Since delivering my Color Talk at Betsy Fisher Boutique in February, I’ve received several inquiries about discovering your own best colors. This post is inspired by those questions.
First, why color? Color can be hard to work with, and when you’re an incredibly busy woman in leadership, it can seem easier to stick to safe neutrals.
Color enhances your beauty organically. While the wrong colors can make you look ill, your best colors make you look younger – they give you a glow, reduce the defects on your face, and make you look healthy and vibrant.
Color makes you more visible. Color is also one of the most effective ways to say to the world, “Hey, look at me.” While it would appear gauche to walk into a room and command attention in such an obvious way, you can accomplish the same result more subtly when you wear colors that enhance your personal coloring. In a crowded oversaturated world, color helps bring you into focus.
Finally, color has the power to evoke feelings in others, so using color in your wardrobe can be used as a tool to enhance your professional message, whether you are running a critical meeting, delivering a presentation, or planning a business trip abroad.
As a Certified Color Consultant, I perform multiple tests, draping included, to diagnose clients’ skin temperatures, and determine their best colors. Here is a “cheat sheet” to help you determine your own skin temperature and choose the best colors for yourself.
1) Determine Your Skin Temperature
Your skin temperature is warm if:
- Your skin has more yellow, peach, or cream.
- Gold clothing or jewelry throws light on your face and silver clothing or jewelry drains the color from your face (your eye travels to the silver first, instead of your face).
- Your skin, eyes, and face look better in the neutrals ivory, off-white, and brown vs. white and black.
Your skin temperature is cool if:
- Your skin has more blue, olive or red.
- Silver clothing or jewelry throws light on your face and gold clothing or jewelry drains the color from your face (your eye travels to the gold first).
- Neutrals white and black look best on you.
- Ethnicity sometimes leaves clues. If you are Latin (Italian or Spanish), Latin people often have an olive undertone which typically reads as cool.
It is possible, but rare, to be in between warm and cool (neutral). Many neutral skin temperature types have hazel eyes, because hazel eyes can change from cool to warm, depending on what color they are.
2) Harmonize Your Clothing
Once you identify your underlying skin tone as warm or cool, the goal is to harmonize your clothing and makeup with your skin tone.
If you are warm toned, everything you wear should have a yellow undertone to it. If you are cool, your best colors have blue undertones. This rule does not mean you can’t wear other colors – simply place your best color near your face using jewelry, a shell, jacket or scarf.
If you discover you are neutral toned, you can wear both warm and cool based colors. (the entire color spectrum)
Studying the color wheel can help:
3) Inherent Colors
Another way to discover your best color(s) is to look closely at your eyes. The inherent colors you see within the iris and whites of your eye are a good indicator of best colors for you to wear. For example, if you have rust flecks in your iris, you will look gorgeous in rust colors worn close to your face.
4) Color as a Business Tool
Once you know your best colors, you can combine those colors with color psychology to navigate your day with maximum effectiveness. For example; the best colors to wear for business meetings or lunches with colleagues or clients are:
Navy Blue =trustworthiness
Royal Blue = sends out signals of goodwill
Deep Gray = projects success and strength
Camel or shades of Brown = appears non-threatening, stable, supportive and reliable
Terra-cotta or Brick = projects warmth and sensuality
Blue Reds = indicate warmth, vitality
When you discover and employ your personal palette, you gain a competitive edge by bringing yourself more sharply into focus. When you combine that personal palette with color psychology, your best colors become an effective tool to help you achieve your goals.
Stay tuned to discover your personal contrast, which determines the best way to combine your best colors for maximum effectiveness. Thank you for your questions.
Stay gold, Ambitious readers!