L: What are some of your favorite books, blogs, shops, websites?

andrea dress

A: I find old children’s books very inspirational when it comes to outfits; Alice in Wonderland, The Secret Garden, Milly Molly Mandy, the Enid Blyton books and Madeleine have all inspired outfits of mine. There’s a charm to the way children used to dress, I think. I find old films very inspirational, too. As far as websites go, I love Orla Kiely’s clothes! The mixture of colours and prints is just gorgeous. I also love browsing through Andrea Moore’s website – she’s a New Zealand designer, and I’ll probably never be able to afford anything she makes, but her garments are just lovely.

I only shop second-hand, which makes for a good deal of experimenting! If I find an amazing dress in a colour I would not normally seek out, I buy and wear it anyway. It’s a great way to be more adventurous with your clothing and colour choices – after all, if it doesn’t suit you and you don’t want to keep it, you have only wasted a few dollars.

I have many, many favourite fashion blogs, as evidenced by my bulging blogroll. I’m drawn to people who have colourful, optimistic styles. Some that I think have a particularly inspirational use of colour are:

- Keiko Lynn
- Casey’s Musings
- Dotti’s Dots
- Strawberry Kitten

Thank you so much, Andrea!! I'm feeling inspired!

10 Responses

I love the children’s book and old films connection with her outfits! I love her style!

I have some vintage pieces. One of my dgrm’s bat wing coat. I bought a fur cap at an actress sale that belonged to one of the actresses dgrm’s. I plan on giving it to my dgrd.

If you get a chance check out the 60’s little girls outfit that I had bought at a garage sale on my walk to he store.
I think the top is organza with a little velvet ribbon and embrodiery on it.

Thanks for the links! I love the clothes. There is a sweater that kind of reminds me of one I seen on One Pretty Thing tutorial website. It was a T-shirt redesign with ruffles.

God Bless You and Yours!!!

I also picked up some items that if you bought them today brand new you’d probably get splattered with paint.

God Bless You and Yours and Your Creative Everyday Life!!!

PS. I should of edited. That is cape not cap.
Must of been thinking of the Swanki hat giveaway
link I put up on my blog. Click this Flassie if
you’d like to get in on the Guest Giveaway. Lot’s
of different hats to choose from.

God Bless You and Yours and Andrea too!!!

absolutely inspiring.

I truly think that fashion can be artistic expression as well and that is one area of expression I’ve let go of in my life. this is a lovely reminder to revisit that.

This is a fun interview. I love the purple tights with red shoes.

This was a great interview.;D
I feel inspired and not be afraid on colors..And i learned a lot of color combination,specially on clothes..;D
Thanks for sharing this wonderful interview with Andrea..;D
Hope to see more from you.;D

Lovely post,and this is a wonderful interview.Love to see this post.;D


Such great interview!!!!
I love Andrea and she’s such a good inspiration for someone like me who’s a colour lover.


YAY I lovee colors as well….Loveee the last dress! the colorful design is great!

If you want to match up an outfit with an affordable pair of tights, take a look at at WeLoveCOlors they have a large variety of tights.

- Jamie

Leah – I read this the other day when you posted it, thought ‘what a fun lady with a great sense of individual style!’.

Today I went to work at my wee (very part time) job & guess who walked into the Gallery?? lol!

Andrea! Of course I recognized her immediately & just had to ask.She was every bit as stylish today – as she is in all of the photo’s that you posted & are on her blog!
Funny to think that through blogging – you have inadvertently briefly ‘connected’ two people that live in the same city of the same country, who other wise might have just passed by.

Thank you so much for this interview, Leah! I just read Deb’s comment as well – it was so cool to bump into a lovely lady in my own city and have a chat about your blog, so thank you for that too. :)

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