Everyone – regardless of fashion preferences – makes decisions about their style based on colour. It is in this sense, then, that colour selection underpins all of our stylistic choices, defining it as one of the most fundamental aspects of styling. This series – encourages a colour-led approach to styling, not only for its creative value, but also for its potential to convey a carefully tailored message about who we are and why we ought to be noticed. Great colour selection is not only eye-catching, it shows an attention-to-detail along with intention that is sure to impress.
DESGINING YOUR PALETTE: TEMPERATURE
Perhaps the broadest way of classifying colour, temperature is a great point to begin building the palette of a look. Both warm colours – reds, oranges, yellows, and pinks – and cool colours – purples, blues, and greens – can be deeper and muted, or bright and vibrant, meaning that there’s lots of scope to make either category match your preferences. With colour temperature, factors outside our control can play a crucial role in how we look – and feel – in warm or cool colours. Skin complexion, and the way different tones react to underlying skin pigments, means that most people better suit one or the other – warm or cool. Are your eyes a warmer colour, with golden undertones, or are they cooler? Warmer undertones to the skin may appear as a peach, yellow, or gold hue, whilst cool undertones appear as pinks, reds, and blues. If you feel your skin and eyes display a mixture of tones, you may have a ‘neutral’ complexion, in which case your preference for silver or gold jewellery may reveal which temperature you are naturally more drawn to: silver suggests cool, gold suggests warm. There’s definitely room for flexibility here, but determining the overall temperature of your complexion is a great place to start if you haven’t yet found your colour-confidence.
Understanding the way your pigmentation complements (or clashes) with warm and cool colours can really be the difference between feeling fantastic or just not-quite-right in a garment. Remember, you wear the clothes – don’t let the clothes wear you. We all know how it looks and feels to be completely at one with what we’re wearing and, by selecting garments that complement our pigmentation, there’s no reason why this can’t be our new norm. It’s hard not to notice someone that has curated an outfit that reflects their personality and suits the features of their natural body: their outfit is a reflection of them, and they carry with them an ethereal cloud of authenticity and confidence.
Linking the emotional qualities associated with warm and cool colours to your style choices can add a whole new dimension. Warm colours are reflective of stronger emotions – such as love and anger – and give the wearer a vivacious, vibrant appearance. Dressing in bright, warm tones signals strength, boldness, and confidence. Cooler colours represent milder qualities, such as calmness, intelligence, sincerity, and stability. Although cooler colours could therefore be seen as less passionate, it’s still possible to make a strong statement using a cool palette: go brighter with a light blue or purple blazer to exude intelligent creativity, or darker with a rich green dress to convey balance and endurance. Pairing items of similar temperature will make the overall effect more coherent, creating a look with more of an impact. It’s possible to take this one step further by pairing items not only of the same temperature, but of identical colour, which brings us to…
DESIGNING YOUR PALETTE: MONOCHROME
Monochrome has been on-trend for some time now, and it’s not hard to see why. Monochromatic looks have a futuristic edge that makes them one of the boldest ways to style colour, whilst also being relatively easy to co-ordinate and get right. Monochromatic looks show attention to detail, with a vibrancy that is equal parts urban and chic. A head-to-toe monochrome look is paradoxical: simple in essence, yet sophisticated and complex when styled tastefully. This colour coordinating technique can really demonstrate how well organised and thoughtful you are. Looks like this don’t happen by accident: they’re intentional, conscientious, and purposeful. These qualities make monochrome styling perfect for professionals, so why not try monochrome power dressing? Co-ordinate your trouser suit, blouse, and heels to level-up your professional look. You could even consider adding a matching lip colour if you’re opting for pink, red, coral, or purple tones – seriously chic.
DESIGNING YOUR PALETTE: CONTRASTING but COORDINATED
Dressing in colours that complement each other is something many of us do intuitively, not really giving much thought as to why some items seem to just ‘go’ but others don’t. Whether we carefully consider how each item will work with the others in advance, or just dress and see how it looks, the colour schemes we opt for reveal aspects of our personalities to those around us. Muted, earthy colours – like burnt oranges, browns, deep reds and dark greens – signal that we’re grounded. These colours are more closely associated with nature and have a more traditional, less urban feel. Wearing these colours gives an air of maturity and sophistication and, with their earthiness, may make us more approachable to others. Clear, dark colours – such as navy, black, and maroon – are elegant and classy. Like muted darks, clear dark tones are mature and sophisticated, and are a favourite of professionals across all industries. Bright, colour-popping palettes, consisting of vibrant yellows, pinks, light blues, and greens, are very urban and much more playful than darker palettes. These colour schemes are youthful and eye-catching, and will help you stand out amidst the sea of dark-dressed professionals. Dressing in playful colours signals creativity and a person unafraid of being noticed, benefitting both our professional and private lives. Try brightening up darker outfits with some vibrant jewellery in complementary colours, such as pairing some turquoise statement earrings with a practical navy trouser suit. The coordinated colour choice is purposeful and intentional, allowing the retention of the respectable conservatism associated with navy, whilst also benefiting from the playful creativity of vibrant and eye-catching jewellery.
DESIGNING YOUR PALETTE: TASTEFUL CLASHING
Yes, ‘power clashing’ is a thing… and no, it’s probably not for everyone. Edgy and creative, this styling technique can be played with to greater or lesser degrees, from the subtler pairing of a light pink nail and red suit jacket, to maxed out, non-conformist, wearing-ten-patterns, tailored punk fabulousness. Clashing is all about subverting expectations, making it a great way to express your rebellious side. Swapping a plain shirt for a spotted or striped one can really lift the creativity of your look and separate you from the crowd. Experimenting with the combination of power dressing and tasteful clash is a great way to bring some playfulness into your professional look, and can be really magnetic and intriguing for those around you. Don’t be afraid of patterns and prints, use them to your advantage and express your originality!