One of the most common questions I’m asked as an Image Consultant and Personal Stylist is, “How do I wear and mix colors?” In fact, I get the question so often from my clients, I actually created a color guide for them to utilize and have in their closets.
Hopefully, now that we’re nearing the spring weather you’ve been reaching for more colors. I came up with 3 tips to help you with wearing and mixing colors as we approach the spring time.
Utilize the Color Wheel
You may have learned back in elementary school about the color wheel and color schemes like complimentary. Well, the same rules apply to mixing colors we wear! The six most common color schemes I focus on with my clients include: complimentary, triadic, split complimentary, square, rectangle, and analogous.
Think of those color schemes when you’re struggling to know which colors “go together.” Another thing to consider is the tone of the colors, for example pastel colors. When mixing colors, a good place to start is by keeping the tones in the same family. For example, if you’re mixing complimentary colors red and green have them both be more in the pastel family, or both in the brighter tones.
Understand Color in Relations to Your Body Shape
If you’ve been reading the column for awhile you may have picked up on how I focus a lot on flattering each client’s individual body shape. Believe it or not, color can affect how proportioned your body looks just as much as the silhouette of a garment can.
The number one rule of thumb I tell my clients is to remember that light and bright colors amplify and draw attention, where darker hues minimize. Simply said, if you want to bring attention to a particular part of your body opt for a light or bright color. And, if you want to draw attention away from an area choose a darker hue to wear in that area.
Know the Language of Color
Many people don’t realize color actually has its own unwritten language. It makes us and others feel certain ways when we wear it. If you’re in business you know how crucial first impressions are on your business, and the colors we wear could be effecting those first impressions.
For example, if you live in the Midwest (or know what the winter weather is like) you know it tends to get gloomy and dreary for months at a time. You may or may not realize many people living in the Midwest in the winter tend to wear a lot of dark colors (specifically black).
Taking that one step further, individuals often opt for those darker hues in the gloomy months, because they’re subconsciously mimicking how they feel and how the weather is making them feel. I always encourage clients and others to instead opt for colors in the yellow and/or orange family, for these hues are related to sunshine, happiness, and energy – all opposite vibes of what the weather may be causing them to feel.
Now it’s not miracle worker, but I will say that when choosing a color like yellow instead of black on the gloomy days, you may notice yourself feeling a little more energetic and upbeat.
Another example of the psychology and language behind color is it’s said to stay away from wearing red to an interview. You may be thinking, “Why would the color I wear to an interview affect the interview?” Well, red is often looked at and interpreted as a ‘power color,’ and if you’re interviewing you don’t want to over-power the one who is interviewing you.
Hopefully these 3 tips will help you venture into the world of wearing new colors and color schemes! Make it a goal this month to wear color according to the message (i.e. how you want them to feel when they see you) you want to send to your peers and try at least one new color scheme. I know you can do it and look amazing. Happy coloring!
Mallory Sills is a Certified Image Consultant and Stylist. Her extensive training includes a degree from the Illinois Institute of Art – Chicago; working alongside the best in the business including Zanna Roberts Rassi of “Marie Claire” magazine and Stacy London from TLC’s hit show “What Not to Wear.” Contact – Website – Facebook – Twitter