5 mistakes I made before understanding how to wear colour with confidence
Colour. Of all the ways to make an outfit really pop, colour is the most dramatic and easiest. It can boost your mood, your confidence, and how others see you – but only if you understand your OWN colouring, know how to wear colour with confidence and avoid colour mistakes!
I’ve been talking a lot lately about change and transformation, and how painful, yet incredibly important and necessary change is to achieve growth. Knowing how to use colour with confidence is one of the best ways to help improve your mood and energy to help you through any transition process.
However, that’s not to say that you have to be going through a life crisis to benefit from using colour! Over my years of working with style and identity, I’ve noticed something amazing. When you put someone in the RIGHT colours, the colours that really complement them, it has the same effect as putting a camera into super sharp focus. All of a sudden their face and presence just absolutely come to life in such a striking way it’s incredible!
Wearing good colours – colours right for you – bring out your natural vibrancy. You won’t need makeup to brighten you up because the colour of your clothing will do that for you. It will take your already perfect self and enhance, highlight, complement it. It’s working with nature rather than against it. All you need to do is align your wardrobe with you! On the other hand…bad colours absolutely have the opposite effect. They can make you look pale, ill – they can literally make your teeth look yellow, cast shadows or draw attention to blemishes on your face.
“I didn’t know my own colours.”
For so many years I just did not understand how to make colours work for me, or the science behind colouring. I would do the most amazing photo shoots for work and they looked incredible. But then, I would try to wear the same things myself and just never felt like I could pull off the same looks. It made me question myself and affected my own confidence. I was slowly coming to the realisation that I didn’t know my own colours, but had zero interest in doing any type of colour analysis. I thought it was outdated, a bit naff, and honestly didn’t think it would help me at all.
Finally I had colour analysis and it was a disaster. They got all my colours wrong and it simply didn’t work. Further along in my career I decided to try again, in a different way. This time I did a training course to understand the theories and principles behind colour, and learned how to really wear colour with confidence. This time, they got my colours right – strangely enough with colours that I didn’t initially particularly like! – and it was nothing less than transformational. From the very first moment of experimenting, just with a few new coloured pieces, I instantly got such a positive response and such a boost of self confidence. I got so many compliments, but not just on my clothes, I was constantly being told how well I looked. And I could SEE the difference myself when I compared it to old colours I’d gotten wrong. Suddenly it all made sense!
“I could make a beeline straight for the colours that I KNEW would make me look amazing, without having to try on a bunch of different colours.”
Having this new knowledge to choose and wear colour with confidence, the right way, had a huge effect. Not just how I looked and felt, but so many other benefits as well – all of a sudden shopping was so fast and easy! I could make a beeline straight for the colours that I KNEW would make me look amazing, without having to try on a bunch of different colours. One of the big myths around colour analysis is that it will be restrictive, when in fact, it’s actually incredibly liberating. I could save time, money and energy by creating a capsule wardrobe. Everything went with everything else, and suddenly I had an entire wardrobe of clothes that all went together. Unbelievably, having less clothes actually gave me more outfits as I had so many more clothing combinations – much more than before.
Something I really love is that I could all of a sudden have a defined, personal style. A style that, no matter what, was something I could rely on to be consistent, even during turbulent times. It was MY identity, and it made me feel so good to finally have that. After all of this growing and learning, I really wanted to be able to share this game-changing knowledge. I wanted to help other women feel confident and empowered with their colour choices as well! This is why I created my Colour Confidence course. The course takes all the best bits from my journey of training, understanding the back-end of colour analysis, experimenting on myself and seeing great results.
Of course, my journey towards colour confidence came with many many mistakes – common mistakes – that so many of us make. Changing your style and experimenting with colours can be scary. You might avoid getting any help. Stuck in a confidence-sapping rut of “safe” colours that don’t look or feel good, too scared to try anything new. So, to help with this I’m going to share with you now a few of the mistakes that I’ve made. Hopefully you can learn from me, avoid these same mistakes, and learn to wear colour with confidence yourself.
Mistake number 1 – “I left myself out of the equation”
Oh my goodness, this is such a big one, and so easy to do. Earlier in my career I was doing fashion shoots and creating amazing outfit combinations that looked incredible on the models. Then, when I tried to wear them myself it looked terrible but I couldn’t work out why. And then I figured it out. I was great at matching colours within outfits – but I was forgetting to include ME! The colours that I bring to the outfit equation!
Of course it was never going to work if I wasn’t including the most important part of the equation. Once I learned about my own colouring and started to apply that to my clothing choices it was like a switch just flipped. All of a sudden I felt great, because my outfits were chosen to go with me and with my own personal colour characteristics. To avoid this is so simple, but of course you first need that foundation, that knowledge base of your own colouring to then apply to your clothes.
Mistake number 2 – “all neutrals are safe”
You know the ones, the LBD (little black dress), classic white shirt, a neutral camel coat or trench coat, the pieces “everyone” should have in their wardrobe…This is the biggest myth of all. Thinking these colours work for everyone can really derail your wardrobe. When it comes to your personal colouring, there are three characteristics that matter – and these will never change! They are:
- Your Depth – eyes, hair etc. whether dark or light
- Your Clarity – whether your own colouring is visually bright or soft in impact
- Your Undertone – whether you have a warm or cool undertone. This has nothing to do with your “overtone” or the colour of your skin.
I remember when I was young and I wanted to invest in a classy, classic coat. A stunning camel coat that looked so glamorous on the models and pictures I’d seen. I went and bought it thinking I would also look and feel amazing, but I just didn’t, and I had no idea why. Now that I’ve learned about my colouring I understand that the camel was the absolute opposite to my own colouring. Instead of looking glamorous, I looked weirdly grubby and washed out. This mistake is so so easy to avoid, you just need to remember one thing: When it comes to your colouring, match the colour of your clothes to your three aspects of colour. Don’t think that all neutrals are safe, you need to choose the right neutrals for you! Knowing your right white for example is a gamechanger. That’s it!
Mistake number 3 – “forgetting about your hair colour”
Another huge mistake I used to make before I had any knowledge about my colours was around my hair colour. Over the years I have had just about every colour and cut imaginable from bleached blonde, to red, brunette, pink and even blue. As women, we cut and colour our hair to make ourselves feel good. When we have a breakup, when we go through change, a change of hair colour can mark that shift and feel empowering! I would colour my hair a warmer brown or red colour when I was feeling pale, to warm up my face, and I couldn’t understand when it had the opposite effect and make me look even paler! It wasn’t about the depth of colour, but the undertone – the warmth vs coolness. It can’t be overstated how much of a difference the right hair colour can make, but you need to understand your own colouring first to do this effectively with 100% colour confidence.
Mistake number 4 – “makeup colours”
It sounds obvious when you think about it. Just like your hair, the makeup you wear goes right on your face, right next to your own colouring. So, if you don’t get the undertone right for you, then it’s going to really clash with your natural colouring. This will often have the opposite effect to what you want.
Like so many of my other mistakes I made, I would be left so confused when a certain shade of lipstick or eye shadow looked so gorgeous in the magazine, or on my friend, but it made me look washed out or tired. For years I avoided red lipstick completely because I was convinced that it just didn’t suit me. Once I learned about my colouring I realised that I actually could rock the red lipstick, I just hadn’t been using the right shade! Now, just like with clothes, I can scan the shelves of lipstick and immediately pick just the right shade that I know will work. Something so liberating about understanding your colours is learning that you can actually wear ANY colour. The secret is knowing which depth, clarity and undertone will complement, rather than clash with your own colouring.
Mistake number 5 – “too many clothes, but nothing to wear!”
Of all the mistakes I’ve made, I feel like this is the one that everyone will relate to. I’m sure at one time or another we’ve all looked in our wardrobes, overwhelmed with so many clothes but just feeling like we have absolutely nothing to wear! This feeling leads us to then go out and buy even MORE clothes that still don’t match with our colouring or our wardrobe. We’re left feeling frustrated and overwhelmed, leading to a vicious cycle. We buy more and more clothes, and continue being so hit and miss with what does and doesn’t look good. One of the absolute best things about having colour confidence is being able to quickly and effortlessly create endless complete outfits from your wardrobe, because ALL the colours work together and most importantly, they work for YOU! Colour confidence is hands down the key to creating a capsule wardrobe that actually works. It saves you so much time, money and stress when your wardrobe fits your colour palette.
I really hope this helps you to avoid these mistakes, tell me if you’ve fallen for any of these myths or mistakes yourself, it’s so easy to do! Learning about colours is one of the single most transformational things you can do for your True Style journey. If you’d like to learn about it for yourself and save yourself years of costly mistakes just like me, have a look at my self-paced Colour Confidence course. It will give you all my knowledge so you too can feel empowered to wear colour with confidence, the right way for you. And it includes a personal colour analysis check with me where I carefully analyse your colouring from your head-shots and provide you with a personal colour profile, digital colour palette, personal recommendations for clothing, hair and make-up and even a style mood-board for your colouring 🙂