Friday, 13 December 2013

Happy Christmas, Friends!

Happy Christmas to you all - you have brightened my life throughout 2013!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Colour Analysis with House of Colour - A Brief Review, One Year On

Confession: it's taken me almost a year to write this post. But I am going to mitigate that by saying that the time lapse has given me a chance to fully digest my experience in order to share it with you. (That's a great excuse to remember for the future!)

Some of you might remember a big craze for finding out your 'season' back in the '80's. As teenagers, my friends and I wasted spent many a fruitless hour trying to decipher 'our' seasons. I even bought this 'Colour Me Beautiful' book, and decided that with my pale skin and dark hair I was most likely a Winter.

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The book I was devoted to as a teen

That's probably why, when a neighbour had her colours 'done' last year, it stirred a whole lot of memories for me. Also, her appearance changed dramatically for the better. She looked so healthy. I procrastinated for a while but the results were there, and in the end curiosity got the better of me. Not only that but after a tough few years health-wise I felt in need of a treat - something just for me. My neighbour recommended the 'House of Colour' consultant she had used, and as she was local I finally took the plunge.

You might be familiar with what happens at one of these consultations but in case not, briefly - you have quite an in-depth talk about what's brought you there and what your 'lifestyle' is. I talked about my health issues and also how I'd recently found myself drawn to earthy tones after years of dressing in black, grey and navy. Before I made any more investments - especially in sewing time - I really wanted to know if I was heading down the right path. (For more information about the 'House of Colour' process and services, go here. I had the £99 Colour Analysis.)

You have to go without any make-up and your hair and clothes are covered with a white cloth. I can honestly say I have never looked as ugly, which I now realise was probably a clue in itself!

The whole concept of what 'season' you are depends on diagnosing your skin tone. I was amazed to learn that my 'pale' skin was actually quite golden with yellow undertones (rather than blue). My consultant draped many different colours around my face to determine this - for example, jade versus mushy pea green. I mention that colour duo in particular as that's when I had my epiphany - I could really see that the mushy pea green 'lit up' my complexion while the jade drained all the colour out and made me look lined, tired and spotty (sigh). Warm skin tones are either Autumn or Spring, while cool ones are Summer or Winter.

I found my final Autumn diagnosis quite shocking, I had barely any of the suggested colours in my wardrobe as I had spent a lifetime dressing in bright, cool and contrasting colours, even getting married in pure white. That's probably why I thought my skin was pale!

You are given quite a lot of materials to take away after the consultation. The most useful for me has been the wallet pictured below:

It's double sided and can be used as a book or opened out as in the third photo. It has all my absolute 'best' colours in it, 36 in all, but there are many more in between shades I can wear well, too. It's just a guide.

There is a bit more to the process than I've described, but as this isn't an advert for colour consultations I'm going to skip to the useful bit.

Was it worth having a Colour Consultation?

Yes for me, as:

I learnt what suited me, this has saved time and money. I can dismiss fabrics/garments that won't suit me quickly and I have made very few 'mistakes' since the consultation. It's also helped with my quest to get more from less when it comes to clothes, as somehow all the colours look lovely together even in unexpected combinations.

I also know what doesn't suit me. There is no black, white, pale blue, pink or grey in my pallette. The idea of living without black or white clothes has been the most challenging to get my head around. There are some events I go to where not to wear black would be disrespectful, so I keep a handful of smart black clothes at the back of my closet for these occasions. (The colour analyst suggested basing my wardrobe on dark brown, but to me this can never be as smart as black.) I base the rest of my wardrobe on navy now and I love it. Blue and white were also my favourite summer colour combination (cool and crisp). I am still using up some fabrics that don't fit my new palette (as in this post of white tops) but I probably won't buy much more white. I am learning to love the alternatives.

I have more colours to choose from now. There are colours in my palette I would never have looked at. Colours that actually make me feel pretty (which I rarely felt before), like my newly discovered favorite warm purple.

Wearing and loving some of my new favorite colours during Me-Made-May 2013

I look well. I can't emphasise enough the positive psychological benefit this has been to me as I have a couple of chronic illnesses, and was previously always being told how ill I looked. (Note to well meaning people - this doesn't help someone who is chronically ill!!)


There is no going back. Once I had seen the effects wearing a colour that complemented my complexion had on my appearance, I only wanted to wear those colours (no-one wants to look worse, am I right?!). I might see clothes I adore but accept they look better on others. I also really wished I had got married in cream or ivory instead of white. That was a little bit sad as I probably could have looked better.

What do you think? Are colour consultations a waste of time and money, or would you be tempted to have one? Maybe you've had a colour consultation yourself. Did you find it useful? I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences!

Happy sewing, 'til next time!