A guide to Ombré, Dip Dye and Balayage

Zara Ombre Shirt (similar): here or here // Mango Sandals: link //BCBGeneration Shorts (similar): here or here // Snapback (similar): herehere or here

Summer 2013 has welcomed back "Ombré", a French word for "shadow", which refers to a fashion trend that underlies the art of color gradation, i.e. a visual technique of gradually transitioning from one color hue to another. It is different from Dip dye and Balayage (when it comes to hair style trends), which are all separated by a very thin line. Then again, there is a definition for everything and if you love a little game of color with Ombré, I have a few tips to help you spice up your summer look-book. 

Ombré in fashion is everything that fades from one color hue to another. A shirt that transits from a light color in the neckline to a deeper shade down on the hemline can easily be a beautiful ombré piece. Basically, ombré shades aren't only found in fabrics and garments but also accessories, nail-arts, even home furniture, and especially hairstyles with which the line between ombré, dip dye and balayage is even thinner.

Dip dye is a process of dipping part of your garment in dye, straight up just like its name. It's similar to ombré in many ways except there is a hard line defying two colors while in ombré, it's a subtle transition between them. Some might say that pastel and muted colors are ombré whereas bright or neon colors are dip dye, but then what would you label a two-toned denim shirt? You might say it's an ombré as the blue shades aren't bright but if the line separating its two tones is obvious to the eye, it's dip dyed.

Balayage is strictly another hair coloring technique that has been making quite a fuss in the hairstyling world. Though the fancy French word doesn't apply to fabric dyeing technique, if you love hair, there is a few things you must know. When hair is colored with balayage, the process is designed to create very natural-looking highlights that are painted on by hand in a sweeping motion, just like its name, balayage, a French word for "to sweep". Balayage gives hair a sun-kissed look where the color is applied very lightly at the base, and gradually grows into chunky highlights at the very end. Balayage and Ombré are most closely related, the only difference is the latter fades in a straight horizontal line whereas the former is swept onto hair naturally.

How to wear Ombré?

Don't be afraid to play with color for Ombré to be a coloring technique. The trick is to always have with you a color wheel, an ultimate guide to your perfect ombré and dip dyed outfits.

"For an eye pleasing Analogous Color Scheme, pick colors that are adjacent to each other on the color wheel."

Analogous Color Scheme

"For color-blocking Complementary Color Scheme, pick colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel."

Complementary Color Scheme

"For Monochromatic Color Scheme, pick different shades of a single color with a touch of black or white to avoid overloading tonal palette."

Monochromatic Color Scheme

Bring your own twist and turn. Show the world how you embrace the style. C'est chic!

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