Saturday, 18 January 2014

Wardrobe re-vamp and colour analysis

When we were renovating our bedroom earlier this year, I decided it was time to undertake a ruthless clear out of my wardrobe and get rid of the items that I either didn't like anymore or simply didn't wear. 

When I first embarked on the task I thought it would be pretty straightforward, however, once I started the whole process became a lot harder and more painful than I had originally thought it would be. 

Certain items I easily strew aside without a second thought but other items I deliberated over for hours, putting in the recycling bag and then taking back out of the recycling bag before putting them back in. Eventually I had to lay the hard line on myself and adopt the practise that if I hadn't worn an item for an entire season then I should get rid of it. After all, the whole reason for the clear out was to make room for new season must-have items and to give me an excuse to go shopping!

The whole process was actually very therapeutic and led me to re-discover pieces that I had completely forgotten about as well as face the realisation that I was being completely delusional about other items and they really had to go.  I came across many faux-pas purchases that I had bought on a whim but didn't really like and had never actually worn. These items were easy to discard, whether as others, like my faithful little going out dresses were more difficult to part with. However, when I made myself accept that fact that I was now in my thirties and no longer going out on a saturday night adorning a little sparkly number, they were easier to cast aside. :( 

Anyway, while undertaking my extensive wardrobe clear out I noticed that there was a theme running through many of the items that I was happily putting to one side, and that was colour. I realised that a number of the items that remained at the back of my closet on a regular basis were all a similar shade of grey or cream, and there was an obvious reason for this. These items simply did not work with my natural skin tone or hair colour and this therefore impacted on the way I felt when I wore them. Colours that don't compliment or enhance your natural skin tone, hair colour or eyes can make you feel negative about your appearance, whereas shades and tones that highlight or enrich your natural colourings made a positive effect on your mood. 

It was a weird realisation, because it made me really evaluate the clothes that I had hanging up in my wardrobe and assess the colours that not only made me feel good but I regularly received complements when wearing.  

I was never really a believer in the whole colours concept but I am a total addict of it now. Its amazing how different tones of the same colour can impact not only the way you feel about yourself but also highlight and enhance your natural skin tone and hair and make you stand out from the crowd.

As an olive skinned, brunette I have realised that strong vibrant shades of red, blue and yellow complement and enhance my natural colourings. My wardrobe is now overflowing with pillar box red, coral pink, mustard yellow, royal blue and jade green.  The overhaul process was painful and I still hung on to a few items which I simply couldn't part with for one reason or another but I consistently reach for those garments in my wardrobe that make me feel good when I put them on.  

I have had no official training in colours, but I would definitely recommend reading the top tips below on colour analysis as it can change your life...well wardrobe anyway! 

Colour analysis is based on the findings of Swiss expressionist painter Johannes Itten (1888-1967). He noticed that when his students painted identical scenes, some would use 'warm' colours, while others would opt for 'cool' ones. 

Colour analysis: Work out whether warm or cool shades suit your complexion to enhance your appearance

In 1947 he researched this further and discovered that those students using mostly warm colours for their paintings had gold-toned skin with blonde hair and dark, warm-coloured eyes.

However, the students who used cool colours had a blue-pink tone to their skin, ash hair and cool-coloured eyes. Instinctively, the students were naturally drawn to their individual colour tone.

Colour analysis: Work out whether warm or cool shades suit your complexion to enhance your appearance


Warm colours are those with a yellow undertone. 
Think of walking in the park on a beautiful sunny autumnal day - rich shades of gold, orange-brown, yellowish-green (khaki), burnt red, camel and beige. Celebrities with a warm skin tone include Dannii Minogue, Anne Robinson, Jessica Biel, Sarah Ferguson and Chris Evans. 

Cool colours are those that have a blue undertone. 
Imagine a crisp and stark winter's day with pure white snow, enhanced by crimson sky, icy shades of grey, blue, pink, fuchsia, purple, burgundy, slate-grey, black and white. 
Celebrities with a cool skin tone include Naomi Campbell, Anne Hathaway, Liz Hurley and Simon Cowell. 


You can establish if you have a warm or cool skin tone by following this simplified colour analysis procedure. 
You will need: Good natural lighting, a large mirror, a hairband to tie your hair away from your face, a white shirt or sheet and a cream shirt (matt fabric only). 
Ensure your hair is off your face, your neck and decolletage should be free of clothing and jewellery, and remove all traces of make-up. 
Look in the mirror and hold the white fabric under your chin - then repeat with the cream fabric. Look at the clarity of your eyes and see if you can see them light up. 
If you are warm, the cream fabric should give you a warm glow, while the white will make you look drawn. If you are cool, the white fabric should give you a glow, while the cream colour will make you look drawn. 


If you have warm colouring, it is likely that you will have one of the following hair, eye colour and skin tone combinations: 

  • Your natural hair colour is coppery-brown, chestnut, charcoalbrown, dark golden blonde, red, light or dark auburn 

  • Your eye colour is brown, hazel, light green or light blue (perhaps with yellow flecks) 
  • Your complexion is yellow-beige, golden-brown, peach or ivory. You may also have freckles and perhaps tan easily. 


If you have cool colouring, it is likely that you will have one of the following hair, eye and skin tone combinations: 

  • Your natural hair colouring is black, dark brown, medium brunette, ash blonde, silver grey, salt and- pepper or white,

  • Your eye colour is dark brown, dark green, dark hazel or dark blue. 
  • Your complexion is black, olive, fair, rosy or pale. If you have white skin, it very often burns in the sun. 


Now that you have established if you should wear warm or cool colours, the first thing you will notice is how obvious this has all become. 
Warm shades are predominantly colours with 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. 
Every piece of clothing you own in the right tone for you will suddenly become your favourite. Shopping will be made easy - a process of elimination, where you are looking only for the colours that suit you, rather than everything that the store has to offer.
Once you start following the 'buy the right colour' rules, you will discover that your clothes will start to coordinate with each other. You will also be able to mix and match so much more easily because everything will be in the same tone.


It is worth noting that warm coloured garments are generally adorned with buttons and metal trims in gold colouring. 

Cooler coloured garments (especially blacks and greys) mostly have silver trims. 
This means they will no longer clash with the jewellery you are wearing as you will find that warm skins suit gold jewellery, while cool skins look best in silver. This works right down to handbags, shoes and boots. 


Warm and cool colour rules also apply to make-up. Warm skins should be enhanced by foundation with a yellow base, and cheeks/lips work best in brown, coral or peach. 
With cool skin, opt for foundation with a pink base and cheeks/lips look best in pinks, plums and cool reds.

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