Color Me Beautiful
This, ladies, is the sequel to “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall” in which we discussedhow-to’s and tips for having a good wardrobe. In this issue we want to talk about color—first identifying your skin tone and then going on to discover what colors will compliment you best. This, we pray, will help you sort out that professional wardrobe of yours more easily.
Choosing Your Colors
We all have our favorite dresses, skirts, and tops. Sure, the style and cut suit our figure and personality, but it’s more than that. The colors compliment our natural colorings and features.
Your natural skin color, hair and eye colors will typically fit in to a “color season,” either Autumn, Spring, Winter or Summer. Knowing your natural color season can help you select colors that will look best on you. Of course, what is most important is that you feel comfortable and confident wearing the colors you select; however, this guide may help you choose colors that help bring out your natural beauty.
Step 1: Determine your color season.
Your skin, hair, and eye colors influence which colors look best on you. To help identify your natural skin tones, look at the inside of your arm in natural daylight. Stand in front of a mirror, place a white piece of paper near your face to contrast your facial skin tone. “Warm” skin has a golden or yellow tone, while “cool” skin has red or blue tone. Using the following guides, decide which season best describes your skin tone.
Winter Skin Tone
Winter is a cool skin tone. People with winter skin tones have blue or rosy/pink skin tones. Winter skin tone can be pale and porcelain white, olive, or dark. Winters are usually brunettes with deep-colored eyes of various shades. Many Asians, Latin Americans, and African Americans are winters. Natural white blondes may also be winters.
Summer Skin Tone
Summer is also a cool skin tone. Like winter skin tones, Summers have blue or pink skin tones. Summer skin tones usually occur in natural blondes, and pale skin toned brunettes with pale eyes.
Tip: The difference between Summer and Winter is color intensity. Visualize a clear crisp winter’s day. The sky is an intense bright blue. Colors are clean and sharp. These are winter colors. Now visualize a humid warm summer’s day. The humidity creates a hazy effect making colors look soft and muted. These are summer colors.
Autumn Skin Tone
Autumn is a warm skin tone. Autumn complexions have golden skin tones like pale peach, golden beige, or golden brown. Many redheads and brunettes with golden brown eyes are Autumns. However, those with golden blonde or black hair coloring can also fall into this range.
Spring Skin Tone
Spring is also a warm skin tone. Springs have extremely light, ivory skin tones. They are usually natural golden blondes, auburn, or strawberry blonde redheads and often have freckles and rosy cheeks. Springs also have very clear, light blue or green colored eyes.
Tip: If you can’t decide whether you are an autumn or a spring, springs tend to have pale eyes while autumns tend to have dark eyes.
Step 2: Understand your seasonal color palette.
Now that you know your “season,” you can look for the color pallet that will best compliment your natural skin tone and eye and hair colors.
Best colors for Winters:
Winter colors are intense and high contrast and so is the winter color palette. It contains the primary colors and jewel tones such as ruby red, sapphire blue, and emerald green. Snow white and jet black look fabulous on a winter, especially worn together for high contrast. Winters should wear colors that are sharp, stark, and clear. White, black, navy blue, red, and shocking pink all go well with winter complexions. For lighter colors, wear icy tones such as cool blues, pinks, and yellows rather than pastels. Avoid subdued tones like beige, orange, and gold. They will make you look faded and ashen.
Best colors for Summers:
Summers have a low level of contrast between their hair and eye colors and skin tone. For you to look your best, choose soft neutrals and pastels, as well as muted colors with cool undertones. Powder blue, dusty pink (rose-brown), mauve, lavender, plum, and pale yellow are all great color choices for summers. Avoid intense, vivid hues because they will look harsh. Earth tones, black, and orange will also drown out your skin color.
Best colors for Autumns:
Autumns can wear both earthy and rich golden, spicy warm colors such as camel, beige, olive, orange, gold, and dark brown. You will also look great in a rich warm grey. Stay away from clear, bright colors and black and white, which will make you look tired and faded. Also steer clear of pastels and blue tones, which will look cold against your complexion and give you a pale appearance. Best colors for Springs:
Springs can wear warm colors like camel, peach, golden yellow, golden brown and aqua. They also look good in ivory, bright greens, true reds, clear blues, and coral. Avoid colors that are too dull and muted or too dark. Avoid black and white, which are also too contrasting.
Tip: These color palettes will give you an idea of what colors to look for, but don’t be afraid to experiment to find what looks best on you. Taking a friend with you—who’s not afraid to be honest—when shopping for new clothes is often a good idea.
One of the most common problems people have when dealing with their wardrobe is in not knowing what colors go together. Will this pink blouse work with this orange skirt? Can I pair my maroon Capri pants with a yellow blouse? (For the record, the answers to the above questions are “No” and “No”.) The concept of color matching is one that some people seem to have no ability to get a handle on, while others seem to have a sixth sense about it.However, the concept behind color coordination is simple: colors have natural associations that either strengthen or soften them. This is based on the color wheel, which represents the graphic way colors are formed. And once you understand the color wheel, combining and matching colors into pleasing pairings becomes easy. Well, maybe not “easy,” but much less mysterious. The Color Wheel:Every color can be broken down into combinations of two of the three primary colors, plus lightness and darkness, reflecting the intensity or faintness of the color. The three most basic colors—the primary colors—are red, blue, and yellow. It is from these primary colors that all other colors are formed. The addition of light to these colors give us “tints”; the addition of dark to these colors give us shades.
Two primary colors mixed give you a secondary color. And mixing a secondary color with its adjacent primary color gives you a tertiary color.
Learning at least the basic layout of the color wheel is important for matching colors because doing so allows you to understand the relationship of these colors. Once you understand the relationship of the colors, you will be better able to determine how well these colors will work when paired with one another.
Color Relationships:Now that you understand the color wheel and how colors are formed from the primary colors, you can understand the two basic relationships we talk about when we look at matching colors. Primary and secondary colors that sit side-by-side on the color wheel are considered to be Analogous (similar or matching) to one another. (Example: Blue’s close matches are green and violet, while orange’s matches are red and yellow.) These types of “side-by-side” colors tend to work well with one another and often have the effect of causing each color to appear subdued.Primary and secondary colors that are positioned opposite one another on the color wheel are considered to be Complimentary colors. Blue is complimentary to orange. Violet is complimentary to yellow. Red is complimentary to green. The reverse is also true for these pairings. Complimentary colors are named such because the colors they compliment appear to stand out and seem bolder than either color appears separately.“Side-by-side” colors on the color wheel make good color matches when they are matched according to the same level of light and dark.
Complimentary colors can be paired when the goal is to create a bold statement. However, it can be a very tricky business. Certain shades of Complimentary colors will not look good together, while some shades of Complimentary colors will look better together than they do on their own.Finally, lighter and darker shades of the same color usually look good when matched, forming what is called a “monochromatic effect.”
Tip: Another simple way to determine which colors suit you, is by putting all your clothes into color piles: reds, blues, pinks, greens—even blacks and whites (include cream and ecru). In good daylight hold each item up to your face and see how it looks. Does it make you seem alive and sparkling, or does it make you look pale and lifeless? You will now know which are your basic good blues, reds, greens, whites, etc. Learn how to combine these with complimentary colors.
Tip: Make sure to have a variety of neutral-colored items of clothing that you can mix and match with bright-colored garments.
Although there aren’t strict rules about who can wear which colors, you should know which colors are most flattering on you. It’s worth investing a little time to find this out. If you need help, ask a friend. Or invite a girlfriend over and make a rest day of it. Put on some music, pull out those clothes and have fun figuring out what you look best in.
The basic rules for combining colors and multicolor patterns are simple. The only thing to remember is when you have a pattern containing multiple colors you should only try to match one color in the pattern. If the pattern contains red, yellow, and orange, then select one of those colors and match it with a shade of the same color. Sometimes, the multicolored pattern will have a color more strongly represented, and in that case, the strongest color in the pattern should be the one used for matching.You should never use multiple patterns together. There are current schools of thought regarding fashion or fads that say it’s okay to combine different types of stripe, or plaids with stripes or patterns. However, it is rare to see an example of this that is appealing.