Colour Analysis Personal Branding Personal Style Update Uniform

5 Tips – How to wear black if you don’t suit black

How to wear black if you don’t suit black

One of the best things I learned during my Colour Analysis training was How to wear black if you don’t suit black.   Black clothing is so easily available in the shops and the Fashion Industry pushes it as THE colour to wear.  They claim it goes with everything.  While it might suit some of us, for a lot of women (and men) it’s too bold, intense and ages us. So, how do we wear black when it doesn’t suit us?

How to Wear Black If You Don’t Suit Black and I really don’t suit black

How to wear black if you don't suit black. Strawberry blonde lady in black dress
How to wear black if you really don’t suit black. Strawberry blonde beautiful lady in black dress that overwhelms her more muted colouring.

I used to wear a lot of black and one day my Aunt commented that it really didn’t suit me. She wasn’t being mean, she was being honest.

I was in my twenties with dewy, youthful skin and soft/muted and warm colouring. Even with the advantages of youth, I could see it aged me and it wore me.  For me, it’s too strong, bold and intense a colour.  This gorgeous lady has the most amazing hair and that’ll go a long way to breaking up the black which is far too strong for her.

How to Wear Black If You Don’t Suit Black
Lower Your Necklines

Black dress with a low neckline, lady in black dress
Black dress with a low neckline, lady in black dress

If it’s a dress or a top, lower the neckline so the black isn’t too close to your face or neck.

A V neck, Scoop or Cowl neck that is further away from your face can make all the difference.

If you feel there area looks bare, try the next tip and add a statement necklace.

How to Wear Black If You Don’t Suit Black
Wear a Statement Necklace

How to wear black if you don't suit black - statement necklace
How to wear black if you don’t suit black – statement necklace

Wear a statement necklace or creamy pearls for warms and white pearls for cools, it’ll be closer to your face and negate the impact of the black.

If you prefer, choose a necklace in one or more of your best colours.  It’ll draw the eyes up to see your face first and not the black of your outfit.

How to Wear Black If You Don’t Suit Black
Scarves, Shawls and Pashminas

How to wear black if you don't suit black, scarves shawls or pashminas
How to wear black if you don’t suit black, scarves shawls or pashminas

Wear a wrap, scarf, shawl or pashmina in one of your wow colours, keep this between your face and the black outfit so your face looks youthful, lifted and healthy.   It really can take years off you.  I promise.

How to Wear Black If You Don’t Suit Black
Texture, pattern and fabric type

How to wear black, man wearing a tweed jacket
How to wear black, man wearing a tweed jacket to add texture and break up the heaviness of the black fabric

Instead of matt black, try textured black or black with a pattern (houndstooth checks in a tiny pattern) to break up the impact of the black and soften it.  Something like this Tweed fabric uses a lighter colour to soften the black.  In a larger pattern with high contrast that would be too intense for someone who is soft/muted but could be fabulous on a Bright Winter or Spring.

How to Wear Black If You Don’t Suit Black – Wearing Your Wow Make up Colours with Black

blonde lady in faux fur hat, animal print shawl and natural coloured make up

Make up helps, but lipstick can be an absolute godsend.  Wear a lippy to suit you and your colouring, it’ll work wonders.   You’ll notice the dark, almost black nails on this lady and they’re too strong for her, but the nude lipstick, textured faux fur hat and print wrap break up the deepest colours in her outfit.

Do you wear black even though you know it’s not your friend?

If any of these tips on How to wear black if it doesn’t suit you have been helpful to you, I’d love to hear from you.

Here’s the link to our FREE Facebook Group for TransformMyStyle, I share lots of tips, tricks and advice here in a warm, friendly and welcoming community. I’d love to have you join us.  Or you can share this article on social media or with a friend who might like it.

If you’d like to learn more about our Online Colour Analysis Service,


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Colour Analysis Personal Branding

From Frumpy & Frazzled to Fabulous at Fifty

“I want every woman I work with to feel the joy of knowing she can look her best every day, know what to wear for different occasions, how to work with her body shape, scale and her own style personality. I want her to be body confident and love how she looks..”

Loraine Birchall,

The Story

I’ve been coaching and offering consultancy to small business for best part of 20 years, some digital (web, networks etc) but mostly creative problem solving, project management and web strategy (form/function).

Having had a good year about 10 years ago I felt it was time to invest in me and paid for a Colour and Style consultation. The very nice lady spent all of 20 minutes speed draping me, one colour after another and in such a rush I couldn’t see what was working and what wasn’t. But, she’s the expert, right? Not one question about my lifestyle or what I liked to wear, some general advice about suits and I was on my way without so much as a cup of tea or a natter. I followed her advice and she typed me as a Soft Summer.

The Problem:

Being a get-on-with-it kind of girl, I spent a small fortune (to me) on suits, blouses, tops, shoes, bags and accessories in my new colours and really thought I looked the business.

For the next 8 years or so, every client who knew me well kept asking if I was ill or feeling okay? There’s only so many times you can keep saying “I’m fine thank you” before it gets a bit repetitive and you start wondering what’s going on.

Even my lovely Mum kept commenting about how pale and grey I looked, my skin was blotchy and every blackhead or blemish looked like Mount Versuvius to me.   When I finally stared at photos of me wearing the Summer colours, I looked like I was seriously ill.

I decided that maybe the expert was wrong. 

Had the Consultant taken even 20 minutes more to look at how my skin reacted to the colours, she’d have been able to see my true colouring. I had wasted a lot of money to look like an extra from the Walking Dead. 

The Solution:

I trained in Colour Analysis and loved it. I could add this to my existing consultancy, go online with services, it was a whole new world of colour that took me back to a childhood with my head either in a book, drawing or painting. I’d forgotten how much colour, texture inspired me to create. I added Colour Psychology and Hair Colour Analysis soon afterwards.

I spent weeks looking in the mirror with this drape and that drape and decided that I am in fact a Soft Autumn, so my colouring is warm and NOT cool, the expert had it wrong.

I quickly put together a capsule wardrobe of grab-and-go outfits. Wearing one of these outfits at a meeting, I bumped into a colleague I hadn’t seen for 12 months or more and he yelled.  ‘Bloody hell woman, you look ten years younger than the last time I saw you, have you lost a lot of weight, what’s different?’ I hadn’t lost weight (I am still a curvy girl), but dressing in the right colours, shapes and styles to flatter my shape had made all the difference. I was floating on cloud nine with happiness.

I can’t wait to share that feeling with other women and men, after all, who doesn’t want to look and feel fabulous?

Wearing Soft Autumn Colours

Loving the khaki

I feel so much better in a soft/muted and warm khaki, no need for make up other than a bit of lippy.

Soft Autumn top

No make up, a rich burgundy heathered top, nice even skintone and it’s reduced the appearance of any fine lines.

Wearing the Wrong Soft Summer Colours

Ghastly in Grey

Loraine Birchall wearing Summer grey ombre sweater

Grey ombre sweater, looking old, tired and haggard, look at the deep lines on my face and this was taken four years ago!

Woeful in Black

Campaigning in 2016 and looking old, grey and washed out in black and strong patterns.   Eeek.

Better in Universal Purples

Loraine wearing Universal Purples, still a little too cool but this is better

A soft/muted purple scarf, it’s a little cool in colour but it’s not awful.   My skin tone is much more even in this photo and the only make up I have on is some lip gloss.

Body Image Body Shape Colour Analysis Health Weight

Weight is just a number

I was watching a film on Netflix, Brené Brown – The call to courage, where she talks a about courage, shame and the weight of societal expectations.   She made some really interesting observations about how men are judged on how successful they are, expected to always be strong and to defend their family at all costs.   While women are judged by their appearance and in particular their body image and weight.   We’re shamed for being too fat, too thin, too tall, too short and so on.

A friend posted an image on Facebook, all these women weigh 11 stone / 154lbs / 69.85kg which is the average weight of a British woman.   It made me think about weight and I’ve decided it’s just a number.

Five women who all weigh the same but are different heights and dress sizes
Five women who all weigh the same but are different heights and dress sizes

The image will take you directly to the article if you click on it.

The ladies range from 5ft 2in tall up to 6ft 1in tall, have different body shapes and lifestyles.   Some exercise, some walk, some don’t.   It’s important to remember that a pound of muscle takes up a lot less room than a pound of fat so weight isn’t always the most accurate measure of health, neither is BMI or body mass index.

My Ex husband is 6ft 4 1/2 in tall, his BMI has often been pointed out as high but the ratio based on height isn’t the most accurate and doesn’t take into account the muscle mass or skeletal mass of the person.  He was never overweight, never had any belly fat, so his BMI and weight weren’t an accurate measure of his health.

You could be skinny-fat, slim but with more visceral belly fat hidden in your system than someone who weighs more but is more active and eats a healthier diet.

Building up muscle as we get older can make a positive impact on your metabolism, your inch loss, your energy and your long term health.   That muscle will help increase your metabolism and help you look leaner, stronger and feel better.

So next time you weigh in, remember, it’s just a number.   It’s not the measure that changes who you are, it’s doing something about it.

I’m 51 now and 5ft 4in tall, like Angela in the article, lady on the left of the photo.    I weigh more than she does but I’m following a Rosemary Conley plan from her Hip & Thigh diet, it’s easy for me to remember and works for me.  I’m a way off 11st but it’s my goal to get there by March of 2020.     To keep myself on track I’ve set up non-food mini rewards along the way for each 7lbs lost.

Body shape makes a difference, I’m a pear shape or triangle with my weight in the lower body, but in recent years due to hormones and menopause I’ve been carrying some belly fat.    Belly fat is more dangerous than leg, hip or bottom fat and it’s something I need to deal with to avoid health complications.    See this article on the BBC website for more information.

I have added in some bodyweight training, 3 times a week for just 15 minutes per session.   It’s easy to fit into my working day and hard to find an excuse not to do it 🙂       I can feel more muscle after just a few weeks and there is definitely some inch loss even on weeks when the scales say otherwise.   See, weight is just a number 🙂

I’m working my way through the Couch to 5k programme from the NHS in addition to my daily dog walks.   I’m on week one and I can already feel a difference to my energy levels.     I’ll let you know what changes that makes to my weight and measurements as I go along.

What’s my point?   I guess to say that weight is just a number, it means different things depending on your lifestyle, how active you are, how you eat and isn’t the only measure of health or success in life.

If you’re overweight now, don’t put off changing your life.   If you want to have your colour analysis session or have a style consult, do it now.   You have the right to feel gorgeous every day and your weight doesn’t define that.  Learn to love yourself the way you are and your whole world will change.

Next month I’m adding in a five minute, no weights workout each day to tackle those jiggly upper arms, check in end of July for more info, maybe you’d like to join me?


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Business & Corporate Image Capsule Wardrobe Colour Analysis

How to use colour analysis swatches, wallets or guides when shopping, save time and money

How to use colour analysis swatches, mini wallets or colour cards for shopping, make-up, hair colours and more.

I’ll take you through how to use colour analysis swatches, mini wallets or colour cards for shopping, make-up, hair colours and more.

Firstly, the colour swatch, mini wallet or colour cards are NOT colour matching tools.

You do not wander round the shops looking for the specific colours in the set.

If you did, you’d end up tired, grumpy and frustrated as fashion colours change each year depending on the season.

So, how do I use my wallet, swatch or cards?    It’s very simple, you lay the swatch, wallet or card over the top of the item you’re considering, see below for a few examples.

How to use colour analysis swatches to see if they are in harmony with your chosen garment

How to use colour analysis swatches, wallets or guides when shopping, save time and money

The image above shows Autumn fabric of a Per Una long sleeve top, together with the Soft Autumn mini-swatch (top) and Bright/Clear Winter mini-swatch (bottom)  laid over the fabric.  You’ll see the Autumn fabrics are in harmony with the shirt (Per Una) and the Bright Winter colours stand out as if ‘sat on top’.    This particular top, from Per Una, would suit a Warm, Deep or Soft Autumn.

How to use colour analysis swatches or wands over a fabric to see if it’s in harmony with your colours.

How to use colour analysis swatches and wands for shopping

This shirt is a mix of spring pinks, yellows and peach tints with a white undertone, it is bright, warm and light.

I have laid my seasonal wands over the top of the shirt and can easily see that the left most wand (Spring) is most in harmony with the fabric.  The other wands don’t work well with it at all.

The Summer colour analysis wand is disappearing (although some of the pinks work with the fabric, the lighter pinks) The Autumn colour analysis wand is too deep and rich.  The Winter colour analysis wand sticks out like a sore thumb.   This top would be wonderful on a warm, light or bright Spring lady.  However, a light Summer lady might be able to wear this one as some of the pinks would suit both.

How to use colour analysis swatches to check a garment is in harmony with your colours.

how to use colour analysis swatches when shopping

This image shows the Autumn and Spring fabric mini wallets fanned out and laid over the fabric. While the Autumn colour swatch (warm/deep) are okay with it, the Spring colour swatch (warm/light) are truly in harmony and look made to match it.

Whether you have a fabric swatch, colour cards, a small card, colour analysis wands or fans, the item is easily held up to a garment or laid on top of it.  Stand back and look at how harmonious the colours are, does it appear to sit on top or stick out like a sore thumb?

If the colours work well, then the garment is a good match, try it on – get an idea of how the cut, fabric and shape of the item work with your body shape.  If it fits well and flatters  your figure, buy it!

If the colours of the swatch stick out and argue with the garment, then it’s not a match to your colouring.   If you love it and really want it, then treat it as a hard to wear colour and make sure you wear a scarf, necklace or other item between it and your face.   If you don’t love it, it’s the wrong colour for you OR the fit isn’t going to flatter your body shap, then walk away!  It’s not for you and will end up in the ‘Why did I buy that’ pile at the back of the wardrobe.

How to use colour analysis swatches when choosing make-up

Here’s the link to our FREE Facebook Group for TransformMyStyle, I share lots of tips, tricks and advice here in a warm, friendly and welcoming community. I’d love to have you join us.  Or you can share this article on social media or with a friend who might like it.

If you’d like to learn more about our Online Colour Analysis Service,


Like or follow us on Facebook, InstagramPinterest or visit our free Facebook Group

Colour Analysis Uniform

Universal Colours – colour for everyone

There are a selection of colours that look good on nearly everyone, we call them universal colours.    The caveat here is they might not be your very best, but you’ll still look good wearing them.

When would I use Universal Colours?

a) Buying a gift for a friend, when I don’t know her season or tonal direction but I want her to look great wearing it.

b) I’m in a hurry, there are days when I’m pushed for time, you know the feeling, right?    You dash into the store, stare aimlessly at clothing and accessories while madly trying to identify the right thing for the impromptu party tonight, the last minute work thing.

c) I’m choosing a uniform for staff and would like them all to look as good as possible, but know that if I choose the wrong colour, at least half of them could look like death warmed up.

d) I’m getting married (friends and most of all my boyfriend, I’m not getting married, it’s a scenario, relax please, people).    I need outfits for my bridesmaids and maid of honour and I’d like them to look and feel good.

So, let’s have a look at these magical, mystical, universal colours

Purple – our drape for this is called Medium Violet and it suits pretty much everyone.

Teal – Teal is the perfect mix between warm and cool and always look great.

Lavender – looks great on most people and is a beautiful, feminine colour.

Soft Pink – most people can wear a pretty soft, pale pink and it’s very feminine.

Stone – a wonderful neutral and easy to dress up with pops of your best accent colour

Mid Grey – this is a medium grey, it works well as a neutral for most people and goes with so many things.

Navy – again is a great neutral, looks good on everyone and is easy to brighten/soften with accent colours or key jewellery pieces to suit you.

Teal, Purple, Lavender, Soft Pink Evening Dress featuring long formal dresses
Teal, Purple, Lavender, Soft Pink Evening Dress featuring long formal dresses

Stone, Grey and Navy Evening Dress featuring formal evening dresses
Stone, Grey and Navy Evening Dress featuring formal evening dresses

Colour Analysis DIY Colour Analysis

Tonal Colour Analysis

Tonal Colour Analysis is based allows  an expansion of the Seasonal Colour System.     We take six characteristics which help you identify which type you are.

We start by finding the Dominant Characteristic from the six listed.

Deep/Dark – strong, deep colouring, often with dark hair and eyes

Light – light, delicate colouring, light eyes and hair, often a natural blonde

Warm – warm/golden hair, often warm skin tones (yellow based rather than blue or red)

Cool – no yellow tones to the skin, often pinkish or blue toned with

Soft/Muted – soft and dusty look, little contrast between eyes, skin, hair with a blended look.

Bright/Clear – eyes are bright, all features are clear and no feature is muted or soft.


We then find the Secondary Characteristic.     If your Dominant is Warm or Cool, we establish whether Clear/Bright or Soft/Muted colours work best for you.    If your Dominant is any of the others, we establish whether you are Warm or Cool.    As an example, my Dominant is Soft/Muted, but my Secondary is Warm.





Colour Analysis DIY Colour Analysis

Will my colours change over the years?

If I have my colours done, will my colours change as I get older?     The correct answer is No, your ‘season’ probably won’t change but the colours you wear might be lighter or softer in ten or twenty years from now.     You might still be a Spring, but instead of a Bright Spring aka Clear Spring, you might be wearing more colours from the Light Spring aka Soft Spring palettes.     On the other side of the coin, I see many ladies who embrace the idea of more colour and make more use of their power colours which can look incredible with greying hair.    You don’t have to have a grey or black wardrobe as you age, you can choose colours which let the world see YOU, the beautiful you who deserves to be seen.

I have seen a few cases, usually due to a big life change such a bereavement or serious illness (medication may easily be a factor) where skin tone and hair colour has changed, resulting in the need for the colours to be refreshed, but these are thankfully, few and far between.

Remember that if you change your hair colour dramatically, by perhaps going red, blonde or darker than your natural colour, this may change your overall look.

Business & Corporate Image Colour Analysis

The Power of Colour In Business

Colour matters when you’re working or in business, but why?     The impact and first impression you make are based on several factors.

These are

a) the colour, does it make you look healthy, vibrant and capable?     What psychological impact does the colour have on the person you are meeting?

b) your clothing, does your outfit reflect your industry, your personal style and your personality so they all ‘mesh’ and give the right impression?

c) your body language, do you stand tall, walk with confidence and have a firm handshake?

So, before you’ve uttered even a single word, something like 90% of the impression you make has already occurred. Now, do you see why colour matters?

Your chosen colour should reflect your mood, whether that’s a power colour to give you confidence, a healing colour to keep you calm, lighter colours or your best neutrals to make you look both confident and more approachable.

We can advise on your best capsule wardrobe for business, to include your best neutrals and help you build a wardrobe to help you seal the deal, win that promotion or be seen in the work place.

How you dress at work will also make an impact on your earning potential.    Many studies over the years have shown that dressing ‘above your paygrade’ will help get you promoted or be noticed for greater things.    It can also result in a higher salary than your peers.

Colour Analysis Personal Branding Personal Style Update

Wardrobe Weeding

What is wardrobe weeding?    We work with you to create outfits you love with the clothes you have, identify any basic or accessory purchases you need to complete or enhance your look and how to get your wardrobe ‘working for you’.   We’ll help you create a hard working capsule wardrobe from your existing clothes and show you how to easily put together outfits for all occasions.    No more worries about what to wear, you’ll be able to ‘grab and go’.