Inject some colour in your wardrobe

Everyone is born with a certain inclination towards colour. By the time we grow up we may have lost some of that personal colour sense.

We buy shades that are often less than flattering and our wardrobes are full of expensive mistakes. If this sounds like you, be consoled. Most of us are guilty of the same offence.

If you feel your natural beauty is not emerging or you always seem to look dull and jaded maybe you have yet to discover the real magic of colour.

Perhaps you never thought much about it or the effect it has on your appearance. When dressed in the wrong colours, you can, in effect disappear. They can make you look washed out or they can overpower you with your clothes appearing to wear you, not the reverse.

Wearing the perfect colours can revitalise your look and take years off your appearance. Your eyes are brighter and your skin glows. The key is to discover which colours suit you best. Armed with this knowledge will help simplify and improve your fashion choices.

Colour analysts use the seasons of the year to describe the colours that look best on people. Their analysis is based on one’s colouring - skintone, eye and hair colour and determines if you look best in a spring, summer, autumn or winter palette.

Clear, fresh colours

To define your own colouring look at yourself in the mirror without make-up. How would you describe your colouring?

Spring people blossom in clear, fresh colours with warm yellow undertones. Anything too dark or dusty will be boring on them. If you like aqua, coral, clear blues or camel then you might be a spring person.

Summer people glow in soft pastel hues of the sea and sky with their cool, blue undertones. If you have blue or green eyes and turn a soft pink when you blush then you might belong to this category. Avoid dark, draining colours, such as black and charcoal, opting instead for soft pastels, such as apricot, rose pink, sky blue or buff when you need to offset strong colours, such as navy. Salmon pinks are good on you as are bluey greens.

An autumn person comes alive in warm, golden tones, shades of mahogany, tomato and jade. If pinks and blues are not your favourites then you might be an autumn person. One bold colour on its own or royal blues, reds and charcoal are wise choices. Using colour near your face and mixing dark colours with lighter shades will suit you,

Winter people sparkle in vivid, clear primary colours and cool, icy colours. If you love black and dressing in dramatic contrasts then you might be a winter. Aim to build your wardrobe on strong neutrals, such as black, charcoal and navy. But be sure to offset these with vivid colours such as royal blue, red, bright yellow and turquoise. Contrast is key for you so wear light colours with darker ones. Avoid pastels but embrace white with icy pinks and lemons. Be bold in your choices to make the most of your natural colouring.

When you know your season it is easy to recognise what make-up colours are right for you. The warm seasons wear peach, orange and brick red, the cools wear pinks, plums and true reds.

Maximising your colour sense

* If you are making a presentation at work (to a small group ) wear an elegant, neutral emsemble, such as a suit or dress and jacket with a dash of colour. Avoid very bold colours, such as red or yellow, because they can be overwhelming if worn head-to-toe. However, they can be effective if worn as a shirt to complement a neutral jacket. Black and navy can be a little sombre on women. Instead choose pewter, olive, purple or camel.

* When facing a large audience the colour red projects confidence (even if your knees are knocking and your heart is racing ). It tells people that you know who you are and are prepared to stand your ground. Deep blue or royal purple are also colours which help to project power. Your make-up needs to be stronger and more defined too. Earrings are an essential accessory.

* Colour response research indicates that mid-tone colours, particularly warmed greys and browns, such as stone, pewter and camel are the most user-friendly colours, according to the Color Me Beautiful organisation. They are perceived as the least threatening and are therefore the most effective in getting people to open up and speak their minds.

“So for that meeting when you want people to share ideas or problems don’t wear your brightest colours or very bold contrast. Your choice that day should be an insignificant colour, that, if asked, people might not even remember what you wore. Pewter, medium grey, bronze, camel, stone and taupe are good colours in which you can look approachable, not threatening.”

* If dressing for an interview choose neutral rather than loud colours. Charcoal, navy, rich burgundy or mahogany are good choices. During spring and summer ivory, stone, taupe, camel and cocoa brown are suitable.

* If you are seeking a pretty, feminine shade choose peach and apricot. Earth greens, such as olive or jade, enhance warm skin tones.

* When reorganising your wardrobe check to see if there is any relationship between the colours of your garments. Does what meets your eye look suspiciously like a riot of colours with clashing items screaming for attention or are your choices more subdued? Trying to mix and match styles and colours can be time consuming so it’s a good idea to aim for a system where colours complement each other and hence give your wardrobe extended life.

All fashions by Anthony Ryans, Shop Street.

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