When a Fashion Designer got her colour and style analysed...
... after nearly 13 years working as a designer in the Fashion industry.
(I was going to discuss the 'style' part of my consultation here also but my thoughts about it have spiralled out of control by falling down the Google rabbit hole so I decided it deserved its own separate post so it is TBC!)
I never thought I would ever have any sort of makeover/image consulting/styling done, ever. However, I had the opportunity to have it done back in September 2019 as I thought it would be interesting. I've never had that much interest in my own appearance (in that way) but I guess that was also because I had TOO much interest in designing things for the mass public.
Of course I cared what I looked like, working in Fashion, in fact even back at University, appearance is everything. I remember witnessing a girl running out from a class at university because the tutor had questioned why she was wearing what she was wearing, and that if she wanted to be a designer, she needed to have some style.
Most importantly, and what attracted me to Fashion in the first place, is that there are no rights or wrongs. It is all about individual style and wearing whatever makes you feel confident and as a way to express yourself. Nevertheless, I knew what I liked (black, greys, some pinks and adored a neutral colour palette i.e beiges, creams, ecrus)... in fact, I thought it would be easier to show the colours and patterns I generally wore in this simple moodboard.
After my analysis, my 'colours' are actually this. These are colours that when worn, particularly near my face, are the most flattering. These colours were then rated, from ultimate 'wear-it-head-to-toe' to, just wear it on the lower part of my body, or through accessories. I left the consultation with basically a colour bible, of what was best for me.
I know you're probably asking, but how did my colours get there?
So, my stylist was Lynn Ainsley from House of Colour. The company has been in business for 30 years. Lynn has a background in chemistry and psychology which reflected through the session and I was informed of many stats and bits of science on how wearing the right colours make you 'glow' and why... all of which I really enjoyed! I won't repeat it here because I don't think I would do it any justice!
Lynn introduced me to the 'House of Colour' colour wheel which is split across the four seasons - Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Each having their own groups of colour along with best metal colour (gold or silver) for jewellery, I did enquire where rose gold would sit and it is a bit of an anomaly. After going away and doing my own research, the 'colour wheel' has in fact been around forever (how did I miss this?!), but in slightly different guises. The same with categorising people into the 'seasons'. I guess with my occupation as a Fashion Designer, we were not catering for these 'seasons', but catering for those who wanted the latest 'trends'... so things like colour suitability and if it was even flattering for the consumer was obsolete...which typing out now sounds a little insane!
The interesting thing that Lynn also showed me was how primary red sat comfortably within all the seasons, and was the only colour that can be worn by anyone, and still be flattering. Once you have read this, you will notice it all the time!
To explain the consultation in a nutshell, drapes of coloured fabric were placed under my face and whipped away which truly highlighted the colours that looked amazing and the ones that looked really bad. I have to admit, I was shocked and my mind was a little blown.
The colours that looked the best next to my skin would determine which 'season' I was. It turns out I am a 'Winter'. My key colour words are 'bright', 'clear', 'cool' and 'high contrast' with my sub-colour being a 'Jewel-Winter'.
I found this all very fascinating as I predominantly choose to wear black and had been thinking to wear more colour, so now I knew which ones I should pay attention to!
However, although I feel these 'systems' are beneficial to a certain degree, I do feel that research (for hair/skin/eye tones) has been predominantly done for Caucasians as there is a real lack of ethnic diversity shown in the photographs (not just with House of Colour, but with ALL colour wheel/spectrum/seasonal charts that I came across online)... which made me feel that anyone who had dark hair and olive skinned (like myself) or darker, would pretty much be placed within one season/category. Maybe these companies just need to show more variety in the models they use or make a conscious effort into marketing to those from other ethnic origins so there are more 'examples' to show, to demonstrate that it is possible for a dark haired/skinned person to sit within all the seasons. Or, develop separate colour palettes entirely that suit this, since there are over 10 million colours in existence. Any company that can cover this will be a true gem.
Nevertheless, after having 6 months to play with wearing more colour, I can genuinely say that I have received more comments from my friends and family about looking well (whenever I was wearing one of 'my colours')...then I ever have before! Although on the other hand, it is hard to truly gauge because it is being compared to when I was only wearing black. I haven't changed my wardrobe based around the consultation as there are many things I still personally really love that don't fall within my palette, but it is still important to me to retain my 'sense of self'...although it has been enjoyable trying other colours I wouldn't have previously considered.
If you are someone who struggles with shopping for themselves, I would highly recommend getting an analysis done so that you can leave feeling more confident when shopping and not buying things that end up staying in your wardrobe for years and years because whenever you put it on and look in the mirror, 'something just doesn't look right'.
It is also essential to remember that visual aesthetics such as colour and style can be quite subjective, so if you do get one consultation done, I can guarantee it won't be the same outcome if you got it done somewhere else. I say this from experience when I once had a coffee with another stylist and she 'diagnosed' me also as 'Winter' but as a 'Deep Winter' rather than a 'Jewel Winter'. I do find it all extremely interesting and it has definitely helped me be a much better designer as I am now considering colour in a very different way than how I used to when I was working in the commercial Fashion industry.