By Helen Venables, MD of House of Colour
21st March 2020 is International Colour Day which celebrates the positive and significant impact colour has on people’s lives around the world. Colour is believed to be one of the most important visual experiences to humans and studies show it improves our learning, memory and performance and can affect our mood and decision making. The power of colour is clear across marketing, advertising, sport, in many areas of business and of course is vital in fashion, but there are many colour myths that need debunking.
DEBUNKING COLOUR MYTHS
- Most of us suit most colours – We all have a basic skin pigment which are defined by the unique combination of depth, hue and tone; meaning we either suit warm or cool tones, and bright or soft muted tones, and all the colours that fit within those four colour palettes. This means there is a shade of most colours for everyone but wearing the wrong shade can look really bad.
- Everyone can wear black and we should all have a little black dress in our wardrobe right? Wrong! Only roughly one in four of us can wear black (Winters) and for the rest of us black is draining and makes us look older. It is not necessarily slimming either. Whilst black absorbs light so less detail is detected by the eye, what actually makes us look slimmer is wearing colours that suit our skin tone close to our face, because this draws the eye up to a face which looks radiant and healthy, so the focus is there and not on any wobbly bits.
- Black and blue never do. As we already know only Winters suit black and they also look fabulous in a number of blues including royal, navy and electric blues. So if you are a Winter, black and blue will do! All the other seasons have blues that suit them. Just not black sadly.
- Fashion faux pas red and pink? Another much maligned colour combo is red and pink which are tricky to wear together because they clash. Add a third colour to break it up a little. Unexpected colour combinations can really work and be fun.
- Blue and green should never be seen – shades of aquamarine and tropical turquoise should definitely be seen and there is some form of these for everyone. They are always a popular colour in the summer time. Winters also look amazing in strong emeralds and navy.
- Red suits everyone. Well that is nearly true, primary red suits every skin tone because it is neither blue nor yellow, but we all have other reds we can wear depending on whether we suit cool or warm, bright or soft reds. Summer palettes are radiant in cherry, autumns look gorgeous in rust or brick reds, winters shine in scarlet and carmine, and springs glow in geranium and poppy red.
- Neutrals are boring and only come in white, grey and cream. Firstly everyone has wow neutrals and they are an important part of our wardrobe. Autumn colour palettes suit rich, warm earthy colours such as dark brown, tan, dark olive and marine navy, whilst Springs suit warm, clear colour choices like chocolate, dove grey, bright navy, honey and cream. Winters look gorgeous in deep, cool colours such as silver, charcoal, indigo, black, mole and stone. Summers suit cool, subtle neutrals such as pink beige, mushroom, rose brown, soft navy and burgundy. Neutral has never been less neutral.
OTHER TOP COLOUR TIPS
- Wow colours are hues that we look incredible in, but they often look best with some framing. For example teaming red with a neutral from your season’s palette such as grey, navy, black, cream, beige, tan or white looks effortlessly stylish, but remember you need the right red with the right neutrals that suit you!
- Know what whites suit your skin tone. For example Springs suit creams, Autumns should choose oyster, Summers should opt for a soft white and Winters look gorgeous in pure white.
- The bright colours of Winter and Spring colour palettes do well to be contrasted within the palette, whilst autumn and summer colours are better blended with one another such as chestnut with rust for Autumns and plum and amethyst for Summer palettes.
- When choosing what metals suit you, warm golds suit Autumns and Springs, whilst cool silvers look incredible on cool toned Summers and Winters. It is a good idea to find out what metal colour really suits you before you choose engagement and wedding rings as many of our clients later found out! Rose gold is a cool version of gold best for certain skin tones such as brown Summers.
- Your season colour palette won’t change as you age, but your natural skin colours and tone may slightly fade or change, meaning your wow colours might shift within your season and you may need to add more colour. Human brains see colour as being youthful.
- When dying your hair know whether your suit warm or cool tones. As stylists we cover the hair of our clients whilst doing a colour analysis to make sure that dyed hair colour doesn’t distract and to ensure an accurate result. Once you know what season you are, you will know what hair tones suit you too.
HOW COLOUR ANALYSIS WORKS
The process consists of the client wearing a white cloak, facing the mirror in natural daylight with their hair tied back to prevent any colour distractions. The stylists use a selection of either yellow or blue based, muted or bright coloured fabric drapes to test what colours suits each client. The unique combination of depth, hue and tone of colour are assessed. Colours are compared with the pigments that sit underneath our skin to determine which colours of clothing and accessories makes us look healthy, radiant and lift the face, and which ones are more unflattering and look draining and are to be avoided. Eye colour is also used as part of the assessment process.