The secret to looking good in everything you wear

April 5, 2016

This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.

Recently I was invited by House of Colour to have my colours analysed. I seem to remember that this was very popular with my friends about 25 years ago but I missed out having it done. So I was looking forward to finally learning whether I was Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter.

Of course, at the ripe old age of 57 years, one supposes that one knows all the colours that suit our own complexion and, more importantly, the ones that don’t. In reply to that statement I can now categorically say I did not know! But after three hours with the very charming and knowledgeable Helen Venables, Managing Director of House of Colour, I have been completely re-educated and my wardrobe has been revitalised.

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 12.03.55The day started with the removal of my make-up as Helen needed me to be my natural self so that she had a plain canvas to work with. I felt very vulnerable without my ‘warpaint’. My hair was scraped back off my face and covered, a white gown was placed over my clothes and Helen began. The first pair of coloured drapes were used to find out whether I have a warm or cool skin tone. Having a yellow or blue undertone to your skin is something that is often discussed in terms of make up colours, but very few people confidently know which side of the line they fall regarding their clothes. Having established that I had a cool skin tone Helen went on to assess whether my best colours are those that are bright/clear or slightly softer/richer. To demonstrate this she showed me two shades of various colours (see video below) to prove which tones suited me best – it was a lightbulb moment. I found that French Navy suits me so much better than Midnight Navy. There were colours that I did not like on a personal level, such as Vintage Rose, but I had to admit that they did suit my skin. I quickly accepted that I was ‘Summer’.

It is important to Helen that her clients agree with her analysis ie that you are not bulldozed into a decision. Apparently, very occasionally, a client has found it difficult to accept that she may have been wearing the wrong colours – I think we can become very stubborn as we get older and may feel that we do not want to be told. Luckily I attended the session wearing a jumper in my favourite baby blue and was relieved that it made it through the cull (I would have fought Helen on that one!) I was then presented with a fold out Summer wallet and she explained that I can wear tones of any of the colour swatches contained in it. She also went through all the Summer colours giving each one a percentage mark to show me where it would suit me best ie below waist or close to my face.

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 12.08.08The next stage in my analysis was to be made up using HoC cosmetics with Helen clearly explaining why she was choosing a particular shade of foundation. This was done in natural daylight which is never the case when you are buying over the counter in a store, so I really trusted her choice. The most exciting part for both Ellie and I was when it came to the lipstick. Ellie never wears any as she thinks her lips are too thin and I tend to stick to very pale colours for the day (only putting on a brighter colour for evenings). I realised how wrong that was as when Helen chose a deep purple for Ellie her face was transformed – it was if a light had been turned on. There was a vibrant lilac/rose shade for me and again I too felt radiant. Since our consultation I have been wearing it most days and have had so many confidence boosting compliments about how well I look i.e. not about the lipstick per say, but about the general overall effect. Yes even at 50+ we still need reassuring!

Of course I have noticed clothes in colours that I now know ‘light up my face’ but I have never warmed to them before. Now, armed with my House of Colours wallet as reference, I will definitely try more colours on.

The most exciting part is that, after the good reaction I have had when wearing my Summer colours, I shall now be culling my wardrobe and selling my unwanted items on eBay as I can – finally – clearly see that they do not really suit me.

Another fascinating fact is that you can safely mix and match ANY of your wallet of colours knowing they will work together. I have been really enjoying wearing unusual combinations – something I haven’t done before as I am more of a conservative and classic dresser.

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 12.29.20

Our consultation cost £130 each but Ellie and I found it so worthwhile to have an unbiased, expert opinion to set us both on the right course for the future. As #womenover50 we can all do with a little change and uplifting in our lives, so it is a great time to get a ‘new look’ or just update your current one. We found the whole experience both enlightening and therapeutic. Helen was calm and reassuring and never pushed her opinions – she just led us to the correct conclusions. In my opinion it was money well-spent as we are now going to buy the right colours for our wardrobes, saving us money from all those ‘shopping mistakes’.

But my personal transformation wasn’t over yet. Helen handed me over to Melissa Nicholson, founder of Kettlewell, a go-to website that has brilliant key pieces of clothing in 150 colours. Watch this video to find out how Melissa advised me on what suits my body shape best.

Click here for House of Colour website.

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