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Pastels are pretty straightforward. The fancy words for them are “high value and low to intermediate saturation”, which just means “bright, but not, like, vivid.” They’re all your basic colours, but tinted with a heavy dose of white.
What’s interesting about pastel tints are that some things, like beige, are technically pastels of something else (brown, in this case), but we don’t always consider them that. Pastels can be terribly contextual, but we know ‘em when we see ‘em. Some of the colours we’re going to look at have been touched on in other colour posts, but they all qualify (for us, anyway) as a pastel.
Disclaimer time! I’m not trying to define pastels. If you want to go down the learning rabbit-hole, Wikipedia is a good source. The Color Sorting Wiki actually barely touches on pastels, saying only “Think pastel when you think spring. Although not all spring colors are pastels and not all pastels are spring colors, the frequency of spring colors matching pastel colors is quite large.”
I’ve done my best to accurately represent these hues in relation to each other, so you can gather a good idea of what matches and what doesn’t. Since it’s sorta a subjective colour, to some degree, we’re just going to look at the pastel-iest of what we’ve got classed as “Pastel” in our colour search. That said, let’s get down to it!
Did you know, back in The Day, the O Basics were split up, with “O Pastels” on their own product page? As yarns changed over the years, we lost some of our favourite pastels for a while and, along with site changes, it just made sense to consolidate them.
And, of course, the O Lovelies are the prima donnas of the pastel, soft little shades that are whispers of colour. I tried my darndest to show that Lichen O Rayons are a soft colour, but they look so dark next to the other pastel Dream Stocking yarns!
Always more of a “winter”, in colours as well as fibers, B.Ella doesn’t have that many true pastels. But what they do have are classics. The cotton Bastia best exemplifies pastels for this brand. Though the Kimi, Erin and Sophia all have colours that we’ve classed as pastel, when you put them next to these Pima cotton pretties, they glower with tone (which is when you mix a colour with grey) rather than shine with tint.
Their soft heather styles give EG Smith an advantage in the pastel game, though really only their heather pink qualifies. Other than that, EG only represents pastel via the classics.
Though denim heathers and soft browns and beiges could be considered pastels (and we have Foot Traffic’s versions classed as such) for pastel purists only two colours really fit—their singular Mint and their thigh high in Pink.
As usual, Tabbisocks brings colour to the table, with a perfect pastel offering in several tints.
When we focused on red last year I stuck with that true, mid-century lipstick hue. Unlike some colours (purple is a good example) that have a strong and steady gradient of types, things that are red tend to be either RED or a fancily named dark red like “Bordeaux”, “Merlot” or “Burgundy”.
These delicious dark hues sometimes dip their toe into purple, but they’re always red in the shadows. Dark reds can be particularly picky about how they look, depending on who they’re by, as you can see in this shot of the O Chevrons in Dark Red/Black (left) and Dark Red/White (right).
Disclaimer time! I’m not trying to define red. If you want some poem-like lists of names for shades of red, both Wikipedia and the Color Sorting Wiki are kind of amazing resources. I’ve done my best to accurately represent these hues in relation to each other, so you can gather a good idea of what matches and what doesn’t. That said, let’s get down to it!
Dream Stockings & Dreamer Socks
We say “Dark Red” for our house brand styles, ‘cause that’s what it is! The nylon yarn’s “Maroon”, however, has plummy undertones that make it deliciously deep.
A long time ago, B.Ella’s “Burgundy” used to be very berry, but since then, their dye batches have deepened and desaturated into this very sedate shade that is more Merlot.
They do love their “Burgundy”, making it a standard with Black, a brown and a grey for a lot of their styles. In cotton, the burgundy has a yellow base, while polyester and nylon-heavy blends make it more blue. The Ribbed Knit Leg Warmers are an outlier, with their fuzzy off-white marl.
Real talk: when does Tabbisocks ever not do a colour beautifully? Their Merlot is deep and delightful, with just the right amount of berry tones even in the comparatively darker versions.
“Port” is a dark red word used pretty much only by Sockwell and Stance, who (at least on the dark end) interpret it pretty similarly. EG Smith and Una go brighter in their dark reds, with a more vibrant burgundy than most folks turn out.
How a dark red shakes out is pretty straightforward: darker shades with tones of purple, lightening up to some pure berry!
You had to know it was coming. I rarely let a year end without mentioning sparkles or sparkly metallics or any other excuse for shiny things. My reasoning here is super legitimate, though. We spent all of last year focusing on a colour a month, to add some reference points for our Color Search. This year we’ll be finishing off those colours and also delving into the details I couldn’t pack into previous posts.
This post we’re going to look at Bronze, Gold and Silver. Roughly, they fall under “Metallic” in our Pattern/Texture search as well. I think they’re the colour facets we’re most profligate with, because it only takes a little bit of metallic for us to tag something one of those metal colours.
We do try to be careful though. Sure, “Gold” is a regularly used word for a rich yellow, but that’s a horse of a different colour, same as “Silver” can mean “light grey” but not be truly silvery (you can read more about yellow and grey on the Sock Journal). Bronze is where things get messy, but we’ll get there in a moment.
Disclaimer time! I’m not trying to define Bronze, Gold or Silver. If you want some poem-like lists of names for these shades, both Wikipedia (Bronze, Gold and Silver) and the Color Sorting Wiki are kind of amazing resources. I’ve done my best to accurately represent these tones in relation to each other, so you can gather a good idea of what matches and what doesn’t.
So, let’s get sparkling!
We do use “Bronze” to describe the Floral Printed styles, because there is just no other word for it. It does bother me a bit, but I try to calm myself by thinking that the microfiber nylon does impart a bit of shimmer . . . though not as much as the liquid metal that are the Metallic Leggings.
Using gold and silver for a hint of shimmer more often than not, Gumball Poodle has a pretty basic use of silver and gold lurex spun with cotton for a softer shine.
They’re not traditionally metallic in a lurex way, but I’m in love with the soft pearlescent yarn K Bell uses. I haven’t seen it’s like from any other brand!
Probably some of the most stunning use of metal-toned colours that we carry. All of the Polonova styles are hand-screen printed right here in Portland, Oregon! We talk more about the lovely Polonova styles in an older Sock Journal post here.
Yes, it’s a bit of a cheat, since the “silver” and “gold” components are actual metal (and actually nickel and brass, respectively), but they’re so pretty.
So, they only have one metal toned style available right now and I should have thrown them into the “assorted” pile below, but I felt like their sheerness would make them a little hard to see next to everyone else.
Lotta little metal hints, every supplier tries a metallic tone at least once!
Now, let’s figure out what these tones tend to be!
As I was shooting pictures for this post, other Dreamers would walk by and ask “Is the colour for December white?” And before I could fully huff about “off-white” they’d correct themselves with “I mean Ivory!” or “Ecru!” or “Natural!”
Our colour search calls it “Off White – Natural”, because that’s the best general term for a colour that isn’t really a colour at all! Too pale to be “Beige – Tan” and too much colour to be “White”, off-white things can’t really even be called pastels. The one unifying thing that they seem to have are undertones of beige or yellow that visually dirties their whiteness (you could even say it makes them a bit “off”). The phrase “natural” comes from the natural colour of undyed yarn, which is the meaning behind “Ecru” as well. Words like “Ivory” or “Eggshell” are descriptive terms that mean the same thing in this colour context. “Not white!”
Disclaimer time! I’m not trying to define off-white. If you want some poem-like lists of names for shades of off-white, both Wikipedia and the Color Sorting Wiki are kind of amazing resources. I’ve done my best to accurately represent these hues in relation to each other, so you can gather a good idea of what matches and what doesn’t.
Dream Stockings & Dreamer Socks
Mostly we use “natural” as the name for our off-white. It’s a nice bright and clean off-white that pairs nicely with pastels and deep earth tones alike.
Their crochet styles have a strong ivory-yellow tone, less so in the nylon Trentata.
Though their Heather Socklings in Cloud are a bit of an outlier, overall EG Smith’s “Natural” is a close colour to our house brand “Natural”! Their Nuby Crew does sometimes get darker (more manila folder looking in tone), but overall it stays close to the rest.
A lovey use of ivory across several styles and in a subtle range of shades, Foot Traffic has two styles that use “Ivory” as a name, but they aren’t very.
From left to right: Cotton Rag Boot Socks, Double Fishnet Trouser Socks, Cotton Lace Anklets, Signature Cotton Tights, Textured Cable Acrylic OTKs, Opaque Solid Nylon Trouser Socks, Four Button Rib Leg Warmers, Ribbed Knit Leg Warmers, Lace Knee High Boot Sock
Along with a refined “Ivory” that is almost gleaming, there’s a particular cleanness to Tabbisocks’ “Natural.” And yes, their Harajuku Chic Leg Warmers are actually “White”, but they’re also the same colour as the Crochet Lover OTK in Ivory, so there’s today’s mystery!
There’s more than these three, but they’re good representatives of various brands’ single entries into off-white.
Off-white can be split into about five categories, two are pretty straightforward and just lean warm or cool, let’s look at those first.
Weather-wise, in the Portland area November stops being fall and starts being winter abruptly and wetly. The darkening skies of incoming winter storms mean grey is the perfect colour to focus on this month.
More often than not called “silver”, “charcoal”, “graphite”, “anthracite” or “slate”, grey is a wonderful neutral that stays surprisingly neutral (though some styles tend more blue or yellow). A mutable hue, it’s greatly affected by what it is next to, like these O Chevrons (and an A Chevron) show for our Dream Stockings in Grey and in Charcoal.
Grey falls into about three categories: light, medium and dark, as you can see by how I sorted out my bins of examples.
Disclaimer time! I’m not trying to define grey. If you want some poem-like lists of names for shades of grey, both Wikipedia and the Color Sorting Wiki are kind of amazing resources. I’ve done my best to accurately represent these hues in relation to each other, so you can gather a good idea of what matches and what doesn’t. There are a lot of greys from our suppliers, so I’m not going to clutter your monitor with all of them, just representative examples.
Dream Stockings and Dreamer Socks
We have a pretty lovely range of grey, if I say so myself! From light to dark, we’ve got ‘em in lots of different fibers (including the Dreamer Acrylic Slouch Socks in Silver Grey that I forgot to add here)!
From left to right: Gregorio Wool Bootsocks, Sergei Recycled Cotton No Shows, Zena Knee Sock, Bess Cashmere Slouch Rib Knee Sock, Ginger Ribbed Knee High, Pantera Jersey Dress Midcalf, Kayla Stripe Trouser Sock, Erika Microfiber Tights
Just a single shade, really, Anthracite is the fanciest-named grey we carry.
Just two shades of grey here, but both medium and dark greys covered nicely!
Tending towards marled, Foot Traffic offers some nice greys that go a bit bluer in the microfiber versions.
From left to right: Signature Cotton Tights, Textured Cable Acrylic OTK, Cotton Rag Bootsock, Microfiber Stirrup Legging, Signature Cotton Tights, Opaque Nylon Trouser Sock, Fleece Lined Knee High, Super-Long Ribbed Leg Warmer
From light silvery grey to dark Night Grey, Tabbisocks offers a lovely range of greys across several fibers.
From left to right: Crochet Lover OTK, Harajuku Arm Warmers, Basic Tabi Socks, Harajuku Arm Warmers, Cotton Tabi OTK, Crochet Look Tights, Harajuku Arm Warmers, Harajuku Scrunchy Socks
Bottom row: Color Tights in Silver Grey, Color Tights in Dark Grey
Most of the various greys that are only represented by one or two styles in other brands fall in the medium to medium-darker grey range. I’m just showing some good representative examples below.
Grey falls into some pretty simple categories: light, medium, dark and tending to yellow or blue. Check out the breakdowns after the jump!
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