I have never given a huge amount of thought to which colours suits me when it comes to buying clothes.
I usually tend to be focused on the shape of them and what flatters my body, but for my friend’s Hen Party last week we had a 3 hour a colour and style session as our activity on the Saturday… and it was really great!
Joan Cashman, who runs the Colour & Image Academy in Cork came to the house we had rented and chatted to us for the three hours about colours, styles, shapes, makeup and skincare. Here’s how we got on:
1. Style Categories
The first thing Joan did was get us to fill out questionnaires about our own personal style. This was like one of those glossy magazine quizzes where you circle what applies to you and then count up how many A’s, B’s, C’s etc that you have.
It turned out that I was a mixture of a very simple effortless style, with a creative edge. In my case, my creative side was more of a ‘rock chick’, than boho, which makes sense as I tend to wear a lot of prints (especially stripes), denim, leather, loose t-shirts, Nike’s, and retro jewellery (my Casio watch <3). My Pinterest board will give you a good idea what I’m coveting for spring / summer if you’re interested.
2. Colour Analysis
Next up, Joan went through all of us individually and picked out what colour palettes suited us best.
It turns out that a lot of my friends fit into the same category of colours so we didn’t get to see the full spectrum of colour but from what I could gather people are either cool or warm toned… and within those there are various degrees of tones, categorised by the seasons (spring, summer, autumn, winter) and phrases such as (warm, soft, clear, light etc.)
Joan explained that wearing the correct colour can do a lot for you – your skin, your hair, your complexion – but if you get it wrong, “the colour wears you”.
I wouldn’t have thought that was true until I saw certain tones against my skin and hair. After a bit of trial and error Joan (and the group) reckoned I am a ‘Warm Spring’.
Warm Spring people tend to have warm hair colour, so golden blonde, light golden brown, strawberry blonde, copper etc.
I dye my hair, so I wondered if that would make it more difficult to categorise me, but it doesn’t matter how neutral I dye my hair, my coppery / golden undertones show through which I think Joan picked up on very fast.
Warm Spring’s also tend to have bluey / green eyes which I have! And again, I had fake tan on, so I worried that it might skew the colour analysis but the tan was fairly light and only a shade or two different to my own skin tone.
3. My Colours
Once we all had our colours done, Joan explained which colours suit us best:
Best Neutral Tones: Cream & Ivory, Any shade of brown (especially golden brown), Army Greens (especially moss greens), Navy, Camel, Stone (everyone can wear stone apparently)
Worst Neutral Tones: Greys (except charcoal), Black – (BUT.. if you do want to wear colours that don’t necessarily suit you, accessorising with good accent colours will help)
Best Accent Colours: Midtone blues (cornflour blue, sapphire), Purple (everyone can wear purple apparently), Salmon Pink, Yellowy Browny reds, Tomato Red, Rust, Terracotta, Mustard, Amber, Turquoise & Teal
4. Body Shape
Once we had our colours sorted it was on to body shape. SO many of my friends were ‘neat’ or ‘full’ hourglass, which is nice to see we’re all babes 😉
I was told I was a ‘slight pear’ which had me jumping for joy! I have always known I was pear shaped and haven’t been a fan of it, which is not to offend anyone who is a Pear. I’m just acutely aware that society and fashion would favour the hourglass shape over mine and because of this I have used my knowledge of being a Pear to help me shop for what suits.
In recent years, though I’ve worked hard to enhance my upper body (in particular my shoulders and arms) and slim down my waist to create a more balanced shape. And in the last year or so I’ve moved away from trying to slim my bottom half and set about enhancing my curves! (If you’re wondering how I did this… it’s all down to weight training and lifting heavy).
Here are some of the tips Joan gave me to enhance my shape.
Tips for Pear-Shaped Bodies:
- Avoid patterns on your bottom half
- Avoid shiny, clingy fabrics, especially on your bottom half (crepe, elastic or non wrinkly fabrics are good)
- Go for A-line, tulip or skater skirts, or tea dresses
- Snoods are your friend!
I also found out I have a long body & short legs! Who knew!?
Tips for Long Body / Short Legs:
If you want to look taller, stick to one or two colours. Either go for the same colour jacket & pants with an accent colour top OR go for the same colour for your top and pants and have a different colour jacket.
- Empire line helps balance your body (drop waist dresses aren’t great)
- High waist is best
- Shorter length jackets are best – Make sure it’s shorter than the sleeve length.
5. The Verdict?
If you’re looking for a really good group activity for a hen or birthday.. I would totally recommend something like this. I’m pretty inspired to go shopping now and add a bit of colour to my primarily black, white and grey wardrobe (especially since she told me grey isn’t really my colour).
When I go on my shopping trip I will report back and let you know how I got on with my colour suggestions.