Tools of the Fashion Stylist Trade - Color Analysis
One of the main tools I use as a fashion stylist is color analysis. Due to our individual natural coloring, certain hues DO look better on us than others. However, too often color is the last thing we consider when buying clothes. But I say, "Why look great when you can look fabulous!" Several years ago I discovered this amazingly simple system for determining skin tones...Spectrum Determining Cards by Fashion Academy. It has made my job SO much easier. With it I can direct my clients to clothing, makeup, and hair colors that are incredibly flattering.
Bear with me...this is a little technical, but here's how it works. All skin tones worldwide are divided into six spectrums based on how much yellow, red, or blue is in the skin's undertone. There are three warm spectrums and three cool. As you can see above, each of the 6 Spectrum Cards is shaded from light to dark representing a range of skin tones. On the right side of each card are all the eye colors that appear in people with that range of skin tones. (Strange, but true!) On the left side are natural hair colors that appear with that range of skin tones. You simply match the client's skin, eye, and hair color to the card to determine their spectrum. Then each spectrum has a separate checkbook size palette that shows which colors (VERY wide range) will look best on that client. It takes about 15 minutes to do the analysis and it is highly accurate on all skin tones. It easily beats any other system I have ever seen for simplicity of use and accuracy.
When I shop for a client, I use the palette as a guide and shopping goes much more quickly because I'm not wasting time looking at garments that will not be flattering to their natural coloring. It is invaluable!!! I carry my own personal palette with me always.
Here's a simple method you can try at home for determining whether your skin undertone is warm or cool. Place a gold and a silver bracelet/watch across your forearm. If the gold brings out warmth in your skin tone and the silver doesn't, then you are probably warm.
Keep in mind that everybody can wear some "version" of almost every color. But, here are a few suggestions.
Warm color families: tomato red, golden yellow, orange, royal blue, kelly and moss green, brown, etc.
Cool color families: Wine and burgandy, lemon yellow, pink, blue-gray, blue-green, rose brown, etc.
Color families that look good on all skin tones: periwinkle blue, coral, aqua/turquoise/teal, and off-white
The number of colors that flatter you is infinite! So, why wear an unflattering color? Next time you find the perfect blouse consider the color. If it comes in several colors, choose the one best for you.
(Contact Fashion Academy at firstname.lastname@example.org for a consultant near you.) Photos courtesy of Fashion Academy and John Holland.