At last! The blog has had a long-overdue redesign. I’m still making final tweaks so please be patient, and if you do spot anything amiss feel free to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks! 🙂
I visited Matalan a while back on the hunt for some more leggings (the search is endless, I swear), and couldn’t resist some more style experimentation. I took some photos… Are you ready for this? Brace yourselves…
I’m sure you’ll be relieved to know that none of these outfits made it home. I showed these photos to friends recently, and their replies were not repeatable in polite company. One of my friends commented on the consistency of my style usually, so these clothes are a stark contrast to my usual Summer Ingénue Natural look. I imagine a Winter / Bright Spring Dramatic would look good in these. They are pretty much exactly what I shouldn’t be wearing; mostly Winter colours with a little Spring, Dramatic style, large scale, heels. For the sake of completeness and contrast, here’s what I usually wear if I’m going out to something that requires a smarter look…
So there you have it! When I’m next out shopping, who knows, I might experiment some more 😉
Excellent question. I’ll start by answering first who it ISN’T for.
It’s not for you if:
- You are completely invested in the colours and make-up you already wear and you wouldn’t consider changing them. I hasten to add, this isn’t the same as having favourite colours and wanting to wear them regardless of the outcome. Chances are (as I’ve seen again and again), if there is a colour you particularly love it’s almost certainly in your palette (I’ve yet to see this NOT be the case). Even if your favourite colour isn’t in your final palette you can still wear it! Of course you can. These are very much guidelines, not rules. You can do as much or as little with the advice I give as you like. In addition, you don’t have to wear every colour in your palette if you don’t want to. As a Summer I have some beautiful shades of pink in my palette but I feel apprehensive about wearing them because it feels vulnerable to do so. That’s totally okay. You don’t have to love every colour, although chances are you’ll fall in love with them when you see what they do for you.
- You’re going to give yourself a hard time afterwards if 100% of your wardrobe isn’t already compliant. (See previous comment about my advice being guidelines, not rules!) Self-compassion is where it all begins. Be kind to yourself.
- You have plenty of money and enjoy shopping and the thrill of a new buy and don’t mind wearing something once and then getting rid of it. You’d rather buy something (even if it doesn’t particularly suit you) rather than return home empty-handed.
- Keeping up with trends is uber-important and you don’t care whether what’s in suits you or not.
- You don’t think your dyed hair really suits you, but you wouldn’t change it anyway. The problem with this is that even if you’re wearing all the right colours in your clothing, your hair will still throw the whole show off, and in quite a big way given it’s right next to your face all of the time.
- You can’t think of how you could apply the information you’ll be given to your life. If you’re not interested in applying what you’ve learnt to your hair, make-up or clothing then there’s probably little point in you spending money on a colour analysis session.
It’s for you if:
- You’re curious and ready to experiment with what you wear.
- You enjoy shopping but you’d like to refine the process so you can see more quickly what might work for you.
- You don’t enjoy shopping and you’d like to be quicker and more efficient at it.
- You would quite like to dye your hair, but you want to be sure that the shade you choose suits you.
- You’ve long since suspected that some colours suit you whilst others don’t but you don’t know why.
- You feel like you wear 20% of your wardrobe 80% of the time.
- You understand that despite the outcome of the colour analysis session, you are still free to wear your favourite dress / shoes / top even if it isn’t in your palette. I’m not the fashion / colour / style police!
I understand that some are apprehensive about having their colours done. I am very sincere and serious when I say I wouldn’t want to drape anyone who didn’t want it done with one exception – my husband – whom I bribed with beer and he was quite happy with this arrangement (turns out he was an Autumn as I suspected, and had been wearing and buying the right colours all along). If you’re still having trouble deciding, you might find my previous post, ‘The difficulty in explaining colour analysis’, useful.
The number one intended outcome of a personal colour analysis is to appear ‘in focus’. As an analyst it’s the thing I look for when I’m going through the final few drapes having decided upon a season. If, with the drapes and corresponding make-up my client doesn’t look ‘in focus’ then I’ve most definitely done something […]
Photography: Carla Watkins I had the pleasure of draping two friends a couple of weekends ago, one of whom is a photographer, hence the brilliant photography! (Thank you Carla!) After an exciting morning we discovered that one was a glorious Winter and the other a super-pretty Summer. I see them both regularly and actually it’s hard (for me […]
You’ll probably not be at all surprised to hear that my colour and style knowledge was immensely useful when it came to planning my wedding. As you know, I visited House of Colour back in 2010. You might not know that I got engaged in February 2012 and married in May 2014. Armed with my colour and […]
A friend of mine earlier this month alerted me to the Golden Globe awards and posted a link to an article containing all the red-carpet outfits. She asked me what I thought from a style and colour perspective and I couldn’t resist having a look. These undoubtedly beautiful women have access to the best designers in the business in addition to stylists and make-up artists. Despite this I often find myself thinking that the outfit they eventually decided upon could have suited them better.
I thought Rosie Huntington-Whiteley chose well. She is a woman who knows what colours suit her although I wonder if she’d gone for a soft silver instead of a soft gold whether that would have improved the look even more (perhaps, perhaps not). I imagine rose gold looks great on her. She’s almost certainly a Summer or Autumn who looks best in the softer shades. Notice that she’s a low-contrast woman in a low-contrast outfit, even her nails aren’t a distinct colour. This really works, she doesn’t look naked like some can when they are wearing a nude or nearly-nude shade. What do I mean by low-contrast? I mean that there isn’t a great variation (in terms of colour value) between the colour of her hair, eyes and skin. She has pale skin, light hair and pale green-blue eyes. An example of someone with high-contrast colouring would be Zoey Deschanel with her pale skin, dark hair and bright eyes.
I thought Jennifer Lawrence chose well too. I’d have swapped the silver jewellery for gold because she appears to be wearing a warm red (which suits her) but otherwise it works. The dress is quirky, like she is.
My favourite might just be Saoirse Ronan whose style I suspect isn’t a million miles from my own and who has an ethereal quality about her. What I like most about her outfit, apart from the harmony, is how different she looks to everyone else. She knows what suits her it would seem, and she’s sticking with it. I imagine there must be a fair bit of pressure on celebrities to wear the latest trends to seem current (remember that Stella McCartney bodycon dress Kate Winslet wore one year?). Saoirse did well to choose this dress.
Kate Winslet is an interesting one. The colour certainly seems right, it does nice things for her skin. I’ve always suspected she’s a Summer. I’m not completely sure about the style though, I’d like to see her in something with more movement in it.
I’m sure Amy Adams is a warm season. She carries that orange well. I’ve seen her look great in coral before now too. Excellent choice.
Jenna Dewan-Tatum looks great. A great dress for a high-contrast woman. What’s telling about this dress I think is that despite it’s size and pattern my eyes are still drawn to Jenna’s face which tells me that she’s getting it right. She’s probably a Winter with those striking eyes, pale skin and near-black hair, and the cool dress flatters her.
I’m not sure about Julianne Moore. I think the dress is too cool for her. Her head looks disconnected from her body and she looks a little washed out. Style-wise I like it for her, but the colour isn’t right.
Black on Lady Gaga is too severe. Black is hard to wear at the best of times for most of the population, the velvet only increases black’s harshness as it absorbs the light. With the bleached hair and black eyeliner I don’t feel as though I can see her at all.
Olivia Palermo is a stunning woman but sadly this outfit is not. My eye is so confused. The cool fuchsia lipstick clashes with the gold necklace and the colours in the dress. The black eyeliner is demanding in a way eyeliner shouldn’t be.
I love Lily James’s dress but for someone with such striking, contrasting features, it doesn’t work. Her head seems at odds with the rest of her.
Another example of someone struggling with black, the high neckline really isn’t helping. Emilia Clarke isn’t a Winter. She looks like I do in black.
I looked at Emmy Rossum for a long time and ended up Googling her before I could figure out what was going wrong. She looks like she could be a Winter but actually I think she’s a warm season, an Autumn who suits the deeper shades of the palette would be my guess. The silver jewellery and black eyeliner are jarring. I don’t like the straight hair or the straight lines of the dress. I nearly didn’t recognise her when I first stumbled on the photo.
Lola Kirke looks a lot like a cool season wearing Autumn’s mustard. Look at the shadows on her face. The lippy suits her but not the dress.
Sarah Hay’s choice is a very interesting one. First off, I strongly suspect the dress would have looked better in pale gold than silver (on her). In addition, I find the style of the dress jarring. It’s pretty, delicate. The cleavage looks inappropriate. I suspect it’s a dress that would best suit an Ethereal Ingénue but would need some adjustment so it wasn’t so revealing.
Eva Green. Such a striking woman, but not in this dress. She looks positively unwell. The warm lipstick isn’t working and in that nude dress she looks like a floating head. As Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale she was pure Winter perfection.
These truly are all beautiful women, they just haven’t necessarily made the best choices for themselves. Before I had my colours and style done I’d have days where I’d look ill and put on extra make-up to compensate. I had no idea that khaki / black / lime was the culprit, not my health.
If you’re interested in seeing more red-carpet outfits you can find them all here: http://www.popsugar.co.uk/fashion/Golden-Globes-Red-Carpet-Dresses-2016-39742645?stream_view=1#photo-39742589.
I was at a social gathering recently where I was put on the spot by the hostess, who asked me to explain colour analysis and my interest in it to a fellow party-goer and it got me thinking, because even now, still, I find colour analysis overwhelming to explain. It’s something, to my mind, that is relevant to everyone and beneficial to everyone. In addition, it sounds too good to be true. Not only does it sound too good to be true, but if the person I’m talking to is open-minded enough to believe what I’m saying there’s still an excellent chance I will be met with defensiveness, which often happens, and I will hastily add now that I completely understand the reasons for this.
In general, people worry about what other people think of them, and no-one relishes the prospect of being wrong, particularly when it comes to our own bodies and appearance. So often, when I explain what colour analysis is (and I’m not met with a look of incredulity) the next oft-cited phrase I might hear is loaded with insecurity and defensiveness. This is frustrating because it stems from a complete lack of understanding as to what a colour analyst does. We’re not the colour police or Trinny & Susannah, we’re not going to tell you off. We want to give you options, we want to make you happy, we want you to feel good in your own skin. Of course you can still go on wearing black / olive / lilac if it isn’t your best colour or even if it makes you look ill. We don’t judge because actually we truly understand that getting dressed, on a bad day, can be a surprisingly complex thing fraught with worry and there are plenty of reasons why you might choose not to wear your most flattering colours, all perfectly valid. We’re in the business we’re in because we want to help ease that angst, not because we’re smug about ‘getting it right’ and want to impose rules on you. And on the subject of insecurity, I think about how so many people, especially women, get sucked into the hype sold by the cosmetics and beauty industry (myself included) and how so little of these people know that by simply wearing the right colours (and by right I mean those that match your own colours in brightness and temperature) they can almost certainly skip the concealer.
As a colour analyst, what I want most is for you to have options. I want you to know your most flattering colours so that you can choose to wear them, or choose not to. Knowledge is power, knowledge is empowerment. Perhaps the opposite of empowerment is insecurity. Insecurity is a funny thing. Fashion and cosmetics companies play on it to sell us things. Insecurity is fundamentally a type of fear. I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t fear judgement from others on some level (whether it be about how they look, or their competence at work, or their personality). They might admit it, they might not. It’s perfectly natural.
Colour analysis allows us to see you, not your hair, make-up or clothes. When the colours are right we see your bone structure, the shape of your lips, the line around your iris, the shape of your nose, I could go on. I understand that for some this might feel uncomfortable at first. Not everyone wants to be noticed for who they are, to be seen so clearly, but it is certainly beautiful to behold.
When I start to explain colour analysis, I hear a lot of the same comebacks. To those that say, “I already know what colours suit me” I want to reply “But don’t you want to know the formula? Don’t you want to know if there are colours out there that look amazing on you that you don’t already know about?”
To those that say, “I don’t want to be told what colours to wear” I would say “But we’re not, surely what you put on your body is entirely up to you? Aren’t you curious to know if there are some colours out there that really can make you look younger and your skin smoother and your eyes brighter?”
To those that say, “It makes no difference what colours people wear” I would say “But would you buy the first frame you found in the right size for a painting you’d bought? Didn’t think so. You’d pick a frame that looked harmonious with the painting.” We’re no different. We need ‘framing’ too.
To those that say, “I don’t want to be told I’m doing it all wrong” I would say “I understand. Please, don’t worry. It doesn’t matter. No-one, least of all me, is going to judge you for what you turn up in.” Instead of fearing judgement or getting caught up in whether or not you’re ‘doing it wrong’ I just wish that people would relax, and breathe, and know that people are often so caught up in worrying about what others think of them that they’re not really looking at you at all. So often when someone turns up for an analysis they are fretting about their outfit and I often think how funny it is that they are so busy worrying about their own outfit that they’re not looking at mine and judging whether I’m practising what I preach and whether, based on my appearance, I’m worth the money they’re giving me.
When I’m asked to explain colour analysis and why it’s great, everything I’ve mentioned here runs through my head. It’s overwhelming. I feel a sense of great responsibility to impart what I know about it and why I think it could help someone and I often feel I fail to convey what I wanted to get across. I want to tell them how it changed my life. I want to tell them that now, every day, getting dressed is easy. Buying make-up is easy. I can put as much or as little effort into my outfit as I want and I’ll consistently feel comfortable leaving the house in it. I want to tell them that it wasn’t always this way. I want to tell them about the days when I’d leave the house hoping I wouldn’t bump into anyone I knew. I want to tell them how ugly I felt some days, the shame, the frustration of having a wardrobe full of clothes but nothing I felt I could put on and leave the house in. I want them to know that when I started wearing my colours I started to feel good about looking in the mirror, not anxious or shy. When someone asks me to explain what colour analysis is, perhaps I’ll just point them to this article instead 🙂
As you may have judged by the title of this post, it’s time for something a little bit different! I’m very excited to be writing about a colour and style experiment I did recently. For one day only I wore something completely different both style and colour-wise, in part to see if anyone noticed, and also to see how I felt.
I wanted my outfit to be believable. In fact, I wanted it to be something I could and would have quite plausibly worn before I had my colours and style done, so it was put together with much thought and with a little help from my style and colour-savvy friends.
Why did I do the experiment?
I had my colours done over 5 years ago and as a result I’m very used to wearing clothes that feel right for me and not really having to think about what I wear. It is completely liberating. It means I can think about clothes as little or as much as I want. It also means I dress very consistently. I dress true to my clothing personality and I always wear colours from the Summer palette (as a Deep Summer this means I wear a lot of navy, purple and sea green). I did this experiment because I wanted to remember how it felt to leave the house feeling insecure about my outfit. I remember frequently leaving the house for work hoping I wouldn’t have to deal with anyone that day because I didn’t feel comfortable in what I was wearing but I didn’t know what else to wear. When I think back to that time the memory of it leaves me feeling quite drained. I had to think about clothes a lot if I wanted to feel vaguely comfortable when leaving the house. I had a wardrobe full of clothes and nothing to wear. I rarely got it right, and it took me a long time to figure out what I was going to wear.
I did the experiment because I wanted to see how the people I interact with every day reacted to me dressing differently. Would they even notice? Generally speaking people don’t comment on my clothes and I think this is because when the clothes are right, people notice the person wearing them. I’ll admit that I was expecting to feel very uncomfortable all day, but I was pretty sure that no-one would notice or comment. Turns out I was quite wrong about that!
How would I describe my style usually?
Zyla’s tagline for his Sunset Summer archetype is ‘elegant bohemian’ and I think that phrase works well to describe me. I’d also describe my style as pretty, casual and a bit ethereal. I have a love of detail in clothes, anything plain is a bit of a turn-off for me. In House of Colour’s system I’m considered an ‘Ingénue Natural’. It’s a young, casual look. Here is my style board on Pinterest, to give you a better idea:
Here are four typical outfits that I wear both for work and during my leisure time. I don’t have a separate work wardrobe as I work behind-the-scenes in a technical capacity and my colleagues dress casually too. We don’t need to wear suits. Apologies for the low-quality nates 😉
What I chose to wear on my experiment day, and why
I was thankfully able to borrow clothes from friends so I didn’t have to go out and buy clothes in the wrong style and season! I opted for:
- Wide leg black trousers
- Heeled patent black shoes
- A long jumper top in tan
- A wooden bead necklace
- A black patent belt
In terms of make-up I kept it minimal: navy mascara, a Summer blusher and an Autumn lipstick; mismatching on purpose because those who aren’t aware of colour analysis typically don’t manage to wear make-up belonging to the same season. I used to wear black mascara (Winter), a warm brown blusher (Autumn) and a neutral lipstick that, if swatched, would have belonged to Autumn.
I chose the black trousers and black shoes because I used to wear those all the time for work. Admittedly I didn’t used to wear a heel but I chose the shoe style because it’s not me at all, but of course they look great on my Winter Natural Romantic friend!
I chose an Autumn/Spring (crossover) top because warmth makes me look ill, and my past mistakes were Autumn. I wore a lot of khaki which I know now to be one of the worst colours I could have chosen because I have very cool undertones and khaki is a very warm colour.
When I first tried the outfit on (in front of my colour and style-savvy friends) they pulled horrified faces. I asked them if it was ‘too much’ and they insisted it wasn’t. It was something I might have worn pre-style/colour analysis. It was also an outfit that someone might very plausibly put together if they didn’t have style and colour knowledge.
I asked them how it felt to look at me. They said I looked ill (that’ll be the warm brown jumper!) and that I looked like I was dressing up, perhaps to perform in a play or similar. In other words, not me at all. Like I was dressing as someone else. Their comments didn’t surprise me at all. I felt incredibly uncomfortable looking in the mirror. I could hardly bear to look at myself.
The belt made me feel very uncomfortable. I think it was very unflattering but it matched the shoes. I think I might have disliked the necklace most of all. I still struggle to explain why. I think it looks faintly ridiculous on me and yet I knew that someone else could wear the same outfit and look much better in it (ideally the trousers and shoes and belt would be brown, to match the Spring/Autumn jumper).
The day of the experiment
Getting dressed on the day I noticed I was unconsciously trying to fight it. I wanted to plait my hair rather than have it in a bun (like I used to) because I hate how the bun looks. I wore all my own make-up bar the Autumn lipstick which I borrowed from a friend. I had wanted to wear black mascara but couldn’t find any. Putting on my Summer blusher was just easier and conveniently clashed with the outfit.
I felt more excited than uncomfortable until I looked in the mirror. I just laughed at myself because the outfit seemed so ridiculous, but then I reminded myself how I felt before I had my colours and style done, and suddenly it didn’t seem very funny any more. I hated looking at myself in the mirror, I literally cringed every time. It really bought back memories, of days when I didn’t like what I was wearing and didn’t have anything else but had to go into work anyway (or call in sick). So I’d go to work and feel uncomfortable all day and hope I didn’t bump into anyone I knew.
I hated the noise of the shoes clip-clopping as I walked into work. I noticed I was having to walk slower. I confessed to my husband in the car on the way in that I was doing an experiment and he said (in relation to the outfit), “I don’t like it, it’s just meh. But it doesn’t look that out of the ordinary. No-one will notice.” I had to remove the shoes for driving. The impracticality of the heels drove me mad.
I hated walking down my corridor into work. I felt like the clip-clopping noise was attracting attention and my husband teased me about it. It made me realise I don’t usually make any noise as I walk because I wear flat shoes or boots.
My two (male) colleagues started commenting before I’d even sat at my desk.
“Oh my God who’s this?”
They just STARED at me, grinning. I couldn’t ignore them so I said “What?” and they replied “Can we have Janine back?”
One of them said “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you in trousers before.” I replied: “You haven’t.” I told them I was surprised that they even noticed what I was wearing.
They wouldn’t let up. Later in the day they said: “We’re suspicious, what’s going on? We’ve been talking about it.” I just smiled at them and they said “How did the interview go?”
I posted some photos of me in the outfit in a private group on Facebook for my friends to see. I didn’t tell them I was doing an experiment. Their reactions were really interesting.
“Wow – chuck the tunics girl!” one said.
“Ooooo very grown up… And omg!! your figure!!” said another.
But when I ‘fessed up they were relieved.
“I was quite surprised when I saw someone as expert in style as you, dressed up as someone else. You look ok. But you don’t feel ok. That’s the point. Innit?”
“I thought it was a bit 1980s”
“I think your awesome figure and the slim fitting top saves it, but I did think very classic and odd you in tan then got distracted by your figure so forgot about the colours.”
I made notes throughout the day:
“I can’t wait until the end of the day when I can take it off! Feel SO self-conscious. Looking in the mirror is SO uncomfortable, excruciating even. Dreading getting up from my desk to get water!”
“In order to get on with work today I’m going to have to try very hard to forget about what I’m wearing. It’s very distracting. I feel weirdly naked. Feels like a thought control experiment.”
“In the kitchen I bumped into someone I knew (female colleague). I noticed how distracted they were by my outfit. It felt awful to be looked up and down.”
“Outfit is tiring. Heels are tiring.”
After lunch I ‘fessed up to a colleague about the experiment, the one who kept asking me what was going on. I felt more comfortable after that but I still avoided getting up for water. When I told my colleague I was 6’ in heels he said to me: “Your legs are 5’11” long.” I thought that it was interesting that the outfit was causing people to notice my figure more. No wonder I felt naked.
My singing teacher gave the best response of the day. Before she’d even said goodbye to her last student she’d asked me if I was okay. As soon as they had left she turned to me and said:
“Really, what’s wrong? Are you okay?”
I assured her I was fine but she persisted.
“On a scale of 1 to 10, where are you?”
“Honestly, about an 8, I’m fine!” I insisted.
I had to tell her about the experiment before we’d even made it to her studio. When I said, “It’s okay, I’ll tell you, it’s fine honest!” she literally recoiled in horror and seemed genuinely worried. “I knew something was up!” she said. I told her about the experiment and she breathed a huge sigh of relief. “You look so stern!”
She’s very astute and sensitive so I’m not in any way surprised she noticed, but I was surprised by the intensity of her reaction. She said to me that I looked drawn, I told her that would be the colour of the jumper I was wearing. She paused, and then said, “Wow. I really think I should get my colours done.” Afterwards she said, “It’s not that the outfit is bad, it’s just that it’s not you at all. You look like you wouldn’t take any sh*t. I don’t like it. It freaks me out.” I thought how ironic it was that I looked intimidating to her when I had felt so self conscious all day. I thought she might actually like my outfit because it was more her style than mine but clearly I was very wrong.
When my friend and fellow student arrived after my lesson she looked me up and down and said, “What’s all this?” I had to laugh and confess as my teacher said “Thank God you’ve noticed!” I told my friend I was wearing the wrong style and colours for an experiment. “Thank God for that!” she said. “I knew something was up when I spotted the necklace!”
I will be very relieved not to be wearing the outfit again but I will admit that it prompted compliments from some which was a change for me because generally speaking I don’t get any at all. People notice me and not the clothes and of course I don’t usually wear anything quite so figure-hugging!
The experiment reiterated to me the importance of dressing for ourselves. There may be some people who prefer the tan and black outfit but I felt so uncomfortable in it and ultimately how you feel is what matters most.
I’m not surprised I felt so uncomfortable but I was surprised by the reactions I got. I would do something similar again but only in the name of fancy dress or another experiment to blog about. It made me feel very, very grateful for the colour and style knowledge that I have. It is amazing just how much of an impact one outfit can have.
I discovered Art Finder very recently. As an art lover (albeit with depressingly-limited wall space) this was heaven to my eyes. Inevitably I found art for this post. So here we have ‘Art for every season‘, part 2.
The bright warm colours feel full of life. The bright blue of the Hyacinths is close to Spring’s warm cornflower blue.
I love not only the colours but how vibrant and splashy the Kingfisher looks. It’s reminiscent of Spring’s energy. If the four seasons mapped to the four elements, Spring would be air.
I love the wet look of this painting, how the colours blend into each other. If the four seasons mapped to the four elements, Summer would be water.
Perfect Summer colours, and the reflection on the water just blows me away.
I love this so very very much for Autumn. The metallic finish, the texture, the redhead, the muted colours. Everything about it is perfect.
Such rich, golden colours. You get a real sense of warmth from this. If the four seasons mapped to the four elements, Autumn would be fire or earth (I can’t decide which!).
Perhaps a little obvious being black and white, but the sharpness of the lines and shapes is important too.
The electric blue is such a typically-associated Winter colour. You get a real sense of coolness looking at it. The diamonds on the dress lend welcome contrast.