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

anna_de_vereeditBy Anna de Vere – Director of Corporate Training and Development at Colour Me Beautiful

Watching Mr Selfridge has made me fall in love with retail all over again. One of the reasons for this is seeing the dedicated care and attention given by the staff to their customers. There is great satisfaction in seeing a customer’s excitement over a purchase they have made which you have helped them carefully choose. Plus, a happy customer is likely to be a repeat customer.

Shoppers are much more informed than they were a century ago because there is so much information available to them now, but general advice only works up to a point.  In terms of fashion, what the customer wants and needs to know is “does this particular item look good on me?” and “is this a good purchase for me?”.  Moreover, they want the truth, not a hard sell. Some instinctively know what suits them, but they may not understand why and they won’t always make the right choices.

Most of today’s shoppers go to the high street (or online) with a good idea of what they like and what they want but they still need guidance; useful guidance. Not only do staff need to know the product range and what is special about it, they need to understand what is special about each individual client too.  Customers come to your staff for advice and you want to build their trust in you. Staff who are trained in the key concept of styling and who have the tools to identify the most flattering colours and styles for your customers will show dividends at the end of the day.  You want to allow your staff to be proactive and knowledgeable to increase sales and generate repeat business.

Clients’ lifestyles and personalities also need to be considered when putting clothes together for your customers.  You will have clients who want to find the right garment and go, whilst others will be happy to wander around, try it on and chat.  Staff need to be able to “eyeball” the customer to figure out what type of client she/he is and to be able to present her/him with what she/he will like and what will suit her/him. In effect, each member of your sales team becomes a personal stylist and is able to help the customer put together the best possible outfit from the range you sell.

From the staff perspective, this also creates more job satisfaction as they will take great pleasure in knowing they can help their clients make a well-informed choice.  It adds enormous value to the customer experience and builds trust and loyalty between consumer and retailer.

You can see

Anna De Vere – Director of Training and Development, Colour Me Beautiful
Seminars at Pure London Show 10th & 11th February
Full details here 

oliverbonas brolly


Adopt these five colour tips to feel instantly perkier this January:

1.  Wear colour near your face.
If you don’t have any colour in your winter wardrobe, invest in some now!  It really will lift your mood through the dark days.

2.  Apply stronger lip colour.
Lips should be bolder in winter to help you you look healthier and more vibrant.


3.  Buy yourself a stylish and colourful umbrella!
You won’t feel miserable pulling out a glam red/pink/vibrant blue umbrella (unlike dull black).

4.  Get yourself a mani/pedi in your favourite colours
 They don’t have to match, go for your two favourite colours!

5.  Start planning your colours for spring!
As the days begin to get lighter and longer you can start introducing some spring colours, so get ready!

6.  OK, one more just incase you haven’t done it already – get your colours done!

Umbrella at Oliver Bonas 

 

Radiant OrchidRadiant Orchid is Pantone Colour of the Year 2014.  Read our latest newsletter to find out how YOU can rock in Radiant Orchid!

“Expressive, exotic Radiant Orchid blooms with confidence and warmth” Pantone

When Pantone announced its Colour of the Year 2014 there were some oohs and there were some ohs. Some of you will love it, some of you will not. Radiant Orchid is not strictly purple nor entirely pink, it is a pinky-purple which can make it a tricky colour to define.  You don’t have to wear this colour, of course, but it will be everywhere in clothes, make-up and accessories this year so if you want to try it out, here’s how…

How to wear it

This shade has mostly cool undertones so it will flatter some complexions and not others. You will know the instant you put it next to your face whether it works for you or not. The easiest way for most people to wear Radiant Orchid is as an add-on colour rather than head-to-toe. If you have a cool skin tone you can wear Radiant Orchid on its own. How much of it you can wear in your outfit will depend on your personality and other characteristics in your colouring. You can mix and match it with other shades in your colour palette too; wear it with your pinks for an elegant and feminine tone-on-tone look. For a bolder look, wear it with stronger colours in your palette such as vivid red or bright violet. Radiant Orchid will brighten up your work wardrobe nicely when you team it with your neutrals such as grey, navy or black.

Those of you with a warm skin tone ideally want to wear this shade away from your face and mix it with warm shades. Purple is a perfect match for Radiant Orchid as it is a universal colour, meaning that there is a shade to suit everyone…Read the full newsletter here.