Have you experienced trying something on that clashes with your skin tone and instantly makes you appear washed out or sick? However, when you wear a color that complements your skin tone, your eyes brighten, you come to life, and you look healthy and radiant.
Visual artists understand the power of color. One color placed next to another can powerfully influence appeal. The colors you wear can either flatter your unique color tone, or make you look pale and lifeless. Fashion icons throughout history have used power to bring out beauty.
Color also creates a powerful impression. First impressions happen within the first 30 second of meeting someone. According to Veronique Henderson and Pat Henshaw’s book, Color Me Confident, “Only 7 percent of a person’s judgment of you is based on what you say to them. The rest of their judgment is based on your appearance and body language.” Color can also trigger an emotional response to a first impression that shape, size and style cannot. For example, in live theater or the movies, color is used as a tool to make an actor look younger, older, healthy or sick. Stylists in the entertainment industry use color to make people look thinner and more beautiful while minimizing blemishes and maximizing positive features. Understanding your skin and hair tones to choose complementary colors in your wardrobe can bring out your radiance.
The book, Color Me Confident, outlines how to determine the right colors for you grouping into six main categories: light, deep, warm, cool, clear and soft. These categories are broken into further subcategories combination such as light/warm or deep/cool to develop the perfect color combination for your skin and hair tones.
Light: To determine if you are a light you would have very light hair such as natural blonde. Your eyes would be pale blue, gray or light green with very light eyelashes and light eyebrows. Your skin would be delicate and potentially burns easily. Cate Blanchett is an example of a light with her pale blonde hair, light skin and blue eyes.
If you are a light you can determine if you are warm or cool to find the best color combinations. Color Me Confident color tips: “Balance your dominant look by wearing light or medium-depth color near your face. If you have to choose a darker tone, such as light navy, for a jacket, try to contrast it with a light shad such as light apricot, rather than with a deep one like geranium.”
Deep: Deeps tend to have very dark brown or black hair with dark eyes, brows and lashes. Skin tone can vary from light to black with all shades in between. Michelle Obama is an example of a deep. Good staple colors for deeps include black on its own but you can also pair it with dark shades such as eggplant. If you are a deep, you can determine if you are warm or cool to find the best color combinations. Color Me Confident says, “To balance your look wear strong, dark colors near your face. Contrast these with lighter or brighter shades from your palette. Wear two dark colors, or light and dark, but never choose two light colors.”
Warm: If you are a warm you would have red-toned hair in any shade from strawberry blonde to auburn with green, brown or blue eyes. Your eyebrows would have a warm tone from reddish to brown. Light skinned warms may have freckles and darker-toned warms may have more a golden glow skin-tone. Julianne Moore is an example of a warm. If you are a warm you can determine if you are a soft or clear to find the best color combinations. The rule for warms is to choose colors with a yellow undertone. Color Me Confident says, “You will always look best in colors that are medium in depth, rather than light or deep. When wearing navy or gray, warm them up with tones of yellow, salmon or peach.”
Cool: To determine if you are a cool tone, your hair would have ash tones whether dark brown, blonde, white or gray. Eye color varies from gray, blue, green to brown. Typically you would have pink undertones to your skin and black or brown skin may have a blue tinge. Judi Dench is an example of a cool. If you are a cool you can determine if you are a soft or clear to find the best color combinations. Since cools have a pinkish tone, choosing colors with a blue undertone is best. Color Me Confident says, “You will always look best in medium to deep colors. If you wear brown, balance it with cool shades from your palette, such as teal or rose pink.”
Clear: Clears generally have dark hair with bright eyes whether blue, green or topaz. Skin can be any tone from light to dark. Courtney Cox Arquette is an example of a clear. If you are a clear you can determine if you are warm or cool to find the best color combinations. Since clears have a contrasting look with dark hair and bright eyes, Color Me Confident suggests choosing colors that balances the contrast. “You will always look good in a contrast of light and dark colors. If you wear sludgy colors like taupe and pewter, liven up the outfit with the brightest shades from your palette. If you dress in a single color, make sure it is one of the most vivid from your palette.”
Soft: To determine if you are a soft you would have dark blonde or light brown hair with muted colored eyes whether blue, brown, hazel or green that often change to the color you wear. Your eyebrows and lashes can be light to dark. Your skin color would have little contrast the color of your hair, eyes or skin. Kate Winslet is an example of a soft. If you are a soft you can determine if you are warm or cool to find the best color combinations. Since softs have little contrast between hair, eyes and skin tone, Color Me Confident suggests choosing colors that are tone on tone as well. “A monochromatic look suites you very well. If you wear the darker shades in your palette, balance them with colors that are only one or two tones lighter, and avoid high contrast.”
As you age, your hair and skin can change: light blonde haired child may grow into a brown haired adult and a warm gray haired senior. Adapt your wardrobe and color palette as you change, and stay within appropriate fashion trends to stay youthful and beautiful.
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