Find the right colours for you and looking your best every day will be a breeze, says expert Helen Venables
Whether we like it or not, it’s true to say that our appearance has a powerful effect on how the world sees us, and often how we feel about ourselves. Colour analysis is trending with women and men alike because of the burgeoning beauty and health markets, coupled with an increasing understanding that if we wear the colours that suit us, then we will look and feel healthy, energised and more visible for all the right reasons.
The colours that suit us are determined by the depth, hue and tone of our skin pigment. Warm-based colours suit spring and autumn skin tones and cool-based colours enhance summer and winter skin tones. Spring is yellow toned with clear, bright notes whilst summer is blue toned and soft and blended. Autumn is yellow toned with rich, earthy, warm shades and winters are blue toned comprising icy and jewel-like colours. Your outfits, make-up, accessories and hair colour should all be chosen as to whether you suit cool or warm colours and then the hues within your specific season.
While having your colours analysed is an investment that lasts a lifetime and is often life-changing, it is possible to get an idea of whether your skin is cool or warm by standing in front of the mirror with a selection of coloured tops or scarves and holding them up to your face to try to see which make you look healthy and bright rather than drain you. You might though be tempted to gravitate towards colours which you have been wearing all your life, but these simply may not be the colours that suit you. It’s well worth seeking objective professional advice to make sure you discover the best palette and wow colours for you. Here are my top tips on how to look fabulous through colour and style:
Within our season palettes we all have distinct wow colours that always look amazing when worn close to our face. Highlight your best features with a bright colour or pattern and leave areas you don’t like so much with a solid or more neutral colour.
Cool skin tones suit light or white metals such as white gold, platinum and silver. People with warm skin tones look good in yellow and rose gold or copper jewellery. Of course, the same applies to costume jewellery as well.
Neutrals are gorgeous but make sure you wear the right ones for your skin tone. If you’re a winter palette, consider silver, charcoal, indigo, navy, mole and stone as well as black and white. If you’re a summer pick pink, beige, mushroom, rose, brown, winter white, French navy, dark blue and light blue grey. For those with an autumnal palette, choose dark brown, tan, oyster, camel, khaki, lizard grey, dark olive, bronze and a marine navy. Spring tones should select chocolate, beige, dove grey, bright navy, oxford blue, tan, honey and cream.
True primary red is the only colour that suits every skin tone but we all have other reds that make us look fresh-faced and gorgeous. Summer palettes cut a dash in cherry and coral red, autumns glow in rust or brick reds, winters shine in scarlet and carmine, and springs look gorgeous in geranium and poppy red. Team red with a neutral from your season’s palette such as grey, navy, black, cream, beige, tan or white and it will look effortlessly stylish, but remember you need the right red with the right neutrals!
Finding out what your wow colours are can be life-changing, but style, in terms of the right length, size, cut and shape is equally important. The wrong hemline or neckline, even if it is in the right colour, will look and feel wrong.
Too many of us rely on black as our go-to colour, because many of us believe it looks flattering on everyone. The truth is that black only really suits some people who are from the winter palette, and can make other seasons appear tired with a dulllooking complexion.
A pyramid structured approach is the best way to build a complete wardrobe. Your everyday go-to clothes are at the base such as denim, coats, smart jackets or jumpers, and more expensive boots and bags, and these are often in your neutral colours. The middle level contains bolder patterns and textures that suit your style and colour palette. These are probably your ‘wow’ colours – perhaps a smart mustard blouse for autumns, or a deep burgundy for winters. The top level are your statement items and accessories which people will notice immediately. For men, these may be a bold shirt, a red tie or a more unusual on-trend jacket. For women, this could be an amazing scarf, a bold necklace or fashion statement shoes or bag.
Lipstick is the most important tool in your make-up bag to instantly lift your look so choose the right shade of lipstick for you, not the occasion. Don’t feel that you must wear a darker shade at night for example, if you don’t think it suits you. Pick a warm shade if you are an autumn or spring, or a cooler shade if you are a winter or summer and notice how it brings life to your face.
This time of year is all about colour as fresh, vibrant shades explode onto the high street. Try pairing different neutrals for a sophisticated look, or team neutrals with a wow colour for impact. For the brave and fashion-forward, experiment with your colours in unexpected, striking combinations and contrasts. Colour blocking is back this season so have fun!
Darker bags can look too heavy for this time of year. Invest in a gorgeous jawdropping bright bag and a stylish pair of colourful shoes in your wow colours to stand out from the crowd of black and brown.
Helen Venables is managing director of House of Colour. Visit houseofcolour.co.uk
Save over £11
when you subscribe today
Exclusive prizes from our Heaven Skincare, Senspa, Green People and more...