Everyone should own a Little RED Dress

According to studies done by A. J. Elliot et al (documented in his Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and his Journal of Experimental Social Psychology), red enhances women’s attractiveness to men, an effect that is apparently universal. This probably doesn’t come as any great surprise when you think about the colour and how it is used in marketing (Special K lady anyone?). It’s certainly a powerful colour, and often a colour that many veer away from for fear it might draw attention to them. Ironically it’s likely to be one of the most flattering colours you could own.

The wonderful thing about red is that every season has a shade that flatters them.

Spring has poppy red, a warm bright red that looks especially striking when worn as a lipstick with a top/dress in a similar colour.

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Spring’s warm poppy red

Summer has a cool cherry red that’s a bit more pink and soft in comparison to Winter’s red. A Deep Summer would also look incredible in a deep claret red (burgundy).

Summer’s soft cherry red

Autumn’s red looks like burnt orange and red mixed together to form a warm muted red.

brick-red
Autumn’s brick red

Autumn could also wear a softer version of Spring’s poppy red, which looks more red than the brick.

Winter’s red is cool, dramatic and uncompromising. A Winter can wear true primary red, scarlet, claret or crimson.

Scarlet red tunic

So, have I persuaded you yet? The Dress Spot is a brilliant website if you are looking for a dress in a particular colour. Perfect for finding your own Little Red Dress!

Jewellery for Springs and Summers

Spring

Spring looks best in bright, shiny, gold-coloured metal. Think of pure sunshine.

Alice by Temperley Design Collaboration: WONDERLAND CHARM NECKLACE, Stella & Dot
Alice by Temperley Design Collaboration:
Wonderland Charm Necklace, Stella & Dot, £67.50 in the sale

Brushed gold shouldn’t be ruled out, but it needs to be sunshine yellow, not antique or copper.

Springs that look better in the cooler colours of their palette can also wear silver but keep it shiny and in no way tarnished.

Rose gold can look very pretty on a Spring. Again, keep the shine. Mixed metals can be really magical too.

original_set-of-three-mixed-metal-rings
Set of three mixed metal rings
by Lisa Angel, Not On The High Street, £19 for the set

Turquoise stones and sparkle are fabulous. Go for transparent rather than opaque stones if possible (I’m being rather fussy here, but we are going for the maximum wow factor).

Raina Earrings (in turquoise) by Stella & Dot
Raina earrings in turquoise by Stella & Dot, £16 in the sale

Avoid anything too muted or bronzed and especially avoid the antiqued look. Copper and antique bronze will likely be too muted and deep.

Harry Potter Time Turner  necklace 18k yellow gold-plated
Harry Potter Time Turner necklace 18k yellow gold-plated, approximately £1 from Etsy

For the price I suspect this lovely necklace wouldn’t last very long, but it is a great example of a Spring necklace. Bright yellow gold, high shine, and the necklace has some movement too.

Summer

Summer glows in matte, silver-coloured metal. This brushed silver necklace on Not On The High Street is a brilliant example of brushed silver making the skin glow. I suspect she’s a Summer with those ash brown eyebrows and platinum blonde hair (albeit from a bottle). It’s a shame her make-up is so distracting. The black eye liner and warm red lippy aren’t right for her. The necklace and her skin, however, remind me of moonlit milk. Perfection.

Luisa Coin Necklace In Gold Or Silver by BLOOM BOUTIQUE
Luisa Coin Necklace (in gold or silver)
by Bloom Boutique, £24

This feather necklace is pretty and smaller-scale. Brushed silver again. The soft flowing lines are very befitting.

Silver Feather Necklace by Lily Charmed
Silver Feather Necklace
by Lily Charmed, £32

The texture of these rings is beautiful, as is the pattern in the stones and the satin finish. Labradorite is a beautiful and unusual choice, spot-on for a Summer.

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Mimi Stackable Band Rings by Stella & Dot, £40

Moonstone is another beautiful and unusual gemstone. It’s misty and gentle in its appearance and has a wonderful shimmer when the light hits it.

Moonstone stud earrings sterling silver, £22, Etsy
Moonstone stud earrings sterling silver, £22, Etsy

This antique-effect silver filigree moon necklace is very pretty too.

Antique filigree sliver crescent moon necklace, £12.50 from Etsy
Antique filigree sliver crescent moon necklace, £12.50 from Etsy

Summers can usually get away with rose gold if they so wish, and a very pale light yellow gold as long as it isn’t very yellow at all. Shiny silver is fine, but a more matte, satin finish will always have the edge.

Perhaps rather surprisingly, Summers can wear antiqued bronze particularly if found on a compliant coat in the form of buttons. The bronze isn’t too warm and is muted, making it an interesting alternative to silver and it looks great with brown leather.

Skin undertones and overtones

There seems to be a lot of (very understandable) confusion around skin undertones and overtones. If you’ve had your colours analysed you’ll know that your undertone determines what season you are and yet your undertone is invisible. If you are an Autumn or Spring it can be said you have warm undertones; conversely if you are a Summer or Winter it can be said you have cool undertones. Colour analysis is not about overtones. If it were, women who wear the same foundation would be the same Season.

People often think undertone is skin colour – it’s not. Your undertone is invisible. Your overtone however, is not invisible. It’s the visible colour of your skin. When purchasing foundation both overtone and undertone are important. Some companies have finally cottoned on to undertones. Cosmetics companies who understand undertones and overtones are much more likely to have a foundation shade that matches your skin. Shopping for foundation becomes a lot easier. Your overtone might look yellow, or pink, brown or peachy. It might be described as sand, beige, ivory, biscuit or ebony. All common foundation names. Your undertone might be described by cosmetics companies as ‘pink’ or ‘rose’ if it is cool and ‘yellow’ or ‘golden’ if it is warm.

There is also such a thing as a false overtone. This is the colour your skin can appear to turn when you are wearing the wrong colour. When I wear khaki I look jaundiced. A Winter wearing the wrong colour might look ruddy in the face.

What influences your undertone? There is no definitive answer to this, but it is generally considered that the following are factors:

  • Oxygenated (red) or non-oxygenated (blue) blood vessels that run under the surface of the skin.
  • Melanin (which also influences hair and eye colour). The more melanin in the skin, the darker the skin tone.
  • Skin thickness. This varies by Season and influences how much colour shows through.
  • Carotene, which gives skin a yellow hue.

The only way to find out whether you have cool or warm undertones is by having your colours analysed in person. Some people offer online colour analysis where you send them a series of photos. I love the idea of it, but unfortunately it’s often inaccurate. It’s impossible to simply look at someone and tell what season they are (although I’m often asked to do this! 😉 ). During an in-person colour analysis session it’s important that you see the way the colours change your skin, in real time, in front of the mirror. Watching your skin react and your face change is all part of the (deeply exciting) process.

What to expect at your colour analysis session

Before the draping itself, I will explain colour analysis to you. We will talk a little about shopping and colour theory. I will answer any questions you might have. We will then go through the drapes and ascertain your season. Once we’ve ascertained your season we’ll go through every drape I have for that season and fine tune. At this point we are likely splitting hairs, but it can be useful to know the very, very best colours in your season and those which are more useful for accessories, underwear, etc. Colour analysis is not about limiting options, but about opening your eyes to all the colours you can wear. Clients often express surprise at the wide range of colours that look great on them. Before I had my colours done I believed I couldn’t wear pink. Afterwards I realised I had just been looking at the wrong pink.

I really want you to get the most out of your draping so:

  • Your face will need to be free of make-up. I know that for some this will feel difficult. Please try not to worry about it – I absolutely understand, I felt the same. I suffered with acne for years and going out without make-up on even now feels uncomfortable. I will certainly not judge you. It only need be the two of us.
  • Please don’t wear fake tan – I can’t analyse you with it on as I’m looking for how your skin reacts to colours and fake tan gets in the way of that.
  • If you’ve dyed or bleached your hair, I will ask that you wear my white head scarf (sorry about that). It really is important though. Bring a hair brush along for afterwards if you’re worried 🙂
  • If there isn’t enough natural light I won’t hazard a guess at your season. I’ll return another day or, if possible, find us another location.
  • You will need to be sat in front of a full length mirror. If you don’t have one let me know and I can bring mine.
  • I will bring make-up along with me for you to try after we’ve ascertained your season. I think trying it on will be hugely beneficial but I certainly won’t insist you try it if you don’t feel comfortable doing so.
  • If you wear glasses, please wear contact lenses if at all possible. I want you to see how the colours affect your skin. This is incredibly important.
  • Please do try and keep an open mind. I absolutely understand that if you’ve been wearing black all your life you might feel uncomfortable at first being diagnosed as a Spring/Summer/Autumn. I anticipate compliments galore as you wear your new colours.
  • I’m more than happy to drape children (and partners) but do bear in mind they need to be willing and able to sit for up to an hour.
  • We both need to be able to concentrate so a space free of distractions for the session is important. No children please.
  • Bring a camera if you want. I am more than happy to take pictures of you looking amazing in your best colours. I think this is a fantastic reminder and can be useful to look back on if you have any concerns about your season.
  • If you like, bring along your make-up bag or any clothes you are curious about. I’m happy to advise.

You will leave with a little swatch book that you can take shopping with you. If you wear scarves, these are a great place to start. I understand that you might be nervous about going shopping. If you’d like me as your shopping partner, please say and we can go together at a time and cost that suits you. If you want make-up advice I’m happy to help. I may well point you in the direction of my blog or Pinterest for recommendations for your season. If you want someone to help you clear out your wardrobe let me know, it’d be my pleasure to help and I love organising and tidying things. Again, we’ll do this at a time and a cost that suits you.

What does it cost? I charge £80 for a colour analysis session which includes the swatch book. If you are a considerable distance from me I may need to add a little extra on for petrol. I do group discounts. The cost reduces to £70 each for two or more. Depending on the time of year I can typically fit no more than 4 sessions in a day.

Where will it take place? Wherever you like although most clients prefer I come to them. I can come to your home or even your workplace just so long as we have a quiet room with good natural light. If you’d like to come to me this can be arranged too, just let me know.

How long will it take? Please allow at least 2 hours. Most people are done within the hour, others are a little trickier. I like to allow plenty of time for questions and for playing with make-up.

Should I bring anything? Please bring your foundation for wearing afterwards assuming you usually wear it. By all means bring your whole make-up stash with you and we can take a look at it. I will bring some make-up too for you to try.

What should I wear? Anything you like apart from hoodies or polo neck jumpers.

Can I bring a friend? Yes! Absolutely. The more the merrier. It’ll be magical for them to watch.

Is there a reason why I shouldn’t be analysed? If you are taking medication that changes the colour of your skin. If you feel unwell (we’ll reschedule). If you have a deep tan or are sun burnt we’ll need to wait until this has faded. A light tan shouldn’t be too much of a problem but anything more than that might be.

Will I need to throw away my entire wardrobe if I’ve been buying the wrong colours? Not if you don’t want to! Some people have the motivation and means to do that, but generally speaking I recommend that clients go through their wardrobe and swatch their clothes. Compliant clothes go on the right, non-compliant on the left. As you wear out the clothes on the left, replace them with compliant ones. You don’t need to start big either. Scarves, lipstick and nail varnish are a great way of introducing your new colours without breaking the bank.

How do I book? Just contact me via e-mail: janine@inlovewithcolour.com.