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Colour Your Life - Do you know your colour palette?

Find out the shades that complement your natural colouring

What is my personal colour palette? How to determine my personal colour palette? How to mix and match colours? Are those questions familiar to you?

Colours that look great on someone else, don’t necessarily translate into those colours looking great on you! Everyone is perfectly unique. Everyone has a unique skin tone, based on the genes we inherit from our parents. Learning how to compliment your skin tone with the correct palette of colours is the key to make the most of who you are by looking and feeling your very best.

When you take the time to work on your colours, you find shopping for clothes and accessories quicker, easier and more successful than ever before. Just think of all the clothes you have bought over the years that you either worn once or not at all. All those clothes are taking up valuable wardrobe space and cost you money. Discovering your personal colour palette is an investment in your future wardrobe. If you look good, you will feel good and will project a positive image that others will pick up on and reflect back to you. Do you want to find out what your ‘dominant’ colouring is and how this determines why certain shades complement your natural colouring more than others? Then this article is made for you.

Getting familiar with colours

Colour psychology

Are colours really that important? Why should we care about the colours we wear and their impact on our personal branding? Believe it or not, colours have a great influence on people’s thoughts and moods; this is what we call the psychological properties of colours. Black, dark grey or navy will not lead to the same feeling or emotion than yellow or orange. We don’t think the same way in a room painted in pink or in blue; it will even be different between a light pink and a bright darker one. For the same reasons, we will not create the same first impression of someone who is dressed in black than someone wearing some red or light blue.

You can find the big lines of colour psychology on the visual below. Note that this interpretation of colours is mostly true in western cultures. For us, white is the colour of purity, cleanliness, hope, elegance, peace and freshness. We use white in the health industry and brides traditionally wear white dresses at their weddings. In China, Korea, and some other Asian countries white represents death, mourning, and bad luck, and is traditionally worn at funerals.

Because colours are making an impact, you want to select the right ones for any occasion. By using the ‘colour psychology’ visual, you can pick and choose the right colours based on the messages you want to send. If you want to look more dynamic and creative, a touch of orange would assist you. If you want to look more approachable and open-minded, select a light blue shirt or jacket. If you want to look powerful and in charge, wear some red. If you need to arbitrate a debate and want to stay neutral, simply pick a grey outfit!

In addition to knowing how colours will impact people’s reactions and attitudes towards you, you can learn to better select your colours based on your unique skin tone. As we said before, colours that look great on someone else, don’t necessarily translate into those colours looking great on you! You have a unique skin tone, based on the genes you inherit from your parents. Learning how to compliment your skin tone with the correct palette of colours is the key to make the most of your personal presentation.

Colour Psychology

How do colours influence your personal image?

Establishing your personal colour range is the first step of creating your unique image. Your colour palette presents the colours that harmonise with your complexion, hair and eyes to know the best colour choices for your hair, makeup, clothing and accessories. Once you become an expert at spotting your colours, it makes shopping easier. You probably already noticed that some colours are flattering your natural skin tone more than others. Perhaps, you are receiving more compliments when you are wearing these particular shades. This article will give you keys to better understand your personal colours; alternatively, you can find your best colours with a personal colour analysis consultation.

Because the colours you wear close to your face are impacting your reflection, it is important to understand how to pick and choose the right colours for your skin tone. Wearing the right colours can make you look and feel younger, prettier, healthier, taller, slimmer and more powerful. You look and feel more vibrant and alive. Your eyes look bigger, brighter and awake, in other words, wearing the right colours will make your complexion glow. Wearing the wrong colours can result in you looking tired, dull and often unwell. Colours that are not flattering your natural skin tone emphasise lines and blemishes, darken the under-eye area and can make you look washed out or even older.

As the colours you wear mostly have an impact on your face, you want to ensure that certain pieces of your wardrobe are chosen from your colour palette. Be sure to carefully choose your tops, shirts and sweaters from your colour palette. Pants, shorts and skirts’ colours will then be selected to complete the final harmony.

Most image consultants will use the 4 seasons method in their colour consultation with clients. The method is called Seasonal Colour Analysis and it places humans in one of four clusters, based on shared traits. At New Reflections, we learned a more complex and accurate technique that is being developed and used in France for the past 15 years: the ‘combinatory method’. This technique allows you to better understand and recognise your colour palette from 8 different clusters.

Colour vocabulary to establish your colour palette

As we don’t work with the seasonal colour analysis tool, you will not need to guess if you are a summer, winter, autumn or a spring person. To initiate your colour analysis, you will start by getting familiar with the terminologies. You will focus on 3 main aspects of the colour: saturation, lightness and temperature.

Colour temperature

A first aspect of the colour that you will need to start observing is the temperature. The temperature of a colour will define if a colour is cool or warm. If you look at the colour wheel above, we tend to say that cool colours are those on the left and warm colours are those on the right. It is not exactly true as both green and blue could be warmer or colder based on how much yellow or blue they content. Warm colours are always filled with more yellow when cool colours are filled with more blue.

Colour brightness

Brightness or lightness is the relative lightness or darkness of a particular colour, from black (no brightness) to white (full brightness). A tint is a mixture of a colour with white, which reduces darkness, while a shade is a mixture with black, which increases darkness.

Colour Brightness

Colour saturation

Saturation is the intensity of a hue from grey tone (no saturation) to pure, vivid colour (high saturation). In other words, the colour saturation will define if a colour is bright or matte.

Colour Saturation

From those 3 criteria, temperature, brightness and saturation, we get 8 different colour palettes to assist you with your personal colours.

Homemade colour analysis

If you don’t want to benefit from a professional colour consultation with an image consultant, you can try to initiate your colour analysis at home. Equip yourself with warm and cool colours, dark and light ones as well as bright and matte ones. Slowly approach the piece of clothes to your face while facing a mirror and observe the effect on your face. Colours that will suit you better will make you look better and prettier than other colours that will make you look tired or washed out. Focus on your neck, your eyes and your general impression.

If you have enough choice in your wardrobe, you can try to select pieces of clothing with more than one criteria. For example, you can compare a warm and bright fabric with a warm and matte one. Initiating a colour analysis at home is a great start, however, it will not be as complete or accurate than a consultation with a trained professional stylist.

Colour consultation with a professional stylist

While doing a homemade colour consultation can help you better understand and find out your colours, a proper colour consultation with a professional image consultant will be a different adventure. With a properly trained professional fashion stylist, you will not only get to discover your colour palette, but you will also work on the psychology of colour, you will understand how to mix and match colour and how to select the right colour to create the impact and the personal brand you want.

Maud Vanhoutte

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