This is the first in a series of blogs about developing your personal style and in this blog we are going to be focusing on the importance of colour in developing your own personal style and having a wardrobe that you love.
Wearing the right colour can have a dramatic effect on your mood and when you get it right you will be completely in tune with yourself, and this then has an impact on how others see and interact with you.
Seasonal Colour Theory
From the research that I have done most people use the seasonal colour theory in determining what colours suit them best.
The theory initially looks at your undertone which is either warm or cool. If you have a warm undertone, you will be a Spring or Autumn and if you have a cool undertone, then you will fall into the Summer or Winter category.
Once you have determined if you are warm or cool you look at the depth of colour that best suits you. If lighter colours suit you best, you will be a Spring or Summer and if deeper colour suit you best you will either be an Autumn of a Winter.
The system was then further developed, and each season was sub-divided into 3 different types adding elements of light and softness which can further help an individual refine further the colours that will suit them best.
Going this far will help a huge amount however with any system there are flaws to it. For example, what happens if you have neutral or olive undertones? Or if you are a red head going grey?
It was in my search for a better system that I came across the work done by David Zyla and his ‘Colour of Style’
David’s Zyla’s ‘The Colour of Style’
What I love about David Zyla’s approach is that it works on the premise that Mother Nature knows what is best of us and instead of starting with some seasons he looks to tailor your colour palette based on the colours we find within ourselves. So, his system is based on the colour of your eyes, hair, lips and skin and that way you can build a colour palette completely tailor made.
David’s system looks to build a core set of colours that works for you (your true colours) that you can use to mix and match to create outfits for every occasion that you will face. He goes on to explain more about the psychology of colours and provides some guidance on when and how to use each of these colours.
I’ve given a headline of each of these colours and shown how I have used them to build my own wardrobe to give you an example how you might go about trying this yourself.
Your Essence Colour
This is your vulnerable colour and is your version of white. A white that harmonises with the colours in the palm of your hand.
In my case this is a soft white rather than a really bright white but for you it could be a cream, a light pink or taupe etc.
Your Romantic Colour
This is your passionate colour and is your version of red and found by pinching a fingertip – or the colour you blush.
It could be red but for me it’s pink but could be a coral or burgundy etc.
Your Dramatic Colour
This is your ‘look at me’ colour; your version of blue which is found my looking at the colour of your veins.
For me this is a bright blue but could be green or even purple.
Your Energy Colour
This is the colour that supports you when you need a pick me up, taken from the darkest part of your iris (but not the ring around your iris
For me this is a petrol blue colour but will vary if you have brown or green eyes.
Your Tranquil Colour
This is your peaceful colour, taken from the lightest part of your iris.
For me this is a light grey blue colour but again will vary depending on the colour of your eyes.
Studying your eyes in detail may bring some surprises for you. Although my eyes are a blue grey colour, I have a yellow ring around my eyes, and this is a colour I could use in my wardrobe.
Your First Base
David also includes 3 neutrals to complete your wardrobe;
Your version of Black or your first base. This is the most flattering colour for you, taken from the ring around your iris.
As you can see from the photo my version of black is in fact a light navy.
Your Second Base
The second neutral is your version of brown. This is a more casual medium dark shade which is taken from the darkest part of your hair.
For me I have 2 options a dark taupe colour and a mid-grey as my hair is transitioning at the moment. but I could have also gone with a warmer photo to show you as well but this is to really show you that you could select a couple of colours within each category if that makes sense for you.
Your Third Base
The last neutral is your version of Khaki and is your best light colour, taken from the lightest part of your hair.
For me I have 2 options to go down the taupe colour or go down the very light grey route again due to my hair going grey. Over time I expect my wardrobe will move to the greyer tones but for now I can enjoy both.
As you can see from the photos above studying my own colours allows me to build a colour palette that works perfectly for me and I think this is the best thing about David’s approach.
The next thing that David’s book goes onto explore is when you wear each of your true colours and I think this is another build which I really enjoyed exploring.
Some days you can put something on from your wardrobe and it is one of your colours that suits you but somehow it doesn’t feel right. David really explains the psychology of colours and helps explain why this happens and then goes on to make recommendations about which colours you may want to use in different situations.
Here are some of his thoughts below…
Date night – Romantic or Energy colour
Formal meeting – First base, Dramatic or Energy colour
Relaxed meeting – Second or Third base with Energy or Tranquil colour
Travelling – Energy or Tranquil colour
Yoga / meditation – Essence or Tranquil colour
Beach – Third base with any of your other colours
Exercising – Energy or Dramatic colour
Your birthday party – Dramatic colour
Comforting a friend – Tranquil or Essence colour
Embedding colours into your own Capsule Wardrobe & Personal Style
Once you have done the analysis you can start to look at your own wardrobe and this helps you think about buying more purposely. I’d recommend taking a look at your wardrobe and thinking about if all the colours are really working for you and perhaps look to donate those that that don’t. Once you have gone through your existing wardrobe you can see if you have staples in your true colours and over time can add as you need be.
I started on my journey a few years ago. As you can see, I’ve really narrowed down the colour palette I have in my wardrobe, and the surprising thing I have found is that it’s easier to put outfits together now and feel that I have more choice than when I used to buy a much wider range of colours. I also think that I’m starting with colours that suit me best so it’s hard to select a colour that really looks awful on me and drains me of colour these days.
I expect my wardrobe will continue to evolve. These days we are all working from home more and so I’ve noticed that I gravitate to my third base neutrals rather than my first base neutrals and so naturally buy lighter colours. I’ve also mentioned that I’m going grey and so I’ve added a few more grey colours to the mix which I’m also enjoying.
There are also additional benefits as it gives you great guardrails when you are out at the shop. At the start I popped into my local DIY store and picked up paint cards of my true colours and had them to hand whenever I walked around a clothes store to help me make better choices, but things are more natural to me now.
I hope you enjoyed my article. I’d love to hear from you on how you are thinking about colour in your wardrobe and how it makes you feel.