I have suggested that understanding your own colouring is very helpful in choosing what colours to wear. Here is Andrew Muir – he is one of my senior Director colleagues. Andrew has really light colouring – his hair is strawberry blond and his eyes are a lightish greeny-blue. There is very little contrast in his features – his eye brows more or less disappear into his skin. While his colouring is also warm his primary direction is light. His greyish-green gingham shirt looks great with his light colouring.
When someone has light colouring the shades of colours that they wear should also be on the lighter side. Here is a palette of colours which would suit Andrew. Although I have selected a range of shades here to illustrate the point it is true that any lighter colours would look good on him. The shade of his shirt is not illustrated below but it is complies with the light direction. In fact any small-scale gingham would probably suit Andrew as the effect of the white checks simply makes the colour appear light from a slight distance.
Andrew has not had his colouring analysed. He instinctively knows what looks good on him and generally looks great. And I am just having an educated guess. Colour analysis is a more intense version of this. Let me explain what happens.
I am grateful to my dear step-daughter Charlotte for allowing me to use her as my model.
Charlotte arrives without make up and with her hair tied back so I can only see the natural roots of her hair. She sits in good day light, and I hold different shades of a colour close to her face and look very carefully at the impact of the colour on her own unique shading. It is a remarkable process and I believe it is highly accurate. The best colours (light or dark; cool or warm; bright or muted) have an almost magical effect on the person. Their eyes become the focal point of their face. Their skin looks much more even, less “tired” and more glowing. Dark shadows and small lines seem to vanish.
After an hour or so of trying each colour direction, and comparing each with the other, I determine that Char suits Muted shades best (elegant colours that are not too bright, with a grey component). Char also has cool shades in her colouring so looking for cooler muted colours is the way to go.
In this photograph I have put muted shades of taupe and teal near Char’s face and you can see how lovely she looks in them.When she wears muted shades they really bring out the shades in her eyes, hair, lips and skin. She looks much more integrated as a result.
In this photograph Char is wearing a muted shade of mauve and a couple of greyish “airforce” blues, with a little Cool blue as well. These two photographs imply she can work the layered look where a range of toning shades are worn together. It would look better on her than wearing lots of contrast. As Char has natural medium ash brown hair, with greeny-grey eyes she is complemented by the muted shades (below), and any shade that is slightly ‘greyed-off”.
When you wear colours that really work with your natural colouring you bring forward what is already there, so that your clothes (and make up) complement rather than compete with you. Your clothes and make up exaggerate that beauty but allow others to see the real you – not a packaged ideal or colour palette sold as “fashionable”, “designer”, “looks”.
Next week I will try to do a “virtual colour analysis” of someone I have never met in real life. This is an experiment and I have no idea if it will work, but I thought I would explain the process first, and let you be the judge of it.