When I was about 16-17 my Mum took me to have my colours done by Color Me Beautiful. She’d had them done, loved the results and got my sister and I booked in. Based on the principle of seasonal colours matching your skin tone, hair colour etc, Summer and Winter are cool tones, Spring and Autumn warm tones.
My Mum’s one flamboyant lady, both in personality and style. She loves monochrome outfits, or if she’s wearing a patterned skirt her top has to pick out a colour from within it. She knows instantly what suits her. She can pick out complementary, analogous and triadic colours at ease. She used to make a lot of her clothes (and mine and my sisters) but now she says it’s not cost effective compared to buying in the shops. She still knits jumpers, cardigans, makes shopper bags, cushion covers, curtains, you name it she can make it. Her Mum was a dressmaker and she learnt from her. Her colour palette matches her perfectly, Autumn Winter filled with earthy tones, vibrant purples, reds, ambers, greens, browns, pinks that she doesn’t shy away from. The only colour she doesn’t like much is blue.
While my Mum has olive skin, me, my brother and sister got my Dad’s pale skin. My mum can tan in an instant, we burn unless slathered in SPF 50 or me at least. I got my Dad’s Dad’s, my Grandpa’s Mum’s (my great grandma) red hair in strawberry blonde. Both my parents have hazel eyes, even though blue eyes run in both sides of the family. They’ve got greener as I’ve got older (I swear being vegan or a near raw vegan has made them appear greener. Or I just want to see green eyes in the mirror.). This makes finding my skin tone tricky. My veins are blue which denotes a cool undertone while my eyes and hair colour are warm so I stick with neutral colours. My colours were Spring Autumn, a mix of autumnal earthy tones and vibrant corals, cream and gold tones.
Yes, I still have the colour swatches!
My Dad’s Mum, my Grandma always went for classics in beige, cream, black, navy, camel, very rarely did she wear colour. Colour she reserved for red nails and lips. She was always immaculately together. Her hair beached blonde, set in rollers every morning with later not a hair out of place and coats to die for. Even her house clothes were put together! When it comes to my sisters style and mine, my sister is somewhere in-between my Mum and Grandma while I lean towards my Grandma yet not as chic (no skirts as I don’t own one) creams, blue and white stripes, lights pinks. Things which go together with nearly everything. It hasn’t always been like this. For years I wore grey until a few years ago I decided I’d had enough of wearing it. It made me feel blah. Like days of overcast skies.
I’m a great believer in colour therapy and psychology. Some colours make us feel alive, happy, full of energy, while others make us irritable, angry, depressed. Some make us calm, stimulate appetite, others leave us drained. There’s a reason why the 70’s bathroom icky green trend kicked off. An employer wanted a colour that wouldn’t inspire employees to spend long on bathroom breaks*. No idea how the colour got popular outside of work places. Blue’s trustworthy, calming, a communicative colour hence why many social media logos incorporate blue yet it’s a productivity colour, which is why many gyms and fitness equipment’s blue. Many of the colours Colour Me Beautiful noted suited me are ambers, greens, browns, reds. Colours that when I put on make me feel out of place, self conscious, feel like drawing attention to myself, grumpy, skin oily, uncomfortable, angry, irritable, sometimes start of a headache or too cliche with my hair colour. I can’t wait to take them off.
My ‘colours’ swatches that aren’t easy on my eye.
I read recently that warm colours with red, orange or yellow undertones are advancing colours. Almost like they want the attention as they appear to be projected towards you. On the flip side cool colours which have a green, blue or violet undertone are know as receding colours and give a hollowed effect. Wanting less attention yet I’m drawn to them more.
My ‘colours’ which are easy to my eye!
Maybe as I’m not as flamboyant as my Mum as I don’t like the attention, I shy away from those colours. My hair colour more than makes up for attention in a country where brunette is the norm, and that I’m a Calamity Jane out is enough attention for me, plus colour makes me scream British tourist. I only started wearing creams and whites a few years ago after being inspired by Katrina from Tone It Up and Chriselle Lim. They looked vibrant and happy in lighter colours so I decided to try them out. As soon as I did I noticed a difference is in how I felt. Lighter, happier, skin happier, energised. It took a while to switch gradually shopping and now I find I’m not drawn to greys, burgundies, black or dark colours anymore. Ironically I wear more black tops in the summer. It helps my tan pop. Winter it’s reserved only for black leggings I live in more or less 24/7 until shorts season. Even more ironic my gym wear is patterned, usually lots of vibrant blues, wild print leggings and a black top. The biggest change I noticed wasn’t in my colour choice of clothes. Just like it took time to be gradually drawn to lighter coloured clothes, the same for the apartment. I found I didn’t want to be surrounded by dark colours. A mix of white, gold and colour pops (you’ve guessed pinks, blues and a little yellow). I find myself gravitating to whites and golds all the time now.
The after the most recent wardrobe sort out.
I never realised how much of a conscious effect I’d made not to wear dark colours until a few weeks ago. Aside from navy coats and black summer tops I rarely wear many dark colours. I purchased a few months ago a gorgeous snuggly winter leopard print scarf. I used to wear leopard prints scarfs all the time however this one I’ve only worn it once as I didn’t like how it made me feel. The only way to describe it is the colours made me feel slightly irritable and dehydrated (not kidding they did!). It’s a pity as it’s great scarf. Maybe with a lighter coloured coat or jacket it’ll work. Aside from gym wear and during the summer I prefer dark colours on the bottom half. Near my face, no. My friend the other day tried on an amazing red coat that it suited her perfectly. One I’d never wear in a million years. She looked fantastic in it! No way could I pull it off. The cut was perfect for her. On me it would have looked like a lumpy red grumpy potato sack.
I recently sorted out my wardrobe again the KonMari Method style, by if it gives you joy keep it, if it doesn’t, out. All that was left was black, white, cream, blue, white and blue stripes and a little pink. After an Alice in Wonderland trip down YouTube watching Vogue and Le French style it needs brightening up. Summer months I’m a little more bohemian yet still classic, I’ve learnt after reading an Ali Larter interview years ago if you wear the same colours go for texture and detail within that colour. I wear a little more colour without screaming tourist. I love light pink, but I’m not liking the dusty pink trend at the moment. Honestly it looks like a washed out dishcloth. Same goes for beige (and that it does nada for me). So my mission is to invest in some embellished cardi/jackets inspired by Aimee from Song to Style, statement yet chic pieces inspired by Chriselle Lim, be a little boho yet sporty like Katrina from Tone It Up. Embrace a little colour within pink and golds, not to be so shy. You can’t hide behind colour. Maybe I am my Mum’s daughter. However I’m still keeping my Grandma’s chic flair and you can keep the floral prints and skirts.
The scarf that inspired this post
How does colour affect you? What colours fill you full of energy and positivity?
*I know I’ve read somewhere that’s why the bathrooms were that icky colour, but can’t find the link.