How do I know what colours suit me best?

Styling is one of the key aspects to consider ahead of a branding photoshoot. I love discussing colours and outfits with clients, not only to discuss messaging behind a particular brand, but also to establish, if the client does not already yet have a stylist, what colours will really pop in the images. Colours evoke emotion; colours also express who you are.

Seasonal colour analysis palette

Back in the 80s a book came out called Color Me Beautiful by Carole Jackson! I remember sitting on my mum’s bed, pouring over the illustrations in this book. It was amazing; it was quite simply a revolution. It claimed that every persons colouring could be broken down into one of the four seasons. I remember holding up each of the swatches in the mirror, trying to work out whether I was SPRING, SUMMER, AUTUMN or WINTER. It was huge. I was a summer child, and I remember developing allergies to certain colours, especially when they were suggested by mother, but I loved blues and purples. I was a cooler hued. Eventually certain stores started to colour their own displays according to the colours seasons and types.

That was long ago and so much written on it since then (including this great short summary which is worth a read). But ahead of a photo session, I often refer to the seasonal colour palettes as a good way to think about what colours flatter your skin tone, hair and eyes best – whether they’re have underlying warm or cool tones. What’s interesting is that almost always, you will already, even if it’s only subconsciously, know what colours suit you best. These are usually your ‘favourite’ colours. So, if you are really stuck, often your favourite tops and outfits, will already hold a clue to the colours that suit you best!

Testing the colours!

One of the best tips I’ve heard for actually finding your most complementary colours came from the Godmother of Style for Women in Business, Hilde Fossen. In a recent talk the topic she suggested selecting a number of your favourite coloured garments, and capturing selfies with each of the items in turn in front of a window. The key here is that the photo is taken in natural light, as opposed to in front of a mirror which is often lit by artificial light and can change ones perception of the true hues of the outfit.

Also, capturing the images, rather than simply looking in the mirror, means that one can compare the pictures and not get distracted. You can focus instead on how the colours actually work. Hilde suggests sending the pictures to your photographer, stylist or friend for an objective opinion.

I think this is such a simple, yet effective way of comparing colours and ensuring that ahead of a shoot, you have a selection of outfits and colours which complement and showcase you best.