Friday, June 29, 2007

Adding COLOR to Your Wardobe

I often hear from students that they would like to wear more color, but don't really know how to add it to their wardrobe.

Color can be scary. I admit I was once a person who wore too much black. I didn't really know I was doing it, but one day I realized I suffered from an affliction. I became envious of other women who wore color with confidence, and who always seems to know what matched.

I figured it was just a gene I was not born with, like the tall-skinny-model-looks gene. However, I chose not to limit myself, and I did what I do best, I began to research.

What I discovered amazed me. Mixing color is not inborn. Not at all. It is simply a result of personal preferences and practice mixed with a healthy dose of awareness. What I mean by that is that if you throw on just anything and leave the house without studying its effect in flattery or otherwise, how will you teach yourself about what really works?

Oh sure, you glance in the mirror, but do you really LOOK? That is what it takes to become completely comfortable with color. However, to get started with color in general, or just a particular color you would like to wear, there are some easy options to help adjust yourself to wearing hues with which you are not yet comfortable.

1. Wear a single color under a suit of another color to bring attention up to your face.
This technique is relatively painless, and allows you to determine just how much color you are going to show. With your suit jacket completely buttoned up, you will see only a peek of color at the neckline.

With your jacket unbuttoned, you will see a larger column of color, but still the primary focus will be on your suit color.
Take the jacket off, and you will have full attention on the color of your top.

As you go through the day, or through the weeks getting used to color, you may try pushing yourself to go just a step further to see if you can get used to showing color with more confidence.

2. Buy a few colorful accessories to brighten up a neutral outfit.
A few brightly colored accessories can make a plain dress pop with energy and excitement.

Accessories you might want to consider include: shoes, hats, sunglasses, belts, gloves, scarves, jewelry, watches or watchbands, or hose/tights/socks.

3. Wear a single color from head to toe.
By wearing the color without contrast, you will create a unified look. This also tends to slenderize your appearance, by not distracting the eye from the parts of you that are showing, such as your face.

4. Wear different shades of the same color.
This is a more complicated combination. By wearing different shades of the same color, you will give an overall effect of harmony. You'll also have the option of using lighter (paler) shades of the color to accent certain areas of your body that you would like to draw attention to.

The key with this technique is that the shades themselves be similar in tone. It is much trickier to successfully match blue greens with yellow greens than to match different tints and shades of yellow green together.

The benefit of this option is that it is easier to find colors that are similar in different shops at different times, than it is to find exact matches.

About the Author
Illustrations are available for this article by request from Heather M. Claus has taught 5,287+ women to find their own personal style, at: Style Upgrade - Personal Style Development. She also blogs at: Style Upgrade - Personal Style Development