The colours we choose to wear says a lot about us, and we can also manipulate colour to our advantage, if we’re just aware of these few little tips.
People often ask me how to combine colours and, as always, it usually boils down to personality and your personal colour contrast. If you’ve had a colour consultation with me or have a colour palette you can work with, all the colours will work harmoniously together, so it does make experimenting a bit easier. You can also use your swatch to see what colours would work with an item you own or are thinking about buying.
Dominant colours and receding colours
When you’re putting two colours together, one will be more noticeable and one will fade into the background.
Generally speaking, lighter, brighter colours and generally warmer colours (reds, pinks, oranges, yellows and yellow-greens) will be the more noticeable colour. Darker, muted or generally cooler colours (greens, blues, purples and neutrals) will be the less noticeable colour. This is great if you want to highlight one particular area and it’s also why we think black is slimming. In fact, the darker colour in your outfit is slimming, it doesn’t have to be black!
How many colours should you wear?
Really this boils down to three things - your personality, your individual colouring and what you choose to say to the world about yourself on any given day.
Someone with a classic style personality will potentially favour neutrals over colour, whereas those with a creative or dramatic style personality are likely to favour a riot of colour that a classic would shy away from.
YOUR INDIVIDUAL COLOURING
In terms of your natural colouring, you should aim to harmonise with the amount of colour you have naturally. So brown hair, brown eyes and fair skin would be low in colour, so neutrals plus one colour would be perfect for you. If you have blue eyes, a reddish or pinkish skin tone and red or golden blond hair, the you can combine 2-3 colours.
However you can also choose colour to make an entrance - wearing red will get you noticed without you having to say anything (great for making you look bold & confident even if you’re not feeling it). Wearing light neutrals or soft pinks will make you more approachable (great if you’re a naturally lively personality and don’t want to take the limelight).
Sometimes we want to wear darker or more muted colours when we really don’t want to stand out and it’s very often why might we resort to wearing black. I think it’s fine to want to blend into the background on the odd occasion, but I would urge you not to make a habit of this. We all have days when we’re not feeling brilliant, but wearing colours that flatter you will actually lift you - that red you’re shying away from might give you a bit more confidence. Plus wearing colours that don’t flatter your natural colouring may actually draw more attention to you.
But what do those colour combinations you choose say about you?
A high value contrast - that is a very dark colour combined with a very light colour - conveys more authority. That’s why uniforms and suits are often dark with a lighter shirt.
A low value contrast - that is a combination of colours that are either all light, all medium or all dark - makes you more approachable.
Wearing lots of colour is seen as more fun and social (trust me, people will think you’re fun and social even when you’re not feeling it at all), whereas wearing neutrals is more businesslike and serious.
A predominantly light outfit is more approachable (again, great if you’re not feeling very sociable as people are more likely to want to talk to you!) and an overall dark outfit is more authoritative, so better for an important meeting when you need that boost of authority.