Friday, 27 September 2013

Choosing our best colours

I know that I'm becoming slightly obsessed by colour, however it does become more important for those of us who are "a certain age".  When I was younger - and I'm sure most of you were the same - I loved experimenting with different colours and for me it was a case of the brighter the better.  Shocking pink top with bright purple mini-skirt anyone?

Apart from black that is!  Black was sophisticated, dramatic, sexy and if in doubt, like the majority of other young women, I would settle for black.  All of this was fine until I reached my forties and realised that most of the colours in my wardrobe looked better on my two daughters than on me, with my ageing complexion. Time for a re-think.

For a while I played safe and (if I'm totally honest) boring, by selecting neutrals. Please don't get me wrong when I say that a wardrobe full of safe colours like navy, grey, camel, white and the inevitable black is a bit boring. Some of my favourite bloggers have a wardrobe full of clothes like this and they are all stunning.  Many other over 60s look amazing in neutrals, though I suspect that most of them would look amazing in brighter colours too.

However once I retired I wanted to lighten up a bit and as a consequence my rainbow wardrobe evolved, full of reds, oranges, yellows, greens, blues, indigos and violets. This became more obvious when I decided to take part in Project 333 and had a wardrobe cull, getting rid of anything that didn't fit, was becoming shabby or didn't suit me any more. With a more limited wardrobe (33 items to last 3 months) it was possible to see what was actually hanging up, and it became obvious that there were loads of different colours. I had started this blog by then and was lucky enough to have many readers who were happy to give me some feedback about whether I looked better in the cooler or warmer shades. Not that they all agreed with one another!

I tend to agree with one of my regular commentators, Robyn, that on the whole warmer colours suit me, though I do get away with a few cooler shades. Robyn said recently that she thought the pale pink top wasn't my best choice, so here it is with another picture of me in a brighter pink top. I've just noticed by the way that I'm wearing the same necklace and bracelet in both photos, though with different coloured watches. What do you think? Pale or bright?

So far this post has been all about me, however the title I have given it is "Choosing our best colours". So what advice can I give all of you out there?

First of all, be aware that as we age our colouring changes, so don't assume that what suited you in your 20s and 30s will make you look fabulous in your 40s, 50s and 60s. Even if you have had a colour analysis, that was presumably done when you were younger, so you may need to re-think your wardrobe like I have done.

Be prepared to try out different colours and if possible get feedback. I chose a dark brown dress rather than the proverbial black for my 60th birthday outfit, which was on the advice of a personal shopper, and it proved a great success. Incidentally, this service was free!

I am fortunate in writing a blog and having readers who are willing to give me great advice.  If you're not a blogger, then take a good friend with you when you next go shopping. My best shopping friend is my youngest daughter Kate, who has a good eye for colour. Encourage your friend to tell you the truth - Kate always does!

Be honest with yourself. Don't go for a colour just because you've always loved it: make sure that the colour loves you too.

Remember that the right colours can take years off you and make you look fabulous even when you're in your 60s (or more). You deserve to look amazing no matter how old you are!

Sunday, 22 September 2013

What is your colour palette?

Regular readers will know that I am trying to build a more coordinated and versatile wardrobe as part of Project 333. The idea behind the project is to have a maximum of 33 items of clothing to wear over a 3 month period and the overall aim is to live a less cluttered life. I have to admit that after an initial enthusiastic purge of my wardrobe - throwing out everything that didn't fit, was past its best or didn't flatter me - my progress has been slow. One of my problems is that I like lots of different colours and I have all the colours of the rainbow hanging up in my wardrobe. I am a member of the Project 333 group on facebook and have been admiring the Autumn 33 of one of the other members, whose core pieces are navy, grey and black, with accents in pinks and purples. I'd love to be as focused as she is!

Another member posted her colour palette as a shopping guide, so I decided to do the same thing. We are allowed to shop as part of the project - in case you're wondering - however it's a case of one in, one out. The idea of having a shopping guide is to avoid making mistakes and buying a new item of clothing that won't fit in with your existing wardrobe.

These are my neutrals and you will no doubt notice that black isn't there. I have accepted that black isn't the most flattering colour for the majority of over 60s, including me, so I am gradually replacing it with navy or dark brown. The lighter colours won't be too much in evidence during Autumn and Winter, but form part of my Spring and Summer wardrobes. White is also absent though I do have some white clothes, but I hardly wear them as they're so impractical!

Now here come my accent colours: I hope that you're prepared for this?

Shades of blue plus green
Did you think that was it? Different shades of blue and green?  No, there are more to come....!

Coral, yellow and red
Pink and purples
That makes ten accent colours in my wardrobe - did I mention a rainbow? Just to give you a flavour of what this means in terms of limiting myself to 33 pieces of clothing, I have posted below some of the items that will form part of my Autumn 33. At the moment there are 28 items, so I will be able to choose 5 more.

To my surprise, when looking at the wide range of colours, I realised that most of my tops will go with most of my bottoms, which does add to the possible permutations. However I know that if I cut down on the number of accent colours my wardrobe would be even more versatile. What do you think? Which of these colours would you eliminate - and how many different colours do you have in your wardrobe?

Monday, 9 September 2013

Contrasting views

In my previous post I talked about patterns and in particular whether medium-scale and large-scale patterns look good on petites or overpower us. In my case, large-scale patterns are definitely too much and I also have to be careful with medium-scale patterns, which have a tendency to wear me rather than the other way round.

My ever-helpful readers commented on the contrast within the patterns and kindly pointed out that the bright turquoise and white checked shirt that I was wearing in one photo wasn't very flattering, partly because it was a medium-scale pattern but also because of the high contrast.

Sharon made an interesting point when she said that she felt that the shapes weren't right for me either. She mentioned that the polka dots in another photo looked better than the checks, even though the amount of contrast was similar, which she thought could be because I have round features. Next time that I go shopping, I think I'll test her theory out. I don't have many patterned clothes, but I tend to be drawn to polka dots and stripes rather than checks anyway.

What I found interesting was the fact that many of my readers favoured one particular outfit that I felt didn't flatter me. Robin suggested that I contrast that with an outfit she had liked on me from an earlier post, so here we go (just for Robin!) The first photo is the one in my last post that people seemed to prefer.
Reader's choice!
My opinion is that there is too much black in this outfit, which makes me look a bit tired, though my readers liked the swirly pattern and the chunky necklace. I think that I got away with wearing this because my hair is dark, but generally black is too harsh for most of us women of a certain age. I am gradually replacing the black items in my wardrobe, mainly with dark brown or navy.

60th birthday outfit
The outfit that Robin prefers is the one above and I agree with her that the dark brown is more flattering than the black. I wore it the other evening and I still like myself in it even though I've had it for over five years! I was advised to buy this dress by a personal shopper and she was right in saying that it would be a good addition to my wardrobe and wouldn't date.

Like Robin, I think I look better in the brown dress - though it may just be the fact that I am five years' younger in this photo! - however I would be interested in knowing what you think. The black dress or the brown dress: which one gets your vote?