Get your colours done blog smallCoco Chanel was spot on when she said “the best colour in the world is the one that looks good on you” (interesting for a woman who was always in black and white, but then they were her colours).   Of course, we all have more than one colour that suits us, the point is that colour is so powerful that getting it right and getting it wrong makes a huge difference to how good you look and consequently, how good you feel.

For many years neutral colours held sway in fashion, but we moved on and now colour – in all its hues – is an integral part of our wardrobes.  There are thousands of shades of colours available, which means shopping is more exciting, but also a bit of a minefield.  There may be some colours you love, but do they love you back?  Be honest. Hold different colours up to your face, if a colour lifts your face and complements your overall look, go for it. If it casts shadows under your eyes and chin and dulls your complexion, ditch it.   The colours you wear close to your face have the most impact, so choose the colour of your tops, jackets and overcoats carefully.  Obviously, that goes for your make-up too!

We often instinctively know the colours that work for us and those that don’t, but we don’t always know why.   When you understand why, it helps you make better choices.

Getting your colours right is not just about matching shades with your colouring (hair colour, eye colour and skin tone) however, it’s about matching them with your personality and your style too.  Our clothes make a visual statement about us and how we view ourselves. They reinforce our self-image and help to define who we are. So, when we choose colours, in the same way that we choose styles, we make choices based on what we are instinctively drawn to, choices that fit with our individual taste.  We are always influenced by fashion, other people, friends, and so on, but our personality is the biggest factor in the clothing choices we make.

So, when you have a Colour Consultation, we are looking at so much more than how colours look against your colouring. We are considering your personality, what sort of impression you want to give about yourself, how you spend your time, whether you want to be a bit more adventurous in your clothes or a bit more chic and which colours make you feel good.

One last word on black:  it looks fantastic on some, like Madame Chanel, but it can look ageing and drab on others.  Everyone can wear black but if it’s not a good colour against your face, you need to keep it to a minimum and learn how to make it work for you. A mistake often made is that ‘black makes you look slimmer’, which it does, but if it’s not a flattering shade on you, it will make you look tired.  There are other colours that have a slimming effect, you just need to find out which ones are a success on you.

#GetYourColoursDone

Colour Me Beautiful 2014

Khaki is usually associated with military looks mostly seen in autumn and winter. However, this summer, khaki is a shade to be seen in.   Khaki and olive are becoming more and more like neutral shades, so you can invest in them as wardrobe staples.

As a warm shade, it doesn’t really flatter cool skin tones. If you have a cool, pinkish skin tone, then you certainly don’t want to wear it near your face, but you can wear it on other parts of your body if you like the look. There are also varying tones of khaki so you can go from very light –  almost stone –  to yellowish khaki through to very deep green shades.  You need to choose which ones create the best look for you and fit with your colouring.

The look for the season is more about contrasting fabrics and accessories to make it less utility and not going head-to-toe khaki.  Choosing softer fabrics for your khaki will make it look more feminine. A bold handbag or a patterned top will give it a fun fashion twist.  To dress it up, add some gold detail, lace trims, embellished sandals, statement necklaces or sheer black.  For a clean, smart edge, team with black or with white, depending on which neutral flatters you most.

 

Fiona Wellins
Colour Me Beautiful

Your clothes tell a story about YOU and about who you are. They also tell a story about who you have been.

VB resizeYesterday, Victoria Beckham tweeted a photo of the dress she wore on her first date with hubby David.  She wore a cute belted shift dress, which wasn’t at all the ‘blingy’, flesh-revealing looks she wore a few years later, nor the groomed elegance she has achieved now. The dress isn’t particularly high fashion either, considering she was a member of the biggest UK girl band at the time.  It is a very sweet dress though and it reflects her youth and perhaps the fact that she was only just gaining celebrity status. It may also suggest that she hadn’t really found her own style yet.

Our clothes reveal not only how styles have changed but how you have, or haven’t, developed your own style and gained confidence in your look.  When you revisit old photos you can see why you dressed a certain way during a certain period of your life from being at school, your first job, university, travelling, marriage, being a mum, and so on.  Whatever path you took, your clothes will have reflected your lifestyle at that time and how you wanted to express yourself in your clothes at that time.  You may have had periods where you couldn’t afford to dress quite how you wanted so perhaps you didn’t bother at all or you got creative with what you had, shopped second hand or rummaged through mum’s or even grandma’s wardrobe.   Or, maybe your career got you stuck in a groove of wearing particular colours or outfits and you didn’t know where to go with your style outside of work.

The important question is, are you happy with your style now?  Do you feel good in your clothes and do you know what you look good in?  When you look back at how you dressed five, ten, twenty or more years ago, do you feel your personal style has progressed in a good way? Do you feel your clothes reflect your personality and who you are now?

Sometimes looking back can nudge us forward.  It can highlight whether we have got into a bit of a rut and that maybe we just need a bit of a change.  If your style is still working for you, and we mean style, not fashion, that’s great.   However, if you are feeling a little lacklustre in your clothes then it’s time for a review and to decide whether your style still fits who you are, your age, your lifestyle and your personality.

 

Fiona Wellins
Colour Me Beautiful

WhiteWhite is this season’s hottest trend and freshest shade.   Despite mixed reviews of the kit, the England team will be glad they are wearing this cool shade under the Brazilian sun.  White is a shade that often denotes new beginnings, it can look incredibly smart (think crisp white shirt or shift dress) and there is something very honest about white. You certainly can’t hide anything in it!  But, don’t let the practicality factor put you off, now is the time to make the most of this fresh shade.

Guidelines for getting your whites right:
The first rule with whites is to make sure they look fresh and white and not yellow or grey.  Washed out whites will instantly let down your look.

  • If you’re wearing white on its own you need to think carefully about your skin tone to make sure you don’t look ‘transparent’.  If you have warmer undertones in your skin you need to wear the warmer, softer whites such as ivory or creams.  Icy white will work against skins with cooler undertones but overall the softer whites work best on most of us.
  • Think about the fabric; different materials create different effects.  If you want to achieve a soft, romantic look then choose pieces in Indian cotton, linen, chiffon, lace or soft knits, for example. If you want to create a bolder look then go for stiffer fabrics such as crisp cotton and tailored pieces. It will also, of course, depend on which fabrics suit your style and your body shape.
  • Your white garment will attract the eye, so think about how and where you wear it. If your hips are your problem area then wear your white jeans with a tunic that covers that part of your body.  If you want to steer attention away from a bigger bust then avoid clingy, translucent or crisp white tops and go for deconstructed draping fabrics.
  • White can look striking for evening wear, if you can carry it off.  White looks glamorous in silk and satin, taffeta, lace and shimmer such as icy white sequins or paillettes.  However, whilst it will make some look radiant it will make others look washed out so consider the effect it has on your complexion when you hold the garment close to your face.
  • The white work shirt is a great staple but don’t go for cheap material, go at least mid range if you can. Thin shirts that are almost transparent are distracting and don’t look professional in the work place.
  • Take care of your whites and they will look good for longer. Make sure you have the right products such as stain remover and the right detergent to maintain your garments and always wash after every wear.

White on white is the look this summer but not everyone can carry it off.  The idea is that you layer and mix different fabrics in your whites but if all white doesn’t work for you, you can still keep it simple and elegant by mixing it with other neutrals like creams, light coffee shades or greys.  For those of you who prefer to add colour, pick just one good shade and keep your accessories to a minimum to maintain a neat, fresh look.

Whichever team you are supporting in the World Cup 2014, enjoy the games and enjoy a stylish summer!

Fiona Wellins
Colour Me Beautiful

River Island denim jacketDenim is durable, comfortable, sexy, stretchy, stylish and here to stay.  Denim is part of every woman’s wardrobe, whatever her age.   This season’s looks are not just about your favourite jeans, however, the skirt, jacket and various other denim pieces are yours for the taking.

For some time denim jackets have been a no no because we left them behind with the eighties, but not so this year.  You can put on your denim jacket and feel confident that you are spot on trend.  A denim jacket is like your best friend and is the ideal Spring/Summer cover up. It’s soft and comfy, lighter than a leather jacket and goes with pretty much everything. You want to get the right shade of denim, somewhere mid-wash works for everyone and will be more versatile.

For the bottom half you can go for darker denim, infact the darker the better. Mid to dark denim looks more current and is more forgiving on curves.   Just find the right cut for you whether A-line, pleated, pencil, mini or midi.  Be careful with the weight and stiffness of the denim, you want it to fit comfortably and flatter your figure.   The longer length styles are a great staple for spring and summer. You will be a bit more restricted with the mini in terms of where you can wear it.

You will also see smocks and shirt dresses which are super versatile pieces to have in your wardrobe (see link to an earlier blog on the shirt dress at the bottom).  Other creation are  boiler suits and bikinis – not so versatile and you probably want to avoid them altogether!

The season’s denim pieces are available in every price band and more expensive isn’t necessarily better. Find what suits you and your budget.

Think about what other colours you can wear with your denim.  If it’s a top or a scarf, basically anywhere near your face, make sure it all works together in terms of your colouring.

 

Fiona Wellins
Colour Me Beautiful

cyclists resizeThe Women’s Tour of Britain cycle race is the first international level stage race for women in the UK (hooray!). It started on Tuesday and, true to British form, waterproof jackets have been a valuable item in their kit so far.  However, for any keen cyclist, the most important item in your kit is your shorts.  Bib shorts, to be exact.

Investing in any sports gear requires careful consideration and you need to take into account the following: support, fit, comfort, fabric (breathable, waterproof, lightweight, etc.), indoors or outdoors and the cost. There is also the style factor, looking good in your workout gear helps motivate you.

Cycling has seen a huge growth in recent years, especially since the success of our medallists at the 2012 Olympics. The current average spend on Lycra runs into the hundreds (not to mention a new bike which is over £1,000). Yes, you can spend hundreds on a Lycra wardrobe (or on a pair of Louboutins, right?).

According to Roadcycling.co.uk, “Few sports require as much or as varied clothing as cycling, in the UK at least.”  They assure you that you can rely on bad weather for the best part of the year so you must invest in clothes that keep you dry and warm. They also advise that whilst you can easily spend a fortune “constructing a cycling wardrobe, an outfit of base layer, short-sleeved jersey and bib-shorts, paired with arm and knee warmers, gilet and lightweight packable rain jacket should see you through all but the deepest winter”.  (For winter they recommend more layers, of course, including gloves, long-sleeved jersey etc.).  How’s that for an excuse to buy a bigger wardrobe?

Back to the Lycra bib shorts. These are the foundation of a cyclist’s wardrobe.  If you are going to be in a saddle for long periods, you certainly want comfort and that’s what the bib shorts provide.  Then we come to the fabric; Lycra.  Do you find yourself grimacing slightly at the mention of Lycra?   Do you instantly think of aerobics classes, 80’s legwarmers and… cyclists?   It may not be a look you want to embrace.  An amusing article in The Guardian last year wrote how cyclist-haters (motorists) use Lycra to make up derogatory nicknames for them such as “Lycra loonies” or “Lycra louts”.    They may still carry a bit of a stigma, but these are the shorts you want for cycling. Not only that, you have a choice of Lycra and/or other fabrics.   Today, manufacturers combine spandex with other yarns to ‘promote moisture transfer and breathability’.  Some fabrics can apparently help to improve your aerodynamics and blood circulation.  Naturally, the more you pay the better quality and performance of your shorts.  Of course, we are not experts, but there is no doubt that the Lycra short has a well-earned place in sport and maybe it’s time that we all embraced it for its brilliant design, even if it’s not our style.

Cyclists know that Lycra  feels good and does the job, which is more important than how it looks. Besides, you can simply invest in a cycling top or a rain jacket in a flattering colour to attract all the (right) attention.

Good luck to all the teams!

Fiona Wellins
Colour Me Beautiful

Cycling gear Information from:
http://road.cc/content/buyers-guide/84904-bib-shorts-buyer%E2%80%99s-guide
http://roadcyclinguk.com/gear/buyers-guide-five-essential-items-for-new-cyclists.html/3
http://wheelandsprocket.com/articles/buyers-guide-to-lycra-cycling-shorts-pg1265.html

Article from The Guardian
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/04/the-curious-effect-of-lycra-clad-cyclists-on-otherwise-rational-people

 

 

bedroom-storage-2_largeIf you haven’t done so already, now is the time to do the seasonal wardrobe change and have a bit of a spring wardrobe audit.

The best way to check out what you have, what works and what doesn’t work in your wardrobe is to go through each item of clothing piece by piece.  Allow yourself at least a day to do this.

Put your clothes into three piles:

Pile 1:  Clothes you will keep
Pile 2:  Clothes you might keep
Pile 3:  Clothes that must go

How do you decide?

Is it the right colour?

  • If the answer is yes, then ask yourself if it is the right style. If it is then it goes in Pile 1.
  • If it’s the right colour but the wrong style, can it be altered or worn differently to make it work?  If it can, it goes in pile 2.

Is it the right style but the wrong colour?

  • Can you wear it with a complementary colour from your palette?  Do you have accessories like a necklace or scarf that will make it work?  If yes it goes in Pile 2.
  • If it’s the wrong colour and the wrong style, it goes in Pile 3.
  • If it’s not your current size and you haven’t worn it for a year it goes in Pile 3.

Pile 1 – Clothes for keeps

  • Organise garments by categories: coats, jackets, suits, skirts, trousers, blouses and shirts. Group them by colour within these categories to help give you ideas for combining clothes.
  • Button up jackets and coats, and pull up zips, so that garments hang straight before you put them in the wardrobe, all facing the same way.
  • Don’t put anything back in the wardrobe unless it’s clean
  • Don’t overcrowd your wardrobe

Pile 2 – Is it worth keeping?

  • Check every piece against what you have in your wardrobe to see whether it is worth keeping.  You might find that a jacket in the wrong colour, for example, can be made to work for you if worn with a top that you’ve decided to keep.
  • Can you update some items? A skirt that isn’t quite this season’s midi length nor mini could work simply by shortening the hem.  Changing buttons on a jacket can give it a new lease of life.

Pile 3 – Dispose of clothes as you see fit

  • Give them to a friend
  • Sell expensive items and those that are still current and good quality
  • Arrange a clothes swapping (swishing) party
  • Donate them to charity

Finishing Touches

Before you put everything back in your wardrobe, vaccum and dust it and perhaps place some moth repellent products at the bottom.  To preserve the shape of your clothes, you will need the correct hangers

  • Sturdy wooden hangers for jackets and coats
  • Wooden hangers with clips for skirts and trousers
  • Padded hangers for lightweight and delicate luxury fabrics
  • Basic plastic hangers for blouses, shirts and lightweight summer dresses

 

Extracted from Colour Me Beautiful the book April 2014
Chapter 7 – Your Everyday Wardrobe, page 188

Next sweat blogOne of the most versatile fashion pieces this spring is the statement sweatshirt.  It’s not as heavy as a knit and not as light as a T-shirt.  It’s perfect to snazz up a pair of jeans with some heels or you can wear it with a skirt (pencil, A-line, full and mini). Mixing this sports-luxe look of the season with the ladylike trend creates a nice ‘relaxed-feminine’ look.  It is the perfect top to see you through from an early spring chill to a summer cover up.

The new look slouchy trench coat will look chic as well as keeping you dry and warm in spring’s unexpected rainfalls and evening chills.  It is less structured than the traditional trench so it is better suited to milder weather when you want lighter layering and more breathable fabrics.  Wearing it open and loose as if you have thrown it on at the last minute will look effortlessly stylish.

Neat ankle boots are the ideal, versatile footwear for ‘in-between weather’.  They will work for both cold and rainy days and on sunnier spring days too.  In milder weather, team them with sheer or light opaque tights (because the legs aren’t quite ready to go bare yet) and a skirt with layered tops. If you buy a really smart pair they will be acceptable for work (depending on the company and sector, of course) and you will be spot on trend too.

Find the best transitional key pieces for you this season with a Style Update.

 

Fiona Wellins
Colour Me Beautiful

Yellow Radley blog

 

Get ready for some instant sunshine!  Yellow is a sunny, feel-good colour but you need to get just the right shade for you and have the confidence to wear it.  

Yellow is a warm colour so it won’t complement you if you have a cool, pinkish skin tone, but if you love it, wear it as part of a print, or in your accessories.  The exuberant yellows will be too strong for certain colourings, you really have to test your yellows against your face to see how much brightness you can take. Remember the acid yellow shades of the eighties? They are back but they are still not easy to wear and not very flattering on anyone so are best avoided! You can mix yellow with other colours in your wardrobe, but you don’t need much to make a statement in this shade – even shoes, a handbag or scarf will set-off your look or just a shot of colour peeking from under a jacket.

If you want to invest in a dress in this colour, keep it simple. You don’t want too much detail on the garment and keep accessories to a minimum for an elegant statement look.  Yellow with white this summer will look crisp and smart. Be careful wearing it with black, you don’t want to look like a bumble bee!

skin tone resizeThere was much debate over the lack of ethnic models at London Fashion Week and whilst we are not attempting to get into a political debate here, from a simple fashion/style/beauty point of view, it doesn’t make sense not to represent the various ethnic looks and skin tones that make up the British demographic today.

Along with your hair and eye colour, your skin colour and skin tone (coolness, warmth and depth in colour) will dictate which colours suit you.  Your personality will also influences your colour choice, of course, but you can’t deny that there are some shades you instinctively know make you look either utterly amazing or truly awful.  Certain shades will compliment not just the colour but the tone of your skin wonderfully, and others will make your skin look dull and even cast shadows on your face.  Also, you need to consider that the texture of your skin changes over the years which means the colour and tone will change slightly too.

In our new, just launched Colour Me Beautiful book the expanded colour section now provides a range of colour profiles for women of all skin tones including Caucasian, Asian, Black or Oriental.  Understanding your dominant colouring and knowing your skin tone is the same as knowing you have a high or short waist, a long or short neck or small or large bust; once you really understand what your individual characterstics are you can make better choices in your clothing and make-up.

Consider the people you know and imagine grouping together those with blonde hair, those with freckles, those with dark skin, and so on. Within those groups, each individual will have a different eye colour and skin tone and will suit different shades of colours.  When you think of a simple pair of tights in a ‘nude’ shade, what is YOUR nude won’t be a “nude” for your friend who might be a British born Spaniard, Caribbean, Chinese etc.  So, it was very clever of Mr. Louboutin to create a range of shoes in five nude shades to cater for a variety of skin tones http://bit.ly/1otW8Rd  In 2011 Debenhams launched a range of ‘invisible’ skin tone hosiery, available in different shades for women with fair, medium and dark skin.  Just the same as clothing sizes and body shapes, one ‘nude’ does not fit all.

So, without even stepping into the politics of this discussion, it is a simple fact that we are all a combination of different hair, eye and skin colourings and within that we all have different skin tones.  And thank goodness! How uninspiring it would be if we all looked and dressed exactly the same.

We can help you determine your ‘dominant’ colouring, skin tone and personal style.  Get in touch with a Colour Me Beautiful consultant near you to find out more about our one-to-one Colour Consultations

 

Fiona Wellins
Colour Me Beautiful