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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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“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, TransformMyStyle.com
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.
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.
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?
I feel so much better in a soft/muted and warm khaki, no need for make up other than a bit of lippy.
No make up, a rich burgundy heathered top, nice even skintone and it's reduced the appearance of any fine lines.
Grey ombre sweater, looking old, tired and haggard, look at the deep lines on my face and this was taken four years ago!
Campaigning in 2016 and looking old, grey and washed out in black and strong patterns. Eeek.
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.
Next time you’re shopping and see a ‘bargain’. Stop and ask yourself:
If you honestly don’t think you’ll wear it, put it back and walk away.
If it doesn’t go with most of your wardrobe, you’ll have buy other things to go with it. A bargain shouldn’t mean you have to spend more so you can use it.
If you can’t imagine wearing it and have no idea what you’d wear it with – it’s not a bargain, it’s a dead loss. The cost per wear, wouldn’t stack up and it’d be money down the drain.
This is me four or more years ago, on the left, wearing a royal blue cotton cardigan and a similar patterned, pintuck, long sleeved top from Evans. The cardigan was a gift and the top was a ‘bargain‘ in the sales. The top has pintucks on the bodice and a hanky hem, which is very flattering if you’re carrying weight around the middle, so the style is good, but…..
The intense, bright blue of both items is making my face look red and blotchy, I have dark grey shadows under my chin. I look like I’m having a hot flush/flash. It’s just far too strong a colour for me. I’ve never worn it since, not such a bargain, was it?
It’s not a bad colour, it would look fabulous on a bright/clear Winter friend of mine, the cardigan is a men’s design and looks amazing on my bright/clear Spring son, but it completely overwhelms my soft/muted and warm colouring.
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’.