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!!)

But 

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!




21 comments:

  1. You are gorgeous darling and those colours look absolutely fabulous on you. I can't wait to see you in those yellows (ochres??). Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Ooh thank you *blush*, you have made my day!

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  2. How amazing! I never really took the time to learn my colors I just know I've been told I'm a "winter" (pale skin, dark hair! lol) and "jewel" tones look good on me. LOL. Personal preference has dictated all my buying. I will have to look into this more.
    That purple looks great and I'm glad you found colors to make you look/feel better.
    Chronic illness sucks and can sure drag you down. I too am tired of being told I look "tired".
    Here's to a whole new color palette of sewing for you!

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    1. Personal preference is great if you feel confident with it...I was no longer feeling confident in my choices. It was lovely to have it confirmed that the changes I was beginning to make naturally were the right ones!

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  3. That's awesome! I know precisely what you mean about people telling you that. Interestingly, I get it more in modern fashions than when I wear my usual vintage attire. You really, really look gorgeous!!! Purple is for you big time!

    Oh my goodness, I have loved the original 1980s Color Me Beautiful book ever since I was, well, a little kid in the 80s and early 90s. So mad for my mother's copy was I, that I quite literally read and reread it until some of the pages were falling out. I "draped" all my friends and schoolmates were game, too. To this day, I still whip out my copy every couple of years or so and reread it. It's just such a fun, creative, delightful book. I love that concept at its heart is still going strong - and continually to genuinely help people - all these years later.

    ♥ Jessica

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    1. If someone tells me I look ill, I seem to immediately feel worse! I'm glad I wasn't the only teen obsessed with this book. We had such fun back then with our clothes and fashion, when there really wasn't much else to worry about. I think having my colours 'done' helped put me back in touch with that carefree youth a little bit!

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  4. I have followed these rules for 30 yrs- yes I had my 'colours' done in the 80's. I am a summer. When folks told me I looked sickly in black there was a reason. I base my wardrobe on navy, burgundy, some grey and lots of pastels. I am always on the search for navy shoes :-). It has helped me with my fabric choices -everything goes with everything. Also I don't have a huge wardrobe.

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    1. You were very lucky to have found what suits you so early.I truly wish I had found the correct guidelines for me earlier - it would have saved so much money on outfits that ultimately just did not feel like 'me', and as I mentioned I am not naturally imaginative when it comes to colour. Guess I will have to make up for lost time! Btw, I hear you on navy shoes, they are very hard to come by. I wear neutrals and tans instead and really love their versatility.

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  5. I think there is a huge benefit to looking like you feel well! My mom had a color consultation and I spent hours as a kid pouring over the Color Me Beautiful book. (As a kid, I just liked looking at all of the color palettes.) I think I'm most likely a winter, although I dabble a bit in the saturated autumn tones and avoid the wintery pastels like the plague. I think saving time and money choosing fabric and clothing is another boon, in addition to looking healthy. You look lovely in your new colors and I hope they help reinforce wellness in your life.

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    1. Thank you! I agree. If someone tells me I look well, I immediately feel happier and livelier. I believe there is a big link between mind and body, for example when my illness was at it's worst I stopped taking care of my appearance (no make-up, all dark colours). I do view the colour analysis and branching out a bit more as part of re-engaging with life :) Obviously we were all doing the same thing with the Colour Me Beautiful book. It must have sold millions! I can't remember if there was such an emphasis on skin tones back in the day, as I seem to recall it was my dark hair and dark eyes that convinced me I was a 'winter'. How wrong can a girl be!

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  6. Oh boy - I recognise that book as well (I'm another 1980's teenager!!) I have to say that I am (and have always been) fascinated by this process, and have only heard good things. I will have to look up a representative locally and make a visit in the New Year. I do try and take notice when I get a compliment - but as you can't really give someone a questionnaire (you know - what made you say I looked good today? Is it the colour of the jacket? The style? etc!!)

    I'm just a little nervous that some of my favorite colours might be ones that I shouldn't be wearing . . . . but I like what you are saying about looking healthier - who doesn't want to look healthier?!

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  7. Oh, I do hope you decide to book a colour consultation, I would love to see the results! It would make a great Christmas present, too. It was such a treat to take a few hours out of life that were just about meeee! I was lucky to get a recommendation for someone who had been doing colour analysis for 8 years. You might like to ask if they've been doing it a while before you book - I think her experience with lots of different colour types was so valuable.
    I was worried about exactly the same thing as you, and in fact it was true that some of the colours I had always worn were not right. It was quite a surprise, yet I quickly got used to the idea. I was worried about waste as well but there are ways round this. The dye bucket is one, another is wearing a scarf near your face that incorporates your 'best' colours with the ones in your non-best top or jacket. It's the colours near the face that make the biggest difference, although it's lovely to have an all over harmonious look. As I mentioned, it's something I am aiming for, but I still intend to use up stash fabric that isn't 100% right if I love it and think it will incorporate OK into what I own. I will admit to selling some of my stash on Ebay and giving quite a few black clothes to charity after my colour consultation, though!

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  8. Thank you for the honest review, that's helpful! I think you look very beautiful in that purple!

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  9. I'm a believer too! I had my colours done in my late teens and am an Autumn too. I fought it for years (murky green? yuk!) but I embraced it eventually :) You look great in that purple, it is true!

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    1. I am intrigued to find you have had your 'colours done' as you are my colour guru - I love the combinations you come up with! I notice you choose a little black and white, too. They are hard to live without completely, but you prove it's all in how it's done.

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  10. My mom had that book, too! I spent hours on it and figured I was a summer. But now with different descriptions on the internet (and subdivided seasons now), I think I'm more like a warm spring. Experimenting with the colors is how I went about it, since I didn't get an official consult. I think it makes the shopping experience easier because you can quickly dismiss whole categories of items and not waste time looking at them.

    And I agree with the others, the purple does seem like an excellent choice for you.

    I hear you on the poorly-thought-out-comments! My son has a couple of chronic illnesses, so I see his doctors a lot. One of them tells me every time he sees me that I 'look tired'. Oof. I've tried to look especially alert whenever we have an appointment!

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  11. How interesting that you have been curious about the colour analysis system, too. I think sewers have such a vast choice (not just shopping from what's available in the shops), it's probably extra-useful for us.
    I am sorry to hear your son has chronic illnesses, too. I've only been unwell for 4 years fortunately and am still having some medical tests, but I am absolutely resolved to do as much as I possibly can in life, and making great friends who share my interests is part of that :). I hope your son is coping well with his. Sometimes I am sure people see what they think they should (e.g. Mum = tired) and I confess I have been tempted a few times to snap back, "You don't look so great yourself!"!!

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  12. This is my first visit to your blog and I'm so glad I came. I've been toying with the idea of getting my colours "done" for some time and now I'm sold. You do look radiant in purple. I'll be booking a consultation this year for sure. Thank you for sharing and I do wish you wellness this year.

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    1. This was such a lovely comment to receive :) I really hope you have a good experience with your colour consultation, and find a consultant you like. I'm sure if you have been thinking about it for a while, you've already considered the benefits, and if you can embrace the results (which as I describe may not be what you expect!) you will certainly reap the rewards. If you do book a consultation, I would love to hear how it goes, although of course you are not at all obliged to tell me! If you do want to, you can leave a comment here or email me phillylincoln@gmail.com. Very best wishes - I hope you have fun with your colours!

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