Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A Week of Beauty, Day 3: Colour

We’re just coming out of winter here in New Zealand and I’ve been wearing a lot of black.  Black is almost our national colour because so many Kiwi women wear it exclusively.

I knew I was being a bit naughty and not doing myself justice though because black is very harsh on my colouring.  It is for a lot of women actually, and I even heard that it makes the dark circles under your eyes stand out and your skin look older.  I don’t want that!

I had my colours ‘done’ in the nineties and I am a Soft Summer which is summer tending towards autumn.  I thought this was quite apt as late summer/early autumn is my favourite season.  I have muted colouring that is easily overwhelmed with bright, clear colours (and black), and my best shades are in the image above.

Even though it was very trendy to have your colours analysed then, I’d still recommend it now because the right colour (especially near your face) really makes all the difference between looking fresh and youthful or… not.

I still have my colour wallet so I am going to go through my new season (the season is new, my wardrobe is not) clothing and see what it looks like to only put soft summer colours in my closet and leave out the rest.  I think what I’m afraid of is that there might not be much there.

Another great tip which I’m sure I have mentioned before is that your hair colour, eye colour and skin colour are three excellent shades for you to wear in clothing.  In my case these would be light taupe/grey, dark blue/grey and blush pink.  I have a linen shirt in a dark blue/grey and receive compliments every time I wear it.  My black tops?  Never.

I was inspired to get back to my best colours after watching Mary Michele on One Chic Mama TV on YouTube.  She has a lot of really fabulous wardrobe, colour and style videos including an interview with Jennifer L. Scott, author of Lessons from Madame Chic and At Home with Madame Chic (I have both her books and love them, and yay, a new one is out soon - Polish Your Poise with Madame Chic).

Do you love the colours you wear and what are your favourites?  Have you ever had your colours done?


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  1. Hi Fiona,
    I have not had my colours done but, i have read up a lot about it and i think i fit more into the soft summer category too. I also feel better when i wear the right colours, if i wear a colour that is not right for me i actually feel yuck all day, i wore a really dark green top once and couldn't wait to get homd to take it off as i felt really dirty in it, the colour just wasnt right for me. I do tend to wear a lot of black to work it just so easy but i feel very drab. I have just finished reading "the life changing magic of tidying" by Marie Kondo, i am not really an untidy person and pretty organised but after reading this book i think i can do better with my wardrobe and only keep items that bring me joy.
    KAT 😉

  2. This is a fun topic! I became interested in colours for clothes from a very young age and when I look back at pictures, among the clothes that I had a hand in picking out, it's clear that the colours were the "right" ones for me. Intuitively, it seemed like I knew what I was doing.

    I've done my colours I'm a clear, clear and warm, deep and warm. A lot of jewel tones look good as well as bright spring and fall colours. The biggest revelation for me when I did my colours was that with high contrast colouring (dark auburn hair, deep hazel eyes and pink skin) I need to echo that contrast in what I wear near my face in order to look my best. This solved a mystery for me, which is that I found if I wore just brown, I end up looking like a fudge brownie with a pinkish blob in the middle of it. When I add a colour for contrast near my face (such as a blouse), it is much better.

    I can do black -- it's not the absolute best for me, but it works as long as the contrast is there. White, pale grey, pale blue and cool ruby red all make me look deathly ill. I have replaced white shirts for work, formal occasions etc with cream. My wardrobe is close to 100% in colours that are the ones indicated for me.

    For anyone interested in ways to perk up their wardrobe, or simplifying clothes shopping who hasn't done their colours, I really recommend it.

  3. I have had my colors done this year as my hair is now mostly grey instead of brown. As a result I have removed all black from my wardrobe and am only wearing the colors that suit me. What a difference! I highly recommend it. By the way you will also glow in colors that match your lips and veins as well as your hair, skin and all of the many colors in your eyes. Take a close up photo of one eye and you will be amazed at all of the colors you have available.

  4. I am a Soft Summer, too. My favorite colors are gray and muted pinks, blues, purples. :)

  5. I have not had my colors done but would like to- how does one usually go about doing this (a beauty salon, a makeup artist)? I have light brown/auburn hair and green/blue eyes. I love wearing red, emerald green, navy, white, soft grey but not sure if they are best suited for me. I do like black but agree that it makes me look tired and washed out. I wore a formal papaya colored dress to a wedding last weekend and received a million compliments! It's a color I never wore before but apparently it worked well.

    Fiona- just want to thank you for taking the time to post this beauty series. I am enjoying it immensely and learning so much!

  6. Although I've not had my colors "done" I've studied this a lot, and feel pretty sure I am a soft summer too. I love wearing all these colors, and intuitively got rid of all my black before I read it wasn't in "my" colors. I have read, though, that of all the summers, soft summer can get away with it. I stick with charcoal or navy for basics.
    I am letting my colored hair grow out to its natural silver, and am really curious if it will change my season. Some experts say no, others say yes. I have a feeling that I will remain a soft summer, which is fine with me. I love it!
    I would have guessed you are a soft summer, too, Fiona. Summer blending into fall is my favorite time of year too. Isn't that interesting?

  7. I've been using Carol Tuttle's Dressing Your Truth ideas for coloring. It made a huge difference in how I feel about myself and my clothes. In her program, which is about energy profiling instead of skin and hair coloring, I am a type 1. I got rid of all the black in my closet and started over. Feels great! There are many, many youtube videos online about Carol's system. I especially like the ones where she talks with her four types beauty "Panel" about different topics. Each video features a clothing item worn in the four different types.

  8. i am a summer too and never get tired of those colors.

  9. All I know is, beiges (unless it's an off white) and browns are horrible on me. I think it has to do with my hair being brown, and my skin being beige-ish. It's drab and too much of the same, not accentuating my coloring at all. A bit of contrast is good. I tend to favor rich jewel colors and stay away from pastels. I read Color me Beautiful last year and it helped.

  10. I am an autumn which surprised me. I thought that since changing my hair color from dark warm brown to golden blonde (after going grey) it would change my type. When the stylist did the analysis, she went through the autumn color chart and indicated personal neutrals, best colors and accents. To be sure, the stronger fall colors are now best for me as accent. Unfortunately, I have a lot of grey and black in my wardrobe and can't afford to toss it all. So the challenge is to introduce the new colors and make them work with what I have.

  11. KAT, I had the same experience with a very dark burgundy top. It was a sharp black-burgundy with a pointy v-neck and both those things made it feel heavy on me (even though it was a fine knit). I like scoop and boat necks and a softer heathered plum shade.

    Anonymous, yes contrast is an important thing to consider as well - I'm better with tonal shades or a medium contrast. Too much is too much for me. But with you being clear, you need lots. For others reading, when you have your colours analysed they go through this as well.

    Juhli, thanks for the additional tips on veins, lips and eyes!

    Tracy, yay another soft summer!

    Dana, you can google 'colour analysis' to see what you can find out yourself and Colour Me Beautiful is a great book - make sure you get the updated versions with twelve seasons - there are four seasons of course, and each season can incorporate little bits of other seasons to influence them. There might be personal stylists or colour analysts in your town. I remember it cost me a bit back then but I'm glad I did it. The lady draped me in each colour to show me how it looked (once we'd worked out my season). Even then she crossed out a few from my wallet and showed me how that colour wasn't my best. She also marked ones that were excellent for me. I'm sure that your papaya dress colour will turn up in your best colours!

    Deborah, I asked someone about changing seasons as you get older and they told me it's possible I could go from a Soft Summer to a Cool Summer which is more silver-toned, so have a look at that palette. You will probably naturally go for those shades anyway if you've already taken black out of your wardrobe intuitively - changing from camel/oatmeal/caramel over time to silver/beige/light grey, but other colours stay the same perhaps.

    Kitty, thank you for that info, I'm always pleased to learn a new angle so I'll have a look for Carol Tuttle.

    Lydia, I agree, it's not about what's in fashion but what you love (and suit!)

    Anonymous 2, it sounds like you are a clear colouring rather than muted like me. Even if you don't know your season exactly, you know what you feel horrible in and that can help. Rich jewel colours overpower my looks but on you they accentuate them.

  12. Kristien, I agree, I'm not about to throw out all my black clothes, but I am going to be very mindful of what I bring in in the future, and as things wear out I will replace with a better colour. I probably will still have some black in my wardrobe and of course with a black top, say, you can put a scarf with mostly autumn colours and a little bit of black in it to look your best and tie it in with the black top.

    It would be a fun experiment to put ONLY the colours on your autumn list together and wear them exclusively for a week or so. I'm going to do that.

  13. I love all the before and after pictures on this link showing how much better (and happier!) ladies look in their best colours:

  14. I wear a TON of black and I'm sure I could do better. I'm going to check out these recommendations you link to. Thanks!

  15. LOL! I must be one of the few Cool Winters here -- I love black & it looks great on me, as does pure white and any other "pure" primary. Muddy, muted or pastel colours make me look & feel wretched. But I don't set a lot of stock in rules. I think a great deal of what colours look good on us comes from personality -- I am just not a pastel person in any area of my life. The whole science of colour & how it affects us is a fascinating one. It's interesting that Alyson Walsh on That's Not My Age just today mentioned the irrepressible Sue Kreitzman's quote "Don't wear beige--it might kill you." []. Now there's a lady who likes her colour!

  16. Thanks for the link to the Kailash Sozzani site, Fiona. It's amazing what a difference colour makes. You can really size the colour of these women's eyes "pop" out in the "after" pictures. It blows me away.

    (Anonymous 1 above -- I forgot to sign my name)

  17. Thanks for another great beauty post, Fiona! Having your colors done is not something you read about much these days, yet I think it's a useful way of analyzing those colors that suit a person best. With red hair and green eyes, I seem to favour rich autumn tones. As we are coming into that season in my part of the world, it's an easy dressing time for me!

  18. I'm definitely a Winter- dark hair, very fair skin- just call me Snow White! *g*

    As someone who looks good in black, I'm still careful to bring in some colored jewelry or a hair ribbon so I don't look like I'm attending a funeral.

    I wear a lot of purples and greens. I try red but have to be careful because while I look good in bright red, I always feel wrong wearing it. Pink is a good choice, as long as I pick the right shade. Baby pinks and blues make me feel like a depressed soccer mom, especially in twinsets. Navy and gray are good, beige is not. I can't wear muted tones with my coloring, they hate me.

  19. I had my colors done too, but I never felt comfortable with it (I'm an Autumn). When I came across Carol Tuttle's "Dressing Your Truth" I worked through it and came out a 2 and I LOVE it! I've been paring down my wardrobe keeping those colors and styles in mind and I finally love my clothes.

  20. Aurora, we could almost be twins, I think! I have dark hair, fair skin and emerald green eyes, and love wearing black and jewel tones. I think beige actually probably could kill me!

    I agree that working out our colors is very valuable - and we are so blessed in this internet age to have so much good information available to us, for free, with just a few clicks! I would really encourage anyone who has never figured out their best colors, to do some Googling and have a look around. I would definitely start there; I've known of people who have been to color consultants and gotten tagged as different seasons by two different consultants, which is not only confusing but can lead to expensive mistakes. I've also heard of people feeling pressured to spend more money than they were willing to for services. That's not to say that a reputable color or image consultant couldn't be great! But I would definitely do my homework first before I bought anything. You can also find a lot of books in the library dealing with this subject (I'm partial to books!)

    Fiona, thank you for this blog and your time you spend delighting us. It's always such a pleasure to see a new post come up!

  21. Dear Fiona thank you for mentioning my books you are so kind! Please let me know if you would like an advance reader copy of Polish Your Poise with Madame Chic. I'll send one your way! Jennifer xx


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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