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How to wear colour

2012-10-23 14:12:36

Published on 2012-10-23 14:12:36

Of all the services I offer, women are both fascinated and perplexed by colour and how to wear it. When you understand how to wear colour, you know what colours work in harmony with your own natural colouring, and are able to identify colours that will influence both your mood and the impact you make on others. Since the 1980’s when colour analysis (or ‘having your colours done’) first became popular, a veil of mystery began to surround colour and how to wear it. Wearing colour doesn’t have to be complicated – here are my tips on how to wear colour:

Wear your best colours near your face

The colours that have the most impact on your appearance are the ones worn near your face. When people look at you, they take you in from the shoulders up, so wear your best colours near your face.

Test for your best colours

To find out your best colours, you need to ‘test’ them. A colour that suits you will make you look healthy and radiant, whereas a colour that doesn’t can drain you and make you look like you need a week in hospital!

If you’re out shopping or rummaging through your own wardrobe, take 2-3 tops or scarves and in good natural day light, hold each one up near your face and observe what the colour does.

Look out for your skin – does it look fresh or drained? Do you notice that one of the colours casts dark shadows or makes lines or bags more prominent? Look at your eyes, do they sparkle when you test a particular colour, and what about your hair, does it look dull or does the colour bring out certain highlights? Which colour overall makes you look well?

If you struggle to tell for yourself, you may need to enlist the help of a trusted friend.

Rescue your less than best colours

When I do colour consultations, women often ask me that if black isn’t one of their colours, do they need to ditch it altogether? It’s not realistic or practical for most women to completely cull their wardrobe if it has a lot of a colour that isn’t their best, so I tell them how to ‘rescue’ a colour.

Most women have black in their wardrobe (70% of clothing bought in the UK is black) and a lot of women like it, so you need to know how to wear it. We often go for black jackets, cardigans, coats, etc especially in Winter. What you can do is to put one of your best colours between your face and the black item using a top, a piece of jewellery or even a scarf so that the black isn’t right against your face.

Experiment with colour

Sometimes people are afraid to buy clothing in a colour they’ve never worn before, as it seems too big a step. If there is a colour that you’d like to try, but aren’t quite ready to commit to, buy something small in that colour – a scarf, or a piece of jewellery for example. Wear it and see how it makes you look and feel. If you like it, it’ll give you the confidence to commit to a piece of clothing in that colour.

Don’t be a slave to fashion

Each season certain colours are declared as ‘fashionable’ on the latest catwalk show. I’m a big advocate of style over fashion, which means dressing to suit you and your unique personality. By all means look out for the latest colour trends, but make sure that you wear them because they suit you, not because you’ve been told they are the latest ‘must haves’.

woman trying colour

Use colour to influence your mood

Research shows that colours have an impact on our mood and general feeling of well-being, so use colour to get you into whatever mood you want to experience. I've written a more in-depth article on colour and mood, The Colours of Emotion, but here is a summary of a few colours and their impact on mood:

Red - helps you feel confident and in control, and a good energy booster

Blue & greenmakes you feel calm and also shown to lower blood pressure and appetite

Purple - helps you feel in a relaxed frame of mind

White - when you want to feel fresh and spritely

Pink - to make you feel your most feminine

Orange & yellow - to help you feel revitalised,cheerful and confident

Wear colour to create the right impact

Colour also influences the impression that you make on others, so you can use colour to create the impact you want on others. For example, if you are in business, depending on your role, you may need to come across as authoritative and professional or down to earth and approachable i.e. when I worked in the Accountancy profession, most of my suits were black and charcoal. Authoritative colours are black, navy and charcoal. However, if you are in a more caring profession such as a counsellor or hypnotherapist, it’s really important that your clients see you as approachable, so colours such as brown and beige make you appear more approachable and down to earth.

One colour that has an interesting impact on others is purple – people will see you as creative and sensitive. It’s also a great colour to wear if you want your husband or partner to do something for you – it is thought that when women wear purple it stimulates the minds of the opposite sex, making the women more attractive!

Wearing colour doesn’t need to be difficult: wear colours that you love, that look good on you and make you feel great!

Still need help deciding what colours to wear?  Try my Colour Confidence or Colour Confidence Refresher.

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