Finding Style Inspiration—Cities as Color Schemes

This summer, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit my relatives again in China. My first stop was my dad’s hometown in Tianjin, a bustling city located next to the nation’s capital. My two-week stay in this concrete jungle consisted of both expected journeys and lovely surprises. While I had been to the area before, I found myself more drawn to one specific aspect of Tianjin than ever before.

Architecture. The incredible apartments, offices, malls, parks, and skyscrapers loomed over my head as I ventured the immensely busy roads of metropolitan China and hovered in my mind’s eye as I navigated the minimal wardrobe that had been hastily crammed into my suitcase. Although I had only brought some basic tops and bottoms and comfortable shoes, I was determined to spend the remainder of my trip exploring the city in style.

It was then that I realized where I would get my style inspiration from. Where better to look for color schemes than the city itself? I was blessed with beautiful color combinations everywhere I looked. After the first couple of days, I noticed a pattern in the color palette and geometric framework of Tianjin’s architecture. Baby blues and off-whites. Burnt oranges and cool metallics. So I mixed and matched blouses and bottoms to match different fragments of different buildings and chose plain colors or simple prints to complement the bold lines and angles around the city. My favorite two outfits from my stay were the products of this exact thought process.

I loved the rustic warm tones of Tianjin’s brick buildings, so I decided to pair an orange skirt with a sheer blouse that came with frilly sleeves, a tank top for layering, and floral print.

On the other side of the color wheel resided a gorgeous cool blue. I adored the blue and white combinations I could see from any vantage point in the city. After riding the Tianjin Eye, a 120-metre Ferris wheel built above a bridge, I had to snap a photo of my textured white blouse and high-waisted denim shorts. Although my shorts were darker than the light blue that emanated from the city walls, it perfectly balanced the concrete’s pastel tones and the Eye’s cobalt blue glass.

From the photos of my outfits amongst their surrounding architectural elements, it’s apparent that inspiration for fashion can arise from anywhere you look. Classic staples can be combined to create a clean, timeless look that keeps up with the evolving energy of a major city. Even in a small town, local color combinations are waiting to be discovered. So, what are you waiting for? Embark on your own style adventure!

Where do you receive your style inspiration from? Show us on social media! Don’t forget to tag @Cfashionista.