Unlocking Style: The Role of Colour and More in Your Wardrobe

4 March 2024

Colour is one of the more important elements when it comes to fashion because it is the first thing we notice about a garment.
When you are out shopping, it is the colour you look for or see first, then fabric, silhouette, and finally detailing. It is the major deciding factor in everything we purchase and choose to surround ourselves with, from cars and furniture to shampoo, soap and even food.

However to enable us to see colour, three parts must come together.

  • Light – which is the source of the colour.
  • Surface – of the item, garment whatever it maybe that reflects the colour
  • Eye – which perceives the colour.

As we know, white light is made up of 7 colours, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet we see these colours as the light shines through rain drops or clear glass prism…the colours of a rainbow! Colour works by the surface absorbing parts of the colours within the spectrum (light) that shines on it and reflects others.

For example if we look down the street and we see a blue car. The surface of that car is absorbing all the other colours and reflecting the blue back towards our eye, so that is why we see that it is blue. Make sense?

One of the reasons black can be so draining or hard to wear is because it absorbs all of the light and does not reflect anything back to our eyes so our complexions have little to bounce against.
Johannes Itten (1888-1967) was a German colourist who developed the theory of seasonal colours.

Through his studies and observations he identified that people are most comfortable when wearing colours that complement their personality and colouring. He states in his book The Elements of Colour, that ‘Every woman should know what colours are becoming to her; these will always be her subjective colours and their complements …’

It is his theories that form the basis from which many colour and image consultants work from today, but more about what I think of that later.

Colour temperature is key.

When you look at the basic colour wheel such as the one devised by Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton Colour Wheel

You can see the Primary, Tertiary and Secondary colours, they are all pure colours with no black, white or grey. However, what you can also see is how colour is associated with temperature.

In the warm half of the wheel the colours are red, red-orange, orange, yellow-orange, yellow and red- violet.
We associate these warm colours with heat, and these are often the ones we think of when connecting the sun, fire, earth tones, summer fruits and flowers.

Interestingly warm colours can appear closer to you because of the predominance of yellow, and are often the colours that attract attention.

On the other side of the wheel we have the cooler colours.

Cool colours are violet, blue-violet, blue, blue-green, green and yellow- green.
These colours are usually associated with cold sensations and things such as ice, water, the sea, the sky, winter days and grass.
Because of the predominance of blue, cooler colours tend to recede and so objects, shapes and areas can appear smaller and further away.

Why is warm or cool so important when wearing colour?

There are 4 main colour seasons in the world of colour analysis and they are split between warm and cool.

Autumn and Spring are the warm seasons. Summer and Winter the cooler ones, you can spot that below?

Understanding your skins undertone is what determines whether your are cool or warm within your complexion and essentially which season and side of the colour wheel suits you best. There are certain characteristics for each season we look for which help identify and clarify your correct tone.

As well as the undertone these 4 seasons can also be separated by the intensity of the colours within their palette.

For example a Summer palette will be cool but also soft and muted, similarly an Autumn palette will consist of more muted colours but will be warm in tone. Spring and Winter work the same but with rich, intense and vibrant tones.

So when determining your colour season and which colours suit you, essentially what you are doing is matching your undertone – warm or cool – with whether you suit brighter or softer colours and then corresponding that to the correct season. Sounds pretty straight forward doesn’t it?
Well essentially it is.
Many image consultants will go into a more in depth approach when doing a Colour Analysis appointment with their clients, identifying the exact hue, tone and shade which suits your complexion.
This detailed analysis can give many people the ideal structure to work within when shopping for clothes and ensuring that everything they wear will lift their skin and guarantee the best effect. This structure can be very effective and help you always look your best – winner!

There is more to your style than just colour.

It is so important to base your wardrobe around a colour palette, however that palette can be ‘warm, muted’ or ‘cool and rich’. I believe that having a rigid guide on the exact colours that suit you can also be limiting and can prevent you from exploring different style and looks. That the detail can allow us to stay in a comfort zone and not ever really understand how to flex and outfit build within your wardrobe with creativity and confidence.

This broader terminology allows you to interpret different trends, have more flexibility when shopping and give you more confidence with your own style and look. Plus you can get more wear from your existing clothes as you have the skills to style things that are not quite perfect in colour but can be balanced with another item that is.

Learn all the skills not just colour.

My Colour & Body Shape Analysis service is the ideal foundation to re-discovering your wardrobe because we explore colour seasons and identify which one you are but we also explore so much more!

Your style identity is key, where do you get inspired? Who’s style do you love and why?

Your bodyshape? Yes!
Love it and embrace it! When you know your shape and learn the illusion techniques to dress it, your silhouette because one that makes you smile not shrink.

My belief and passion is to give you all the skills and knowledge I have about styling so that you can approach your wardrobe and style the same way I do, with confidence, comfort and most importantly joy. Learn what makes your style tick more than just what colours suit you and you will get your style mojo back and more.

To learn more about my Colour Analysis service and how packaged with my Wardrobe Refresh can be the ultimate game changer for your wardrobe click here and book your FREE Style Taster call.
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