Color Basics and Your Image

Planning a Fall Wardrobe Update? Color is everywhere, and having a general understanding of color types and categories can be very helpful when you're planning your new season's acquisitions. It's counter-productive to try and re-establish a great 'working' wardrobe every season, so using these principles will help you with your planning and acquisition process. There's no need to re-invent the wardrobe wheel every year - though if you've accomplished a significant weight loss or body reshaping, you will need to consider new clothing shapes - a topic I'll cover in an upcoming post. For now, let's cover some Color Basics and help you get organized for the upcoming Fall season:

Planning a Fall Wardrobe Update? Color is everywhere, and having a general understanding of color types and categories can be very helpful when you’re planning your new season’s acquisitions. It’s counter-productive to try and re-establish a great ‘working’ wardrobe every season, so using these principles will help you with your planning and acquisition process.

There’s no need to re-invent the wardrobe wheel every year – though if you’ve accomplished a significant weight loss or body reshaping, you will need to consider new clothing shapes – a topic I’ll cover in an upcoming post.

For now, let’s cover some Color Basics and help you get organized for the upcoming Fall season:

Dark colors are more credible, authoritative, and assertive. What’s considered a ‘dark’ color? Well, black, navy and brown come to mind immediately, but purple, green and burgundy are also ‘dark’ colors. They can form the base of a great wardrobe – and a versatile one. One of my favorite color combinations is black, white and red – mixing and matching this combination is great for a woman with high-contrast coloring.

High contrast coloring means that you have a significant difference in the color of your hair, skin and eyes. If you color-enhance your hair, especially if you change the color drastically, you will change your contrast level. An example of high-contrast coloring is the Disney character Snow White. She has very dark hair, very fair skin, and dark eyes. Songstress Alicia Keys has a similar contrast level – her skin is relatively light compared to her dark hair and eyes. Angelina Jolie is another high-contrast woman – again, dark hair and eyes and fair skin put her into this category.

A woman with Low contrast coloring has hair, eyes and skin that are similar in tone. Model Alex Wek has dark chocolate skin, dark eyes and hair, so she is considered low-contrast. Jennifer Aniston is more low-contrast, depending on how she colors / highlights her hair. The difference between her skin, hair and eyes is less pronounced.

Women with high-contrast coloring will wear color differently than women with lower-contrast coloring. The red, black and white combination I mentioned above will flatter a high-contrast women more than a low-contrast woman.

Lighter, softer colors are more approachable, gentler and more feminine. Think of the typical colors of spring – light yellows, blues and greens, pink, peach and ivory. All of these colors can be incorporated into your wardrobe plan, and you’ll use them in varying ways. They are great basic colors, but beware – with high-contrast coloring, they may not create enough impact.

Muted or grayed colors are more controlled, conservative and imply a more introverted quality. Now we start to see how color choices can imply personality qualities as well. Women working in conservative industries like Law, Banking and Insurance would do well to incorporate these kinds of colors if they flatter your personal coloring and your personality.

Brighter, vivid colors are more youthful, creative and imply increased levels of energy, in addition to standing out in a crowd. These are not colors for the shy women among us – they draw more attention than shy or more reserved women would be comfortable with. The more outgoing women, those who work in creative industries, and entrepreneurs are more likely to be comfortable with these colors, especially when considering personality traits along with personal coloring.

Warm colors are those which have a yellow or golden-toned base. Thnk about all the photos we’ve seen of ‘California Girls’ – they have golden skin, warm colored hair, and carry off colors like Gold, Rust, Turquoise, Tomato Red, New Leaf Green, and Warm Ivory beautifully. The warm tones in their skin and hair harmonize with the warmth of the colors and form a beautiful picture.

Cool colors are those with a blue-toned base – consider both the jewel tones – Sapphire, Ruby, Ebony – as well as some lighter colors like Ice Blue, Lemon Yellow, Pure White, and Lavender. These colors do not have the same yellow or golden cast to them, and will not do justice to a warm-toned complexion.

Color speaks volumes about us before we ever open our mouths to speak, and knowing the basics about color and how it can affect your image will empower you to use color in your favor to create the impression and the image you want, while also helping you to break the rules if you so desire.