How to choose colours that suit you!

Most people have heard fashion stylists talking about 'colour analysis', and in fact it's one of the services I offer. But what does it really mean and are there any hard and fast rules to choosing the right colours for you?

The short answer is 'No'. You can wear whatever colours you like and I encourage anyone, my paying styling clients included, to wear the colours they love and are drawn to - in fact that's one of my rules! You should wear clothes and colours that you LOVE because it generally stands to reason that if you love what you're wearing, you'll feel great and that automatically makes you feel and appear more confident and self-assured.

So what exactly is colour analysis? Well, it goes back a long way, but basically it's finding the colours that suit your skin tone the best, that bring out it's best, that make you look healthy, well, and at your most vibrant. Not only that, but it's about choosing colours of clothing that work together well to enhance an entire outfit. Ever heard of 'Red and green should never be seen'? (you can throw that rule out of the window as far as I'm concerned - green looks amazing on many read-heads and I think they can work really well together as a colour combination).

Let's look at the colour wheel:


The colour wheel is a really easy way of explaining how to choose colours that complement each other - so if you take blue, then a complementary colour would be the direct opposite such as orange/yellow - or harmonising colours which are those on either side of the colour - so blue harmonises would be lighter blues to greens, purples to pinks.

The colour wheel is also a useful tool for seasonal edits - colours such as orange might make you think of summer, yellows and greens Spring time, with deeper oranges and reds in Autumn and blues and cooler tones for winter. Now again there's no hard and fast rules to this, but you can probably start to recognise that you winter and summer wardrobes look quite different in colour and tone and that's just because we tend to go with what we are naturally drawn to - it's instinctive.

Skin tone is also something we look at during colour analysis - do you know yours? You might be very obviously dark, olive or fair but what's your tone? Do you have a peachy complex, or yellow undertones? Here's how to find out:

Stand near a window - or somewhere with plenty of natural daylight - turn your arm over. If you have blue tinted veins and a pink or rosy undertone then you are cool. If you have green tinted veins and a golden/apricot tone then you're warm.

The problem with this is that our skin changes throughout the year, so you could be cool in winter and then warm in summer, and this means you might need to change your wardrobe to complement your skin tone for that season.

So what colours should you be wearing?

Warm shades have a yellow undertone - shades of brown, tan, green, teal, gold, burnt-orange and warm red. If you suit cooler colours, stock up on pinks, purples, lilacs, grey, burgundy, blacks and blues.

Buying items in the tones that really suit you ultimately make it easy to match other items in your wardrobe because you'll be automatically buying in similar tones that work on you and together meaning less wasted clothes that you never wear or have nothing to go with!

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