A well thought out wardrobe will be full of beautiful, colourful clothes that all work well together. Have you looked in your own wardrobe and found that it is either a riot of colour or scene from a black and white movie? If you have too much variety in your colour choices you will probably find it difficult to find things to go together. If your wardrobe is too bland then your image is probably pretty constant and could do with a bit of life.

Colour is a relative concept. You will have noticed this probably without thinking. We have been taught that colour is colour, red is red, yellow is yellow…etc. This is partly true but the reality is far more complex. Have you tried to wear two navy blue items and found that one has a green tinge and the other is more purple? On it’s own, navy looks like navy, but against another colour, the tones can look different. A red may look really red until you put it with a raspberry tone and you find it appears quite orange.

A few years ago there was a trend for ‘colour analysis’, to determine colours and shades you should or shouldn’t wear. The theory being that if you wear the right colour,  you will look good. Many people have found this really helpful. Not least because it makes you think far more about which colours to look for when shopping. This can narrow the ‘scatter-gun’ approach to clothes shopping. Getting the colour right for you is important but I think that there are many other factors in play. These can be even more effective in creating the best version of you. Colour is only part of the image. A badly fitted jacket, in a style that doesn’t suit you, is not  ideal. Just because it’s the ‘right’ green doesn’t mean it’s the right jacket.

How we wear colour.

We have all tended to become very monotone in our colour palette. There should always be room for variety. Black always seems to be the new black, (talk about blacks not working together?). Black looks good on very few people, but those who do suit it look really chic. The trouble is that the rest of us who try and emulate this look just appear tired and ill. Then there is the spectrum of muddy, muted colours that are really difficult to pull off. The colours I’m alluding to are those that make you think of  the clothes your grandmother wouldn’t wear. Think mauve, cardboard beige and some unidentified mossy green. They will continue to produce these colours if we keep buying them, so we really need to shop with more imagination.

There is a difference between muddy colours and the beautiful muted non colours that are now available. Putty, pewter and sand, shadowy pinks and whites and greys that can and do look amazing and fresh on their own or when used with other, darker base colours. It’s quite difficult to mix these non colours with bright colours, but if you keep the tones similar then you can use both with your core wardrobe basics.

Strong or bright colours can appear very daunting for some people, so they opt for the same safe colours again and again. It’s not about a complete overhaul of your colour thinking in one go. Begin by adding some brighter or neutral accents to your wardrobe, a scarf, t-shirt or jewellery. Start to experiment and it really does get easier as your eyes and your friends. You become more accustomed to a new, more vibrant version of yourself.

Making colour work for you

What works for one person may not work for another. I wear a lot of navy, I know someone whose wardrobe is based on grey and another who will always be found in a shade of burgundy. I put lots of other colours with my navy, you can put just about anything with grey and you’d be surprised the number of bright accents that make dark red sing. Whether it’s mint green, candy floss or lemon, they may not be for you but I know some people who love them. This is about your style and your colouring, not anyone else. If you have clothes that suit your lifestyle and your personality, this is more important than just ‘getting the colour exactly right’.

I have a dear friend who is a perpetual ‘hippy’ and it’s a look that suits her perfectly. Put her in a structured business suit, it wouldn’t matter what colour it was, she’d look trussed up and uncomfortable. Because the ‘look’ isn’t in harmony with the wearer, the overall affect isn’t as successful as it could and should be. The ‘right’ green isn’t going to help in this situation and she would have real difficulty communicating her personality let alone her ideas. The improvement is there for you to see when you wear a really well fitting outfit, in a style that reflects your personality, in a colour that makes you glow. You feel comfortable, you send out an authentic message and with planning, the clothes will work well with everything else you have.

How to add colour to your wardrobe.

Once you’ve started to build some colour into your wardrobe, you can add others that work with the initial purchases. I suggest you get a beautiful patterned multi coloured scarf in colours you love. When you add clothes in colours that work with the scarf, the chances are that those items will also work together. Your accessories will also work with the new colours  and you will end up with a wardrobe that works in harmony. You’ll always have something to wear because you have lots of things that you can ‘mix and match’. Buy colours you like, and more importantly that like you. Don’t worry too much about fashion because if it suits you and you look fabulous, that’s what you’re aiming for.

Colour will work really well to enliven both your clothes and your complexion. Often a colour you wouldn’t initially think of works to bring out the colours in those things around it. Try things out, experiment and look around you. The natural world has all the inspiration you could possibly need. Contrasts you would never consider work beautifully together. A patch of bright orange marigolds amongst a pink rose bed shows both off to good advantage. Colours in nature are often far more daring than anything we would attempt in clothing, however if it works why not let our imaginations run and be more adventurous? Flowers, sunsets, stone and many more natural occurrences provide a myriad of colour combinations that we can take our cues from.

And finally.

The choice is out there and a jacket is the same price whether it’s in black or red. Think about what makes you look good and what makes you happy. Colour is the main aspect that will tie your wardrobe together and with a bit of thought you can make your clothes work for you, everyday. Choose well and you’ll never have another dull day.