Monday, 27 April 2015

Be the best you ever!

As well as writing my own blog - written for fellow over 60s, though under 60s are always welcome - I am an avid reader of other blogs aimed at over 40s and upwards. Many of them are written by professional bloggers whilst others are, like mine, the random thoughts of keen amateurs. There are some gorgeous looking and very stylish women out there, who always inspire me even if I cannot hope to emulate them! It's important to create your own style if you want to look your best. I love many of the outfits that Inès de la Fressange wears, however she is a tall, slender ex-model whereas I am short and not-so-slender, so I need to dress for my individual body rather than try to copy Inès.

What I am hoping for with this blog is to convince my readers that, even though we're older and not as slender as we were, even though we have a few grey hairs and lots of wrinkles, and even though we are over 60, we can still aim to look our best. We need to create outfits that flatter us, that reflect our personality and that we love wearing.

In my pursuit of becoming the best Sue Walker possible, I have tried colour analysis with the House of Colour, Dressing my Truth and finally the 7 Steps to Style system. It's been an interesting journey, especially with the different options I've been given for colours. I'm warm in two systems but cool in another one. I've posted photos of myself in both warm and cool colours for readers to comment on and even they couldn't agree. Click here for a few photos showing me in both warm and cool colours and see what you think.

First up is "Dressing Your Truth", which recommends that you choose colours and styles based on your energy type. According to their system I'm a bright and animated type one so I should wear clothes like the two tops and bright scarf shown in the photos below. They have an on-line store where you can buy clothes true to your type, however to be honest many of the clothes were too fussy or cutesy for me and I didn't like all of their colours. Colour-wise, type one is closest to Spring in seasonal colour analysis, however they did have some cool colours as well as the warmer tints. What I liked about DYT is the way that they encouraged you to be true to your own nature and appreciate who you are.

My DYT colours
DYT green top
DYT top and scarf

Seasonal colour analysis has changed a lot since I was first analysed as a Winter many years ago. When I booked a colour session with House of Colour I was expecting to be told that I was a different season, especially after so many people approved of me wearing warmer colours, however the verdict was a Jewel Winter. I think the key factor was my dark hair, which was one reason that many of the lighter Spring-like colours of DYT didn't look right on me. Here I am wearing a Kettlewell top from the Jewel Winter palette, in one of my best colours.


Some of my winter colours are shown above, with my best colours highlighted by **. The common factor between being either a Jewel Winter (House of Colour) or Enigmatic (7 Steps) is the fact that I have dark hair and eyes, so deep colours suit me. However a Winter looks best in cool shades while an Enigmatic looks best in warm shades. Confused? I'm not surprised - so was I! I am fairly close to the border between warm and cool though.

I also went for a style consultation with House of Colour, which I thought was very good value. We not only established that I'm a Natural Gamine, which was based on my answers to a questionnaire plus my consultant Fiona's input, but my body proportions, body shape and facial features were also considered, as was my lifestyle. This part of the consultation covered similar ground to the 7 Steps to Style system and this holistic approach does help you to create more flattering outfits that suit your lifestyle and your personality.

In the end I decided that the 7 Steps to Style system was the most comprehensive and enlightening colour and style system of them all. I have described the 7 steps in some depth in my previous posts, but when it came to Step 3: Your Colours what impressed me was not only the fact that Imogen's system has 18 different colour groups (I'm Enigmatic, because my colouring is warm, smoky and deep) but the way she personalised each colour swatch. I had some colours that other Enigmatics didn't have in their swatches and vice versa. When I look at the colours in my personal Enigmatic swatch, there are very few that don't appeal to me, and I have eighteen signature colours all of which I love and which are very flattering.

The knowledge that I gained through doing the 7 Steps helps me understand why the two DYT outfits in particular don't really suit me.  The green in the first photo isn't too bad, though it's not quite warm enough, but the style doesn't flatter my H shape figure and the proportions aren't right. The second photo highlights the fact that colour alone is only a small part of looking your best. I need high value contrast but low colour contrast. Basically this means I look better in monochromatic outfits or neutral outfits with one colour, ensuring that I have a mix of light and deep colours. There's definitely a high value contrast with the light coloured trousers and darker top, but have you noticed three different colours? The darker top against the light trousers cuts me in half, making me look broader and shorter than I would like and finally, the wide trousers - need I say more?

The third outfit is better than the two above it, however the blue is a bit cool. I'm only just on the warm side so I can get away with it, especially if I wear a lipstick that's warm or a scarf or necklace in the right colours. Most of us can't afford to discard an entire wardrobe just because the colours don't blend with our swatch so the solution is to choose make-up that flatters us and buy a couple of scarves or necklaces in flattering colours to wear near our face. My black jeans will stay in my wardrobe until they become faded, but I'll ensure that the tops I wear with them are in the right colours to compensate.

The cardigan I'm wearing below is what Imogen refers to as a "hero piece": any garment that's not a basic and that has some detail, colour or pattern that makes it the centre of attention. I love the fact that there are so many warm colours to choose from in the pattern when I'm deciding what to wear with it. In this case I selected brown and wore it with a brown necklace, top and jeggings (plus brown shoes that you can't see), thus creating a column of colour, which has the effect of making me appear taller and slimmer. What's not to like?

I'm wearing the same brown jeggings in the next photo with a soft teal top, plus a necklace and bracelet that blend well with both my top and my jeggings.

You can see from these photos that looking your best involves much more than just wearing the colours that suit you. It may have taken me more than sixty years to realise this - I'm a slow learner! - but I honestly believe that I now have the tools to truly look my best. What do you think?


  1. I really liked those last two looks. Congratulations for sticking with this and figuring it out. I studied physics in college with great grades all those decades ago, yet all this color stuff makes my head spin. Literally. I think I'll go find some double derivatives to work, to clear my head. Loved the blog.

    1. Thanks, Linda. I only just scraped a pass in my Physics 'O' level (much to my teacher's amazement!) so I'll leave you to your double derivatives. I have to admit that, though I've learnt a lot, I still need the help of the 7 Steps to Style facebook group at times. The other members soon point me in the right direction when my outfits aren't quite right!

  2. I'm also a slow learner but I think you've got it now. The blue Kettlewell seems a tad smoky to me and I like it on you a lot--but perhaps it just reads that way on my monitor.

    I agree that Imogen's real gift is being able to teach us about all the elements that go into personal style. Getting it all down, and putting all the pieces together is not easy for some of us (me!) but I'm getting there. Which is to say, I'm a ways behind you but I'm inspired by your progress and trying to catch up.

    1. Robin, the blue Kettlewell top came into the winter category, but I think it suits me because most deep colours are good on me. I've noticed that some Kettlewell colours come under several categories anyway.

      Also, I've noticed how well you're doing and I don't think you're that far behind me!

  3. Sue, I've been following your blog for a while now and I think Imogen's choice for you is perfect. You wear these colours and you look harmonious. The DYT colours are to bright and tend to wear you. I have low value- medium colour according to Imogen's site, and need to transition my wardrobe to reflect this. Then maybe I will look as harmonious as you do.

  4. Sharon, I fully agree with what you say about the DYT colours, though what struck me most when I looked at these photos was how unflattering the outfits looked in general!

    Imogen's site is a mass of really helpful information and you can learn so much by studying it. I've spotted that her latest post is for A-shapes and am hoping that she will post a similar one for H-shapes (like me!) very soon.

    What I'm trying to do in my blog is to inspire other women along the lines of "If I can do it, so can you!"

  5. Sue, thanks for this. The first too photos we seem to lose you - you're face doesn't come forward. One more question about DYT. Type 1 is considered to lead with the Sanguine temperament. Does that piece fit for you?

  6. That's an interesting question Anita! I've just had a look at the 4 temperaments and in particular the Sanguine one. Some of it fits me, but some of it doesn't! When I was a teenager, I remember being shy and introverted. More recently i was with a group of Spanish women, who told me that I was definitely extroverted! I suspect that I'm one of the opposing blends.

  7. Sue, thank you for sharing about your journey. I have tried dressing your truth and miss smarty pants and they keep telling I am winter with light skin. I joined last fall and I am still learning. The girls on here say I am war a. No one has ever said that to me. I am saving for my 7 steps my hubby does not believe in this program. I post photos and get good feed back Ruth Essex has been a great help to me. I hope someday I can post about my transformation from eyes.

  8. Thanks, Sharon. I'd never heard about miss smarty pants so just googled it! I hope that you have the chance to do the 7 steps however EYS is also very helpful. I'm planning to return to it to try out some new outfits, using knowledge gained through 7 Steps. When I can find the time, that is!