Friday, 27 September 2013

Choosing our best colours

I know that I'm becoming slightly obsessed by colour, however it does become more important for those of us who are "a certain age".  When I was younger - and I'm sure most of you were the same - I loved experimenting with different colours and for me it was a case of the brighter the better.  Shocking pink top with bright purple mini-skirt anyone?

Apart from black that is!  Black was sophisticated, dramatic, sexy and if in doubt, like the majority of other young women, I would settle for black.  All of this was fine until I reached my forties and realised that most of the colours in my wardrobe looked better on my two daughters than on me, with my ageing complexion. Time for a re-think.

For a while I played safe and (if I'm totally honest) boring, by selecting neutrals. Please don't get me wrong when I say that a wardrobe full of safe colours like navy, grey, camel, white and the inevitable black is a bit boring. Some of my favourite bloggers have a wardrobe full of clothes like this and they are all stunning.  Many other over 60s look amazing in neutrals, though I suspect that most of them would look amazing in brighter colours too.

However once I retired I wanted to lighten up a bit and as a consequence my rainbow wardrobe evolved, full of reds, oranges, yellows, greens, blues, indigos and violets. This became more obvious when I decided to take part in Project 333 and had a wardrobe cull, getting rid of anything that didn't fit, was becoming shabby or didn't suit me any more. With a more limited wardrobe (33 items to last 3 months) it was possible to see what was actually hanging up, and it became obvious that there were loads of different colours. I had started this blog by then and was lucky enough to have many readers who were happy to give me some feedback about whether I looked better in the cooler or warmer shades. Not that they all agreed with one another!

I tend to agree with one of my regular commentators, Robyn, that on the whole warmer colours suit me, though I do get away with a few cooler shades. Robyn said recently that she thought the pale pink top wasn't my best choice, so here it is with another picture of me in a brighter pink top. I've just noticed by the way that I'm wearing the same necklace and bracelet in both photos, though with different coloured watches. What do you think? Pale or bright?

So far this post has been all about me, however the title I have given it is "Choosing our best colours". So what advice can I give all of you out there?

First of all, be aware that as we age our colouring changes, so don't assume that what suited you in your 20s and 30s will make you look fabulous in your 40s, 50s and 60s. Even if you have had a colour analysis, that was presumably done when you were younger, so you may need to re-think your wardrobe like I have done.

Be prepared to try out different colours and if possible get feedback. I chose a dark brown dress rather than the proverbial black for my 60th birthday outfit, which was on the advice of a personal shopper, and it proved a great success. Incidentally, this service was free!

I am fortunate in writing a blog and having readers who are willing to give me great advice.  If you're not a blogger, then take a good friend with you when you next go shopping. My best shopping friend is my youngest daughter Kate, who has a good eye for colour. Encourage your friend to tell you the truth - Kate always does!

Be honest with yourself. Don't go for a colour just because you've always loved it: make sure that the colour loves you too.

Remember that the right colours can take years off you and make you look fabulous even when you're in your 60s (or more). You deserve to look amazing no matter how old you are!


  1. The brighter pink is you, I think it lifts your face, if you know what I mean. Good blog I look forward to reading it

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Thanks, Sandy. Seeing the photos side by side really emphasises this I think, though admittedly the photo of the pale pink top seems slightly out of focus (I'm not a professional!) I should also add that this makes it clear that the depth of the colour is also significant. I may be able to wear pink, but not every pink looks good on me. It's a point worth remembering when trying on different colours.

  3. Computer eats my posts!

    I like the deeper pink but would like to see you compare that to a warmer pink. Having said that, I am not sure what a warmer pink looks like as I can never tell!

  4. Robin, I'm not sure either! I do have another pink sweater that I will probably include in my Autumn 33 (to replace the pale pink top no doubt!), which I should be finalising today.

  5. One blog site (and maybe Imogen as well) has said you can't tell except in comparison to another color. So I don't feel quite as color-hopeless!

    I am divesting my closet of light and bright blue which I love, but now realize has never been good on me. I know blue is a good color for me so I figured all blue would work. Now I see the lights wash me out and the brights overpower me. I've read several places that a summer should be wary of blue because it's too close to our own wave length, and now I get it. So Wedgewood blue is good, icy blue is bad.

  6. We could certainly go to extremes and wear feedsacks as a way of expressing our solidarity with people around the world who want to dress nicely but can't afford to. Not sure how that would help them though. So, I'm with you: dress to make ourselves feel wonderful, and then don't fret about it endlessly. As you said, doesn't change the character lines in my face!

    The more I've learned about how to wear colors and shapes, the better I have been feeling about myself too. And as you point out, the most important accessory is a smile (or upbeat attitude).

    I've noticed the same thing about London. My husband is British and tells me my bright colors (back when I wore very bright colors) would make me stand out when we visited. I think I would still stand out. But he said that people don't smile all the time there because it's so crowded and smiling at people is sort of invading their space. Could be, but I can't help smiling.

  7. I like the brighter pink top better, however I do notice a lot of light seems to be streaming into the picture with the lighter pink top. Perhaps another photography session using both tops again but taken one right after the other in the same location would give clearer results.