Saturday, 12 July 2014

The Perfect Match

Matching Choices

Closet Content Analysis: Shades and Tones are Important

NECESSARY               NEED                  NOTE-WORTHY               NEW

How do French men and women find the perfect match? 

I have been thinking about this for a good while, with intentions to write about the "matching factor" in French clothing armoires. A variety of incidences occurred around these thoughts; one of which inspired this post. Deborah, a woman I met in France in 1997, came from Bordeaux for a visit. She changed for dinner and then decided not to wear her jacket. When I asked why, she informed me that the turquoise of her jacket was a different tone than the turquoise of her shoes and that it just wouldn't do. I rationalized that she could still wear the jacket since her feet will be under the table for most of the night and the lights will be lower than the pure radiance of daylight. She wasn't convinced - she would know that they didn't match and that would bother her during the meal. Hmmm? She wore the shoes but decided that her little black dress would be better teamed with a black sweater rather than the mismatched tones of turquoises between the blazer and shoes. Obviously the French have a very specific protocol when it comes to matching. And although Deborah is from the United States, she married French and has lived here long enough to be "French clothing conscious".

NECESSARY: There must be a perfect match between jacket and shoes or pants and shoes or shoes and top or whatever items you choose to match. Yet you would never match everything. The choice of what is to be matched is based on balance and understated planning.

Once again I ask the question: how is it that the French find the perfect colour match in shoes to the pants they are wearing or the perfect shade of colour in the jacket with the perfect tone of colour in the shoe? It seems to me to be simply a stroke of luck. Apparently different shades in the same tone are allowed but different tones of the same colour are not. And all of this still must appear effortless (sigh).

Photo Source: JoyD, July, 2014, France
NEED:  Something new for me is a red pair of pants. I didn't spend very much on them because they were definitely an "out of character" purchase. Now that I am in France, I need to find a pair of shoes to match the red of the pants. If the colour is off, you just can't wear them together. Recall the rules of shades and tones or was it tones and shades (another deep sigh)? So in order to do this, do I have to take my red pants with me whenever I go shopping just in case? I'll answer my own question . . . it appears so . . . In the meantime I shall wear a black t-shirt and blazer and team up a pair of black shoes or sandals. Black is easy to match.

Photo Source: Zenka, France, July, 2014
NOTE-WORTHY:  Anthony, my optician at Optique Martin in France, told me about one of his clients who has a pair of Zenka frames (the ones I ordered and told you about in my last post), which feature a variety of coloured and decorative clips. Apparently when she buys a new scarf she comes in to buy a new pair of matching clips. I can't remember how many he said she has but I do recall that it's in the 20 or 30 range. Even Zenka marketing is geared toward the "match". 

July, 2014

NOTE-WORTHY 2: The idea begins young . . .

Photo Source: Brian Davis, Calgary.

NEW: For someone like me, who tries intentionally not to match, this is very new!

In the meantime I'll be either carrying around my red pants or wearing them every time I go shopping.


  1. Since a young age one activity I was involved in was golfing. A golfer could get away with wearing odd or loud coloured clothes. (At least on the golf course) As time pasted I would see a nice somewhat colourful golf shirt and buy it. The same thing was true when I would shop for shoes. Often my thinking was, these shoes are cute and I have a golf shirt that matches. Or this golf shirt is nice and I have shoes that will match it. For me it evolved into match the shoes and shirt and keeping the pants or shorts neutral. I guess I developed a style that was comfortable for ME. I always think back to a post you did a couple years ago about Unintentional Matches.
    Matching the shoes to a handbag. Then it became the wrong thing to do or at least "unintentional" Like anything "things change" and in fashion it's never ending change. What was once in and all the rage is out and something from the past might be in.

    I say whatever you feel comfortable matching, go for it! Think of it as your own personal style.
    To you JoyD, I say put on your red pants and show the world

    1. . . . but I still need something to match! Always appreciate your comments, referrals and encouragement. Good points about the golf wear. That just might be another post. Thanks Brian.

    2. How about a casual comfy pair of red keds or other canvas type shoes?

  2. Exactly my thoughts. But I will still need to carry the pants around with me when I'm shopping in order to get the perfect match. Today I saw a stand of espadrilles and saw a red pair. But the tone was off. The vendor attending was sympathetic and understood completely when I did the "French south west shrug and pursing of lips with a release of air" gesture to indicate that it wasn't quite right.

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