Color Me Bad

By Leslie Gonzales, a.k.a. MissusSmartyPants eDiets Contributor
Updated: August 25, 2007

Have you ever had a day when you put on whatever? Time was tight and you just flew out the door in a mad rush — and the rest of the day never went right. You figured you were having a bad day because you never got it together, but did you ever stop and think it may be the color you were wearing?

Perhaps coworkers asked if you were feeling alright, and when you looked in the mirror, you looked drained and dreary. Wearing the wrong colors can do this to you.

 Colors have energy. The wrong colors can make you look dull and lifeless. The right colors make you glow and let your true beauty shine. When chosen correctly, colors can help you look vibrant and young. When you wear unflattering colors, they can make you appear sickly, old and tired. Just as it is with styles, don’t wear colors that are not flattering.

here are ways to incorporate your best colors into your wardrobe when the current fashion colors don’t suit you. The best way is with accessories. When you wear scarves, jewelry, belts and purses that are in your colors, you will show personal style and look great.

Learn which colors and tones are the most flattering for you before you make any purchases.

Colors have a remarkable affect psychologically on our mood. Colors can affect how you feel or how others perceive you. If you wear a pretty, vibrant red blouse, you will look energetic and have an air of authority. If on the other hand, you are wearing a dark brown blouse, you may feel more subdued or reserved.

Colors can also be used to camouflage your body’s imperfections or highlight your assets. Wearing a dark neutral pair of pants or skirt will help minimize a larger bottom. Or bring attention to a certain part of the body by wearing a lighter or brighter color. Dark colors recede or absorb light, while light colors jump out or reflect light.

When wearing the right colors you will naturally feel more confident.

If you think you already know your best colors, it can’t hurt to re-assess them and see if they are still pleasing on you. Your skin can become more sallow with age, and your natural hair color may change, too. It may be time to “tweak” your colors a bit.

The color-by-season theory is not an exact science, but it is a useful tool. These questions will help you select your “seasonal” colors:

1. The two main undertones that exist are cool undertones and warm undertones — or yellow and blue-based. Which undertones match your natural skin tone the best?

2. The next thing to keep in mind when selecting your complimentary colors is the depth of the colors. How intense are the colors? Do you look better in deep colors or are lighter colors better on you?

3. Is your appearance overwhelmed by bright shades or does your skin really come alive with brighter shades? Bright, clear coloring is found on women with a high contrast in hair, skin and eyes. If you are muted, you are fair and there is less contrast with hair, eye and skin color, and your coloring is softer and muted.

4. Should you listen to others? The good news is most people naturally select colors that appeal to them and also look good on them. Don’t let the fashion industry or your mother’s favorite colors dictate your choices. Pick the colors you instinctively like!

There are not always straight-forward answers to these questions. Sometimes you can be a bit of two seasons. For instance, you can be primarily a “winter,” but also be able to successfully wear some of the summer shades that are deeper in color. However, you may not be able to wear the lighter “summer” muted shades without looking dull. In other words, it is common to have some overlap.

When trying to find your season and color intensity, ask yourself while holding up different colors (one with warm undertones and another with cool undertones) next to your face: Do the warmer seasons (spring and autumn) suit me, or are the cooler seasons (winter and summer) more pleasing next to my face? Also, to determine your colors, ask yourself if bright colors or softer tones are better on you.

How to tell if you are a warm seasons — autumn or spring?
If your coloring is warm and clear, you are a spring. Springs have golden undertones and creamy white or peachy complexions. They have strawberry blonde, straw-colored hair, or they are redheads with freckles, rosy cheeks and green or blue eyes.

Springs can wear warm and light colors such as salmon, coral, lime, light moss green, apricot, bright yellow, light aqua, light gray and camel.

If your coloring is warm and muted with deep, rich shades, you are an autumn. Autumns have golden undertones and often are redheads or brunettes with brown eyes with golden flecks (their eyes have more contrast compared to the fairer springs).

Autumns do best with yellow undertones and rich, earthy colors such as camel, most browns, golden yellow, moss green, olive, mustard yellow and terracotta.

Are you a cool season — winter or summer?
If your coloring is cool and clear, you are a winter. Winters have blue or pink undertones with fair skin — olive or dark. Winters are often brunettes with dark eyes. Most African-Americans and Asians are in this category.

The primary colors and vibrant jewel tones are what winters look best in: black, navy, charcoal gray (for neutrals), hot pink, fuchsia, purple, periwinkle blue, icy blue, pure white, clear or blue-red and royal blue. Avoid oranges, medium browns and camel.

If your coloring is cool and muted, you are a summer. Summers have blue or pinkish undertones. They have pale, pink skin and have natural blonde hair or are brunettes with fair eyes.

Colors that are not overwhelming and strong are best for summers. Pick pastels such as soft pinks, rose, light blue, periwinkle blue, soft white, grey, lavender, peachy pink, clear red, chocolate brown. Avoid black next to the face.

Finding your seasons can take some experimentation, but it is well worth it. Instead of impulsively buying clothes, you’ll know if a color is right before you bring it home. Selecting your wardrobe in the right styles along with the right colors will help you stand out.

Leslie Gonzales, a.k.a. MissusSmartyPants, helps women by accessing their body types and building personal profiles to help each woman dress her best. Check out her Web site for more information,

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