Friday, 13 August 2010

Any colour you like ...

Living out in the back of beyond as I do, my window shopping is frequently of the virtual kind, using online catalogues.  Like real window shopping, it's a source of interest and entertainment, but you get descriptions and zoom-in features too. Some of the descriptions leave me wondering who writes this stuff?  Do they get to handle the clothes they’re describing?  Take three tops, apparently the same shape and length.  One is described as a blouse, the next a tunic, the last is a dress.  Everything seems to be described as ‘stunning’. What does it do, hit you over the head and leave you mildly concussed?

I find the colour descriptions most intriguing at the moment.  It’s mid-August, and the winter catalogues are here.  I love colour, but some collections leave me with an impression of greyness.  Clothing to blend in with the typically overcast British skies.  Given the standard warning that colour reproduction may differ between monitors and lighting conditions in outdoor shots may change how the colour looks as well, you’d think consistent colour descriptions would be important.  Granted, some of the muted shades at the moment are difficult to describe, but the copy writers seem to be taking a distinctly inventive approach to using colour names.

For example, khaki might be anything from dark olive green to a greyish beige which I would normally describe as taupe.  I’ve seen a shade I would think of as aqua described variously as sky blue, turquoise, sea green and celadon.  A collection of similar blue-green shades are described variously as teal, cedar, emerald, (never seen an emerald this colour), green, peacock and petrol blue.  A quick search for other teal items results in soft teal, in other words, a light blue-green somewhere between sea foam and duck egg blue.  Also a dark or dusky teal describing a muted, greyish green which no self-respecting duck would include in their plumage.

Very dark blue might be navy, midnight, night blue or ink.  Ink may also be a very dark purple or a dark grey-blue, although the latter may also be gunmetal or steel blue.

Searching by colour, I find that beige is also natural or linen. White seems to include ice, winter, ivory, ecru, string, cream.  Pale yellow isn't yellow, but lemon or straw.  Grey can be light, dove, pearl, marled, lead or charcoal.

Black is just black, though, isn’t it?  Oh, but this item is ‘deep black’.  And look, there’s a ‘pale black’ as well, which is a more a more interesting way of saying very dark grey.

I'll stick to brighter or richer colours which stand out from the clouds in their shades of dove, pale black, lead and ink, lifting my spirits in our drab winter weather.

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