Finding your best colours.

These colours suit me - what colours will suit you?
On Sunday I mentioned that I would do a post this week on wearing patterns.  Then I had the thought that before doing this post, I should talk about colours.  Because even if you wear a pattern that suits your body shape and personality, if it is in the wrong colour you won't look or feel good.

(A quick note for my U.S. readers - I use the english form of the word colour, with a u, not color).

You've probably already had the experience of falling in love with a colour on somebody else, and buying or making a garment in that colour, only to find it looks hideous on you.

So today I thought I would show you how to work out what colours might suit you.

Basically, colours fall into two groups, warm or cool.  Colours can also be light,dark, bright or muted    Most of us are have either warm or cool, although some people are a little more indeterminate.

I trained as a colour and image consultant in the 1980's.  Colour analysis has changed over the last few decades, and I am familiar with most of the ideas, but I am going to stick to basics today - just cool and warm, lighter and softer, or brighter and darker.

I'm going to demonstrate on me.  First a picture of me, not very flattering, hair pulled back and no make -up - I want to show you my colouring, wrinkles, under eye bags and so on. You will see that when I wear some colours the wrinkles and under eye bags are not so obvious.

Lets start then:
Me.  Blue eyes, fair skin with  slightly blue undertone skin, ash hair with grey streaks.
With (cool) silver and (warm) gold - left side looks better, clearer, less shadows and wrinkles.

Pink (cool/light) and apricot (warm/light).  Face looks more vibrant and less drawn with pink.

Orange (warm/dark) and pink (cool/dark) - skin looks better on pink side.
Grey (cool) and light brown (warm).  Brown drains skin of colour.
Brown (warm/dark) and Black (cool/dark). I look tired, older and more drawn in these colours.

So far, you can see that I look better in cooler colours, and the dark cool of black washes me out.

So it is likely I am look best in cooler and lighter colours.  I'm going to use a selections of greens to test this:

Cool green, softer and lighter.

Cool green, deeper.
I look better in the softer and lighter green.  Now the warmer greens:
Warm green, muted and dark
Lime green, bright, clear and light.
These colours are lovely, but don't do much for my colouring.  Now I want to have a look at my skin in the cool, soft and lighter greens again.

I look best in the second photo, in the cool, soft and light green.  So my best colours are cool, soft and light.

Cool, softer and lighter colours.
I do not look good in black and white, and when I wear these colours in real life I tend to wear a scarf or necklace in a colour that suits me.  I'll show you what I mean:
Wearing black only.

And wearing pink closer to my face.

If you wear colours that suit you you will look younger and healthier.  In colours that do not suit you, you will look older and more drained.  As you can see in the two photos of me above, I look brighter, younger, and healthier in the second photo where I am wearing a pink scarf.

If you are not sure what colours suit you, find pieces of fabric in silver, gold, pale pink, pale apricot, orange, pink.  These colours alone should give you a good idea of what range of colours would suit you.  Then follow some of the ideas above, and if you want more information or help,please leave me a comment. 

Sarah Liz>


  1. I had my colours done recently - lots of fun. I am a warm dusky deep. Love the colours and see how it all works. The problem is finding the fabric in "your" colours.

    Can't help it. I fall in love with what I fall in love with - the heart wants what the heart wants.

    I do - however - do a happy dance when it is in my colours.

    You should be able to order fabrics by colour grouping IMO.

  2. I went to a private elementary school in Detroit where I learned to spell the word "Saviour" with a "u". I was confused why other words of the same form (like honor, color, favor, neighbor etc.) weren't spelled the same way - only to learn that in some countries they are. So I started spelling those words with a "u" as learned; only recently have I begun to spell the words without the "u". I wonder why the letter is dropped in American English.

    Back to the topic...This is an interesting discussion of which I don't know how to address for myself. As BeaJay mentioned, I know of people who've had their colors done and are happy with the results. I have brown skin, black-brown hair, and dark brown eyes. Colors that have been suggested for me in the past are always dark or jewel-toned - colors that I don't think look good on me at all. As such, I just wear what I like whether it's "right" for me or not. I don't wear a lot of skin-tone browns as it looks as if I don't have any clothes on!

    1. Regarding the American spelling - I once read that America's founding fathers wished to distance themselves from the English customs, so they decided to introduce different spelling rules, the dropped 'u' being one such. Even a colonial dictionary was published very early on - I think it was Webster's?

    2. Hi L, well it looks like you have your answer from Evanabella.

      L,I'm going to comment on this on Sunday's blog, because you raise some interesting points. yes, dark can be classified as deep, but if your don't like those colours, then these won't work for you. And if you wear what you like, chances are you are instinctively picking colours that are right for you.

  3. "I don't wear a lot of skin-tone browns as it looks as if I don't have any clothes on!" haha, and the same for me with cream colors, L.

    Another aspect of this color analysis is that as your hair greys, your skin tone either changes along with it, or reflects different frequencies of light. I have grey hair, brown eyes and light skin. I look best with some contrast such as black, dark brown or bright color near my face. My hair though will reflect the colors so it sometimes slightly looks golden, or green, or pink. If I wear grey or black, my hair shines like metal which I love.

    Thank you for an inspiring post and so very helpful to all of us working to be stylish and well put together. :-)

    1. Hi Mary, yes, as people change with greying hair, different colours are more appropriate. Also skin becomes thinner, so bluish tones from blood vessels are more evident, so many people look a little cooler. This gets quite tricky for those people with very warm colouring. Some cools with grey hair look great in grey or black, but some find black impossible to wear - especially the lighter softer cools.

  4. Thank you Liz for a wonderful post.. It was amazing to see the differences of colors. I would never have thought that it would show up that much.. amazing!! Thank you for sharing.
    I can tell, that since my hair is graying , that my colors are changing somewhat..
    Have a great day..
    ps.. question for you [not on the subject]. Are we suppose to email our photos of our SAL blouses to Faye's email or post somewhere else? I sent mine in on Sunday to her email address. I may have sent it wrong?? I have another to post.. but thought I would wait and see , if I am posting correctly.. [old people and computers, ha]

    1. Hi, Thank you, glad you enjoyed it - and yes, colours will change a bit as you change. I'll add a post on Sunday about this, as two of you have mentioned it.

      Faye often goes around blogs and finds the pictures herself and uploads them. She did ask people to email them originally - her email is (I think). You can find it on her blog. Or just post a comment for her.

  5. This is a wonderful post, full of wisdom ... I tend to use colors without looking if they feel good to my skin ... I'll be more careful from now on ..
    Dear friend, there is a reward on my blog waiting for you, if you want to pick up it ...

  6. That's so funny, I tend to look good in some of the same colours as you I think! Thanks for the explanation. Do you use the season system? Years ago my mother took me to a colour consultant and it appears I'm a summer. Which kind of summer I don't know. Purples, blues and cool greens like turquoise and teal are looking best on me apparently. I can't have too light colours and other colours should be muted. My hair is medium brown and my eyes are green, but I did mess up my best colours by dying my hair with henna.

    1. Hi Elise, Yes, this is the season system. Don;t get too hung up on which summer - there are so many variations. Some summers are closer to winter, but really, its simpler to say, stick to the cool colours you know you look good in - and given you have quite a depth of contrast, then the colours you mention would look good, and the light colours would be too pale. Don't worry about the henna, it will grow out eventually!

  7. Very interesting. I should probably figure out what I look best in; however, I love black, grey, brown, etc. That doesn't mean it looks the best on me though.

    1. Hi, Black, grey and brown are great neutrals to build a wardrobe with, and quite practical as well. It's good to know what colour to wear close to your face if black, brown and grey do not suit you. I'll talk more about colour in later posts.

  8. I got a book on how to do this, It seemed pointless me making clothes for myself, spending all that time if they didnt suit me. But strangely enough I went to for coffee/cakes with 4 girlfriends and we did our colour analysis with the book, had a laugh in the process. If I remember rightly I am cool clear, definitely no orange/yellow tones.

  9. Hi Louise - I agree, but it is difficult finding the right colours even in fabric sometimes. Yes, you look like you have very cool colouring - the high contrast black and white looks good on you.

  10. I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. Thanks...
    Pendant Lights


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