I have been wondering whether I should get my ‘colours done’. It would be great to get a bit of guidance on what shades genuinely suit me. I’ve now reached a grand old age, and although a few things have been learnt about what not to buy (grey, as much as I love you, you do not love me), I also still choose clothes that don’t do me any favours (hello navy blue).
But the opportunity to have a colour profile done has never really presented itself. In my mind, the companies that do them seem a bit Tupperware and twinsets. It was something my mum and her friends did in the 1980s. I worry they won’t get my style and I’d end up being steered towards some weird, outdated colour palette.
I follow stylist and personal shopper Lauren Jobling (aka The Wardrobe Doctor) on Instagram. She’s a cool lady, who I’m sure has never been to a Tupperware party in her life (I’ve Googled this, they definitely still have them). So when she started mentioning colour analysis, and how she uses it with her clients, I asked her if she could help me understand more about how it works.
Hi Lauren, its lovely to have you on Not About the Kids. Now, even you have admitted that you once had your doubts about all this….
Yes, colour analysis wasn’t my favourite part of the course when I studied styling, I thought it was outdated and regimental. I was worried it might make people even more self-conscious about wearing different colours. But I have to admit I was wrong. When I started styling clients properly, colours became an important factor during our sessions. It became apparent people are scared of colour and mainly stick to the ones they ‘feel safe’ in as opposed to colours that lift them up and bring out the beauty of their complexion. I’ve found it a really helpful process if it is done in a positive way.
Ok now for the science part, how do you work out what colours suit you?
Firstly you have to discover your skin tone. Your skin tone is the base of where it all begins. You can be either cool or warm. A great way to check is to look at the veins on your wrist if they’re bluish – you’ve probably got a cool undertone, but if they look more green – then a warm undertone. Once you have nailed this then you are on your way.
And then you fit your skin tone, hair and eyes into one of four colour ‘Seasons’, yes?
We all fall into different seasons, I’ll give you a brief idea….
WINTER people have mid-dark brown hair, and a big contrast between the colour of their skin, eyes and hair (think Angelina Jolie). They’ll tend to suit black, Icy blue, purple, hot pink…
Those with SPRING colouring will have fairer hair, with light skin and eyes (Gwyneth, Emma Stone). They’ll look good in pastels, navy, dark brown and teal.
SUMMER folk have lighter hair and cool skin, not much contrast between the two (Jennifer Aniston). You’ll suit grey, light yellow and baby pink.
AUTUMN tones you will have dark or very dark hair, and rich skin with not much contrast between the colour of your hair, skin and eyes (Beyonce, Victoria Beckham), and will probably find that browns, khakis and mid-greys work on you.
Once you get the hang of it, picking clothing in the right colours to lift your look will be a walk in the park. It’s just the initial analysis you might find helpful!
So what is the effect if you are wearing a colour that is bang-on for your skin tone?
If you are wearing the right colour for your skin, then your complexion immediately looks brighter. As I have ‘winter’ season colourings, I like to wear earthy tones like burnt orange or mustard. These contrast against my dark features and bring out the brown in my eyes and the auburn in my hair. The orange also reflects off my face to give it a little bit of extra brightness, which some people don’t realise can be achieved by the colours you wear.
When you go through this with clients, what reaction do you get?
Some are quite shocked, others a little bit offended – especially if they love a colour and have worn it for years and have just found out it isn’t necessarily right for them. But mostly, they are pleased and happy. They have a direction to go in when shopping.
Can it be a bit restrictive? What if one of my favourite colours turns out to be the last thing I should wear?
I still think you should wear what you like even if it is not 100% your colour. If it makes you happy, then your smile will lift up your face instead of the colour of your outfit. Don’t beat yourself up too much about wearing clothes that don’t fit into your seasonal colourings, it’s not the end of the world, no one from the Colour Analysis Police will come and get you.
Mustard works well with my skin tone, burnt orange, tomato red, emerald and khaki green too. But I also love wearing powder pink even though this colour is not recommended for my colourings. I still wear it because I LOVE it.
A colour profile should not be looked at as a set of rules but as just a guide.
Point me in the right direction, Lauren. I like this picture, but suspect navy isn’t a great colour for me even though I buy it all the time.
My Granny always says I should go with peacock blue, is she right? She is usually right…
I think she is, the navy doesn’t necessarily brighten up your face and may not ‘officially’ be your colour BUT, it still looks nice and wearable. I think for you, I would go for more vibrant colours like an emerald or apple green colour, or orange as, like on me, it will add some colour to your face and bring out your eyes. Believe it or not cool and icy pinks and blues work really well against your skin tone too and will accentuate the beauty of your English rose complexion.
That’s brilliant, I’m going to study this and find out more. Is it easy enough for civilians with no colour or fashion background to work their colours out on their own?
Absolutely. I think if they did all the research and played around with colours and went to try on different clothes themselves, they can 100% do this without assistance. However, an image consultant like myself can help build your confidence up and take you to the best places to get your colour. A one-off initial analysis also might come in handy to help you on your way.