Saturday, 9 May 2015

Colour Me... Confused? Colour Analysis on Trial

"Having your colours done" - something middle-aged women did in the '80s between Tupperware and Ann Summers parties, right? So not the sort of cutting edge technique you'd be taught as a budding stylist at somewhere as on-the-button and industry-centred as the London College of Style, surely? Well, actually...

Colour analysis is apparently going through something of a renaissance (if it ever really went away), and should forever remain, according to our special guest lecturer, stylist and colour expert Tanja Mrnjaus, a key weapon in the modern stylist's armoury, whether "in vogue" or not. So, does it live up to the hype?

Colour Analysis Swatches

In all respects, but perhaps particularly when it comes to matters of style, I will resist, kicking and screaming (metaphorically speaking), being locked into any kind of (metaphorical or literal) box. At the end of the day, personal style is personal, and individual considerations should always supersede blanket dictates based on categoristic pigeonholing, whether you're a pear-shape who happens to look great in printed palazzos, or a redhead who adores (bright) white. Having rejoiced in the freedom of scrapping the "low-neckline + cinched-waist + A-line/pencil hem" and "that shade would wash you out" rules I followed religiously throughout my late teens and early twenties, I'm certainly not going to stop buttoning my shirts up to the collar or floating around in empire lines because they "shouldn't" work for my hourglass shape (finding creative ways to make them work for me is a whole lot more satisfying), or ditch the "Summer"-coloured sundresses which really shouldn't be lurking in the wardrobe of a "Spring".

And there things become really confusing... Because, get me home, scrub my tan off and... ta-dah! Instant Summer. Or it would be, if Schwarzkopf hadn't just spent 7.5 hours dyeing my hair various shades of red and pink... So am I an Autumn now? I really hope not, because shades of leaf are not my bag... But, jokes aside, with some judicious self tan/hair dye/contact lens-based tinkering, I think I could probably inveigle my way into any of the four seasonal groups!

Timeline of an Identity Crisis
Diary of an Identity Crisis

Which means... you can break free of your box! Even if that means changing half your wardrobe to complement your new hair colour... (And, I must admit, there are colours which work better with my new look: warmer, deeper tones in my wardrobe are "popping" against my red/pink hair as they never did with blonde). As Tanja told us right away, an awareness of colour should actually increase, rather than restrict, the freedom with which you can approach your personal style - virtually everybody can wear virtually every colour, but certain shades of each colour are likely to suit you better than others (and if you really want to wear another shade, popping in some coloured lenses might just help!). And, whilst I would never dream of telling someone with "low contrast" colouring that they should dress exclusively in monochromatic colour palettes, if they were looking for a "wow" ensemble for an extra-special occasion, it would be a really interesting place to start.

As I see it, style "rules" (whether regarding colour, body shape or, indeed, anything else), function in two ways: (1) as super-useful baseline guidance... and (2) as challenges - if something "shouldn't" work, how can I make it work? Which, incidentally, is just how we're encouraged to approach things at LCS - if our flamboyant elderly client insists on wearing brightly coloured mini skirts (which complement her collection of shopping trolleys), then we darn well find a way to make her look great in a brightly coloured mini skirt (which complements her collection of shopping trolleys)... and if we want to wear a "Summer" coloured statement necklace, we wrap our "Winter" hair up in an appropriately-coloured (of course) turban - just like the ever-resourceful Tanja on the day she came in to impart her wisdom! So yes, rules were made to be broken, but knowledge = power.

Colour Analysis Class

What do you think? Have you ever considered colour analysis?

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  1. this would be great to try it once :)

    1. I'm glad I've managed to intrigue you ;) It is enlightening, and can be a lot of fun too!