My Own Color Predictions: A Look At History {and modes of transportation}

This post is extremely photo heavy and took me forever to compile.  So, that said, I hope you enjoy.

So, as most of you probably know, Coco+Kelley is doing this wonderful Color Predictions Segment.  I decided, since my favorite color combination didn't show up, that I should do my own.  I hope she doesn't mind I use her idea for a post, :).

Okay, here it is.  I'm a bit of an Anglophile and I guess my color set will reflect that.  It's the classic Oxford University Colors and British Racing Green {BRG}.  {For the BRG click here, here, and here}.  The color BRG was established in the early 1900s and became popular in the twenties.  By the fourties, it was an automotive staple.  There are many different variations of BRG, but the truest is close to a forest green.  And here's a splash of Oxford Navy.  I think its history is pretty clear.

I posted a photo a few months ago that will perfectly display the combination.  {Ironincally, this picture was taken at Niagra Falls and not in the UK.}  Here is is:

Okay, taking this photo for what it is: the muted colored fabrics and old boots {very Amish of course, but also a little Anglo-esque, as well}, its not just the colors but the styling as well.  The ridged conservatism yet its natural and unrefined state {a little sloppy, work clothes.}  Their buttons and all buttoned to the very top, their shoe laces are snug, their suspenders are all fastened and holding up their trousers {sorry, a little Brit jargon}, but their is still something very lax about it.  The boy on the end has his jacket just kind of slung over his shoulder.  Nothing deliberate.  And that is what this is about.

What comes to mind, to really display the culture and time period I am talking about is Keira Knightly's costume in Atonement.  No, not that dress.  It was magical, yes.  And the right color, yes.  But it isn't everyday like my example.  Here it is:
See?  Buttons and hair and makeup are all straitened and neat, but there is still that same lax about it.  {This was a 2007 movie}

It was the everyday wear of school boys and girls.  There were regulations, but because of its run of the mill, it became routine and thrown on.  In the early fourties, fashion, for most people, became just a statement of utility.  With the colors of the uniforms for the Royal Navy, Royal Army, and Royal Air Force, it was as if the women and men on the homefront's wardrobe was dictated.  Imagine: the London Blitz, strict regulations, and many soldiers still filling London Hospitals {often transformed from schools and office buildings}, concern with every detail was probably impossible.

And an example of not colors, but an archive of what school children looked like:

Here's a Flickr fashionista {that's what I call them} example:
Look at her collar, her dress, and her cardigan.  Very together.  Very sloppy.  Perfect colors for my example.

Here is a women with that look:

But then, what happens when the even truer and more fashionable colors of the time period are added?  Here: dark green, navy, garnet, and gold.  The colors of the early and mid 1940s.  Garnet and Gold were worn by primarily women probably to stand out, just like red lipstick.  My movie example again includes Keira Knightly which is the 2008 Brit Movie, The Edge of Love.  Everything about it is absolutely lovely.  In the two pictures I have shown, they are on a beach in Wales {I believe}.


There it is: that pulled together yet open look.  If I accomplish this in my lifetime, I will be surely pleased.  Keira plays the fictional/non fictional Vera Williams.  Dylan Thomas, famous poet is played by Mathew Rhys.

It is coming apparent to me that colors often parallel those of transportation.

Moving on the the gold:
Sienna Miller is Dylan Thomas's wife, Caitlin MacNamara.  The yellow of Keira's Sweater {actually both of them wear it in the film} is that familiar classic yellow.  It's an old yellow when you see it on nursing home tenants, but on a young person, it is absolutely devine.

The mustardy hue is very close {and was popular because} this US Marine plane:
and this

Now, let's move forward about twenty or thirty years later:
Yes, Annie Hall {my favorite romantic-comedy}.  Now, Diane Keaton's wardrobe in Annie Hall has often been imitated {guilty as charged} and sometimes its a dog-gone travesty.  But, for once, I'm not just talking Annie Hall's clothes.  Woody Allen's, too {it's funny how for some people I use their character name and others I use their real name}.  The sixties and seventies seem to have that Oxford navy, British Racing Green, Maroon/Garnet, and Gold/Yellow revival.  Though, it isn't as rigid as the wardrobe's in the 1940's, it still has that lack of refinement.  Nice and understated.

Annie Hall {done in 1977} is not my only movie example.  Back to British Racing Green {remember, women: if you say BRG to a guy, they are sure to be impressed}.  The color even made a striking come back to its mainstream popularity through its routes: cars.  One of my favorite movie cars {not much of a Mustang girl, though} was Steve McQueen's in Bullitt {1968}.
{Both of these movies were filmed during the said time period, so I don't feel a need to add vintage photos.}

Look at this flickr photo for a sort of mix of the 70s and 40s.  It is lovely.

So, the colors: Oxford Navy, British Racing Green, Garnet, and Gold all from the fourties then to move on to the sixties and seventies and hopefully shoot their way to the twenty-first century.  But it isn't just the colors {or we would have a team of rugby players}.  It's the way they are worn.
Call me old fashioned, but I think these forgotten colors are staging a comeback!

Extreme thanks to Library of Congress for research.  And to Coco+Kelley for the constant stream of inspiration.


ps, if you can't tell already, I am this huge brit military history buff {or nerd, either one}.


coco+kelley said...

what a fantastic collection of images my dear! and i love them all. i would agree completely with the garnet and gold/mustard especially!! and the way you described the style itself is divine. a very good prediction. so glad you joined in on this week with your own post! so well done :)

bandelle said...

Oh my goodness, I give the color predictions award to you! Absolutely FABULOUS post -- loved the way you studied colors through history and secretly hoping for an oxford navy comeback.

x Kylie

Jessie Cacciola said...

i love old fashion! i've been obsessed with mustard yellow, and annie hall is awesome! :)

Gina Italia said...

Thank you for finding me because now I find YOU and your marvelous blog!
Your color predictions are completely stunning, and I am hanging on
every word of that post! Cheers luvvy and stay in touch!

P.S. Was that Siamese comment and "verny" mention a reference to LAVERNE


Abbie, Syncopation said...

It totally was Laverne and Shirley. I had a friend who was Shirley and I was Laverne because those were our complete opposite of personalities. I even try my best at a Brooklyn accent.

Thank you all so much for your sweet comments!

Dallas Shaw said...

loved this post!


theyellowbucket said...

really enjoyed reading this post so thank you for making the time to write it! i'm also one for the mustard yellow, probably one of my most favorite colors :)

Prêt à Voyager said...

i love that you tied colors to transportation! so fun. i once heard a great talk by leatrice eisman (she does the color predictions for pantone). it was fascinating to hear how movies help predict what colors will be in. . . also, i love the muted palettes of mad men these days.

well done!