Color – when it comes to fashion, this one word strikes terror into the heart of millions of women.
Women who, in the Western world at least, have been ingrained with the fash-pack mantra that the only truly chic shade is black. And even if black doesn’t suit you, at least it’s safe and slimming.
However, when the season changes from winter to spring, even those who are committed to neutrals flirt with the idea of introducing some color into their wardrobe. Well, for a brief time, at least!
One of the questions I get asked most frequently is – how do I know which colors suit me?
There are different theories about colors, and while some stylists specialize in color analysis and focus on finding your perfect palette, others ignore it completely. Personally, I think that the truth is somewhere in the middle.
Regardless of your hair, skin and eye color, you’ll find certain colors more flattering than others. Even within your “ideal” color palette, there will be colors that work better than others. As with everything else in fashion (and in life!), there isn’t a “one size fits all” formula that can be applied to everyone.
On the internet, you can find plenty of articles, quizzes, and blogs which claim to help you find the best colors for you. However, I don’t recommend using them, as you’re likely to be disappointed with the results. If you’re really serious about making the most of your wardrobe, get in touch with a professional because self-analysis will rarely work perfectly. Discovering your true color palette requires practice and experience, and even if I shared with you my “secrets”, they wouldn't really make much sense without a thorough understanding of colors.
So instead, I’m going to give you some practical tips that - without even knowing your seasonal color family - can give you some ideas of what will work for you, and what won’t.
Color Me Gorgeous
First of all, it’s important to know that every color on the color wheel has a shade that could work for you based on its hue. Therefore, the most important thing to understand is what type of colors work best for you usually. The easiest and most fun way to start is to grab a friend and hit the stores.
Pick up some clothes (ideally tops or dresses - anything that’s next to your face) in all the colors of the rainbow. Start off with comparing pink and orange, and see which looks more flattering. Try not to be influenced by which colors you like, because they aren't always the ones that suit you the best.
Then move on to white vs cream and silver vs gold. By the time you try these colors, you’ll have noticed a pattern going on. If the colors that have yellow in them (such as orange, cream or gold) look more flattering, you are likely to look best in warm colors (such as muted or soft yellows, greens, oranges). While if the colors without any yellow in them (such as pink, white or silver) looked better, you are likely to suit more cool colors (such as brighter blues and reds).
If you haven’t found any of those basics flattering for you, move on to more pastel shades. If there’s very little contrast between your skin, hair and eye color, it’s possible that you’ll find it easier to work with pastels. So, pick up some softer hues and see how they look on you.
Compare baby pink with peach, and mint green with lime. The same rules from above apply here - if you find the baby pink or mint more flattering, you are on the “cool” side of the hues, while if peach and lime look great, you are on the “warm” side of the colors seasons.
There are millions of shades and hues of both warm and cool colors, but once you get a grasp of which of the two categories work best for you, you’ll have a solid foundation for choosing the right colors.
Every single color on the color wheel has a hue that could potentially work for you; therefore, when you choose a color that has the right undertone (yellow for warm colors and red for cool colors), it will most likely be okay.
Once you have an understanding whether warm vs cool and bright vs soft colors work best for you, you can start playing around with current trends.
Luckily, at the moment, there is a huge range of colors that are trending.
Soft ice-cream hues, such as pastel yellows, pinks, blues, and violets are in style and these work especially well for those in the “cool pastel” category. Conversely, some of the pale greens and peachy pinks on the catwalks and in the shops will suit those with soft warm coloring.
The good news is that bold bright colors are as fashionable this year as soft pastels. Flashy pinks, purples, and oranges, as well as strong bright blues and greens, were all over the runways and will continue to thrive. Not to mention the Pantone color of the year - ultraviolet! So, if you found that bright cool colors looked nicer on you, this is your playground! Oranges and yellow will look better with warmer complexions, while all the pinks, purples and blues will be amazing on cooler coloring.
Before buying into new colors trends (especially extreme ones), make sure that you’ve learned which hues work best for you. Unflattering colors can make you look lifeless, pale and washed out, while flattering colors will make you look, healthier, younger and more beautiful, even without any makeup!
To help you stay focused when it comes to finding your personal color palette, I’ve created a FREE download - The Chic Sheet - which will make it easier for you to tap into your authentic style and ensure that you look and feel beautiful inside and outside every single day.
Veronika Nemeth is the Founder and Creative Director of The Stylish Female Society. She is a seasoned Image Consultant, Personal Branding Expert and Transformational (Life)Style Coach helping heart-centered women to find their soul-aligned style and create a magnetic presence online & offline by uncovering their true essence and revealing their inner beauty through their style.
Her mission is to inspire women to step into their power, live their own truth and shine their authentic light through being the best version of them.