Are you confident in the colors that you wear? Do the colors you choose enhance the glow of your skin? Do they work with your skin tone and not against it?
Here’s how I discovered the confidence to wear the colors that suit me. But first I had to learn that, because of my low self-esteem, I actually shied away from those colors and hid in colors that did me no favors.
In the mid-80s I did the Color Me Beautiful chart which helps you determine which colors and shades suit your skin tone and hair color best. These colors are allocated according to the seasons, so you are color co-ordinated as a summer, a spring, an autumn or a winter.
I did the chart when I was 18 and, with a friend, determined that I was an autumn. Hence, I gravitated to the autumn colors and wore browns, khakis, neutral shades, beiges and creams. I even wore yellow thinking that it suited me.
In my twenties I inherited a 1950s vintage cardigan in what can best be described as a crisp lighter blue. It was vastly different from the other colors in my wardrobe and I didn’t wear it often. However, because I had it, there were times I would wear it in winter and early spring.
Wearing it one day my husband turned to me and he said, "You look great in that color. You should wear it more often." I was so surprised. I thought, “This color? Blue's not my color. How can I look great in a color that's not mine? I'm only wearing the cardigan because I have it.” Evidently, I didn't believe him.
Not long after that I was at work, wearing the same cardigan, when one of my colleagues turned to me and said, "You look great in that color, you must be a winter." I was so surprised; how did he know about the Color Me Beautiful chart? I didn’t think men would interest themselves in color to that extent. I was doubly surprised that not only would he know about it, but that he would even notice.
He saw it, my husband saw it, and I didn't see it. And so that got me thinking.
What if I am a winter? What if I can wear the jewel colors, the emerald greens, the blues, even a hot pink or stark white? What if I can pull off the cool reds. Red has always been a favorite color of mine, but I was wearing red that had warm autumn undertones.
What if I had misdiagnosed myself all those years ago?
This next story cemented it for me.
At the same company’s Christmas social get together, the boss's wife bought all the women on staff beautiful scarves. As each woman unwrapped her gift, I loved the colors they got. One got bold red, another got a dramatic black, and yet another got a hot pink scarf. When I unfolded my parcel and opened it up, there lying before me was a beige scarf.
Beige. I was so disappointed. Beige, is that how they saw me?
Yep, that's how they saw me.
Why was I so surprised? That's how I presented myself. Those were the colors I wore. That was my way of being in the world.
I put those three stories together, my husband's story, my colleague's story and the gift of the scarf, and I realized that was not who I wanted to be. I wanted to be brighter, bolder, more adventurous.
Now that doesn't mean that if you're an autumn in your coloring that you are boring or dull. Quite the opposite. I have a friend who's an autumn, and she looks amazing in those autumn colors. She really rocks them, but I was hiding in those colors.
In light of this, I started to change my wardrobe. Right out the gate, I bought t-shirts in bolder colors. I have also revamped the colors in my wardrobe by deliberately choosing three key colors and five accent colors in line with my winter skin tone. I have been able to build a solid almost-capsule wardrobe as a result. The best part is that each time I reach into my cupboard I know that my clothes are going to work well together, and I am going to feel confident in my look.
That's my story with color. What is yours? Do the colors you wear show you off at your best?
If you look at the colors you wear, are you hiding? Remember too, we don’t just hide in muted or dark colors. The reverse could be true too. You could be hiding in overtly bold colors so as to portray confidence that you don't truly feel.
If you would like to breathe a fresh spark into your self-esteem and enhance the glow of your skin, you may not need to look any further than your closet!