Sunday, 5 April 2015

Colour - the third step in 7 Steps to Style - part 1

This is a pictureless way overdue post; it has been in draft for many weeks. 

Colour has always been important to me. I recognised early in my life that there were some colours that I shouldn't wear. Not always for the most obvious reasons. One of these was orange during the Orange Walk (orange and turquoise were the seasons colours) ;  another was green for similar reasons - at that time,  when I was young,  there was a lot of  bigotry dressed up as football support; one team was green and white and Roman Catholic, the other was blue and Protestant. I was challenged on many occasions (what team do you support? - 'None' wasn't an acceptable answer) and attacked on one. I detest bigotry.

Another was the mortification of being so tall that I was made a daffodil in the school play. Green and yellow. Not my colours. Yet in my late teens, I had a yellow unlined, thin cotton blazer that I loved. A better shade of yellow! 

I wore whites for tennis and  badminton but recognised that they didn't suit me; it didn't really matter much,  though, as this was the required kit.  Black drained me. I still disliked and avoided green. All greens. 

When I got married, as I have posted in an earlier blog post,  I wore ivory as I didn't suit white. I don't need to say more here. 

35 years ago,  I had my colours done by Colour Me Beautiful in a group activity. This was great as there was feedback from everyone in the group. My 'best colour' (a beautiful blue) was recognised by everyone. There was no doubt I was a 'summer' - in those days there was no subdivision. I was given a fabric swatch of colours; there was even a green that was good for me. The trouble is, I was stuck with what the shops actually sold. One year the 'in colour' was lime green - so not me. I didn't dressmake in those days, although there were far more fabric shops. I'm not sure how fashion affected the availability of colours in fabrics in those days, but assume I would have had a greater choice. I've lost the fabric swatch somewhere in my many moves over the years. 

Fortunately, work involved a uniform,  of sorts. In the first few years,  a white coat,  then in later years business type suits with blouses. The suits were never lime green! I favoured navy.

Towards the end of my career,  I became more casual.  I had achieved everything I wanted to and no longer needed to impress on the basis of a suit which didn't work for my normal work. There was an increasing split between the clinical side (suit far too formal to communicate appropriately with young people - what message is it giving? - trousers and top ideal; jeans would have been okay if I'd been younger but young people hate their elders trying to be trendy if it's not their usual behaviour) and the management side (suit expected). I decided to move back from the management side - I'd done my stint.

My trousers were usually black or navy. Not exciting but a good basis for tops of various colours and styles. Black really isn't my colour but it's so universal. It's okay keeping it away from my face.

Cool v Warm
So far, using colour swatches from 7 Steps to Style, I have confirmed that I lie on the cool side rather than the warm side of the spectrum. I tend to suit silver and white gold jewellery rather than yellow gold, which isn't surprising when my hair is silver grey. My reds are blue reds rather than orange reds. Blues are pretty good. Blue allows green to be worn, though I don't like it - yellow greens are awful on me. Black, yellow and orange are virtual no-nos.

Bright v muted

I suit muted, smoky or soft rather than bright colours. That is, colours with more grey in them. This is common with age. The brighter colours that I loved may not be the best suited to me as I age. My makeup colours will also be softer. I don't dye my hair but if I did I'd need to be careful about the shade.

Light v Dark
The third component is light v dark. I am light. That is I suit lighter rather than darker shades, on the whole. My favourite colours are darker, though, sosome adjustment needed here. 

Contrast value
I have medium value contrast. This is because my eyes are quite dark and my hair fair.

All these factors need to be taken into account when considering the best colour, tone and shade to wear.

Sublime v Serene 
I was sent two sets of colours to test.  Sublime v Serene.  Each of these sets had a subset of neutrals and a subset of colours. I saw both colours and neutrals in both of the sets that would suit me. I eventually managed to post photos of me holding the cards,  to help decide,  via the Facebook forum,  which of these sets of colours was more appropriate for me.

I am a serene person! 

Interestingly,  the cards had some greens and I was able to identify virtually matching shades in my wardrobe - I found a long sleeved tee shirt,  a jumper and a short sleeved T-shirt.

Signature Colours Identification overdue! 
I am way overdue to post photos to further refine my best colours. Unfortunately, I've been unwell and my skin has been looking rather green and sickly! I'm beginning to feel better now,  and the weather has picked up, so I hope I will manage to do this next step soon, once I'm back home. I'm helping my visually impaired mother with her paperwork; she is moving house to a more appropriate one level flat. 

I will take my best colours into account when making new clothes. Anything I make will have to work with multiple garments and there will have to be a clear need. One of the first things I want to make is a well fitting pair of slim trousers. I think grey is my black. Grey goes nicely with a lot of colours.
I think burgundy (or marsala?, Pantone colour of the year) is likely to be a suitable neutral along with grey and navy. I have lovely pieces of wool in burgundy, grey, navy - and black.

But that's me jumping ahead again! I reckon I need to post this post as part 1 because it's been sitting in draft form for weeks! Then I'll post part 2 when my signature colours are identified,  with the help of the Facebook group and of course Imogen. 

I feel I can't post pictures on my blog on this topic as I'm not sure about copyright etc. Am I allowed to post a Pantone colour?  I'm not sure about Imogen's swatches. Does purchase of these mean that I can? I assume not. 


  1. Goodness me that was a long and almost 'tortured' post....had no idea there was so much to it....never had my colours done as I just know what I suit (sounds awfully self-confident but not meant to be) - and always the softer colours with my grey hair and grey/blue eyes......the nuisance is that I LOVE brights but wear them mainly in summer to satisfy my artistic side LOL!!
    Hope you'll be feeling more like yourself soon - today was a special day which I spent painting walls so hope it was equally good in Northumberland.

    1. Gosh, sorry about it being tortured! Not intended. Twas nice having family visit; I'm in Scotland now though, helping my mother. Looking forward to life getting back to some semblance of normality next week! I'm feeling a lot better.Thanks

  2. I do colour analysis and I would agree, from looking at photographs of you (not the most accurate way to do an analysis) that you will suit a cool palette (colours with a blue undertone - stay away from warm colours - those with a yellow undertone.) Most companies are fine with you using their images on non-commercial blogs.

    1. Thank you for your comment. I agree that photographs are not the most accurate way to do an analysis but to some extent that depends on the colour software, I suppose, though also with the quality of the photography and the light etc. I'm happy that I'm a cool person! No problems with that - although I love red, it's a blue red etc. I do have black in my wardrobe simply because it's so prevalent. I'll ask about using images. I was reluctant to do so since I'm not always positive about the process, though admittedly not as negative as I could have been! . I agree with your analysis of Patrick Grant, btw.


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