High Contrast and My Fashion Philosophy

This post elaborates on one of ten elements of my fashion philosophy, which is if I were caught on security camera, there’d be no trouble describing me.

If you were to ask me name one fashion feature that helps me like a garment or outfit, I would say high contrast. I like garments and outfits with at least one colour each of the “dark” and “light” variety, in chunks large enough you can make a colouring book drawing of it. That is, no fine patterns of high contrasts like houndstooth below. Those show up on security cameras like static, and you actually look like you’re wearing static from not too far away, pending people’s eyesight quality. I despise these patterns so much that if seizures weren’t so bad, I’d go and have one whenever I see one! And I have no idea why they are so popular!


I do like neutral colours like pastels, but want them to be contrasted against a light or dark colour (preferably), rather than being among other neutrals. Completely neutral garments are just a bit blah to me. There’s neither “punch” nor “pop” to them.

Now, how much do I like contrast?

My current set of crappy bought garments are mostly one colour. Yet, I make them fit a contrast look for me by usually wearing one dark with one light garment, like white shirt and black pants. If you catch me not wearing this light dark contrast, it probably means I need to do the laundry soon.

Some of my current bought garments have more than one colour. Those tend to have dark and light colours contrasting, rather than two or more lights, or darks. So no black and blue, or orange and yellow together, but red and whites or deep greens and yellow.

My garments I design will tend to have at least one colour each of the “dark” and “light” variety, rather than relying on more than one garment to get my high contrast look. Pants will sometimes be an exception. I’m finding it hard to design dress pants with more than one colour, in large swaths rather than plaid sort of multi-colour, that would be generally be acceptable in a government office environment. Any suggestions for designs would be appreciated.

Fortunately, with a multi-coloured dress shirt designed the right way, pants just become a filler to the look that I could probably wear black pants every day with just about any dress shirt I plan to design. At least that’s the plan, though I plan on having dress pants of every shade of the rainbow. That’s shade, not actual colours of the rainbow, so like hunter green rather than rainbow green.

The same approach I take to dress shirt design, with high contrast self-contained in the one garment, I will apply to jackets I design. Change the materials, and maybe a few minor features like buttons, and you could likely turn one into the other. That’s how I’ll be going about it.

As for why I like high contrast looks, well, I can tell you I definitely like sports team uniform designs. Most of them have a dark-light high contrast look to them. Not a lot of all pastel team uniforms, at least not for men’s sports. Makes it harder to spot your teammates when nothing on them “pops” out at you. I want my garments to pop, and not have to rely on the background to do so. Having both dark and light lets them provide their own background against which to pop, and always have an opposing tone to whatever the actual background might be.

Personality-wise, I’m sort of a high contrast black and white sort of person. My perspective of life and the universe is grey, but only in the sense of looking at houndstooth print from far away. It’s filled with a lot of micro blacks and whites. It’s just with fashion, I don’t view it  one society or demographic segment at a time. I view it with each garment like most of us do. To extend the houndstooth metaphor then, each is either black or white, as far as I’m concerned. Yin or yang, but not ying or yan.

So how does high contrast looks contribute to being easily describable on a security camera that is my fashion philosophy? Well, even with all the static on a medium as bad as a security camera, high contrast clothing should show up pretty clearly. With the colours in reasonably large swaths, you won’t need to see the fine details, nor need many words, to describe or redraw the garment you see.

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