Thursday,22 June, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1340, (13 - 19 April 2017)
Thursday,22 June, 2017
Issue 1340, (13 - 19 April 2017)

Ahram Weekly

If colours could speak

Spring is a time to experiment with a more colourful wardrobe, says Amira Elhamy

 If colours could speak
If colours could speak

With the spring approaching, and almost everything wearing colour, including us, it is essential to know the right colour choice for your complexion in order to achieve an outstanding look.

Sometimes our wardrobes might be longing for vivid colours, or we might think that black and darker tones are safer to wear, or we might not be in the mood for colour. According to US author Rita Wilson in her book Life in Colour, many people prefer the safety of black. “Being in a blanket of black T-shirts made me think, what happened? I used to wear colours. I was a colour person. When I think back on my favourite dresses, so many of them were colourful,” Wilson writes. Though black is chic, slimming, and safe, “I admire women with guts who choose to wear vivid and daring colours,” she adds.

According to the Institute for Color Research, a US organisation, people tend to make a subconscious judgement about a person, environment, or product within 90 seconds of initial viewing, and somewhere between 62 and 90 per cent of that assessment is based on colour alone. For that reason, fashion designers and make-up artists are constantly re-examining the colours that can best fit each human complexion, because wearing colours that best fit you does affect your looks.

In picking the right match of colours, the French fashion designer Coco Channel once said that the best colour in the whole world is the one that looks good on you. US fashion and colour specialists Jesse Garza and Joe Lupo have developed four main colour types that you can check to know which colours best suit you and which you should be avoiding.

THE SUN COLOUR TYPE: Your eyes are likely to be blue, light brown, green or hazel; your skin is creamy, tawny, with a peachy or rosy undertone; your hair is a warm shade of mahogany, brown, blonde or red. If you have highlights, they are redwood or golden. If you meet this description, your best colours are yellows, corals and dusty rose. Try to avoid bright pink, blue and red. The actresses Helen Mirren, Gayle King and Nicole Richie are icons of the sun colour type.

THE MOON COLOUR TYPE: Your eyes are dark grey, brown or green. Your skin is likely to be pale and translucent; if you tan at all, you burn first and then your skin turns brick red, not bronze. Your hair ranges from dark ash brown to ash blonde and your natural highlights are pale. Your best colours will be royal blue and ripe strawberry. Avoid mustard yellow and bright orange. Actresses Lucy Liu, Keri Russel and Lena Horne are the best examples of the moon colour type.

THE EARTH COLOUR TYPE: If you have a complexion like US celebrities Julianne Moore, Oprah Winfrey or Diane Lane, then you are within the earth colour type. Your eyes are on the dark side. Your skin is coppery and can tan easily. Your hair ranges from dark blonde to red mahogany to near black. Your best colours are chocolate brown and deep teal. You should be avoiding fuchsia and pale violet.

THE STAR COLOUR TYPE: Your eyes may be light blue or super dark; your skin is luminescent with a porcelain cast or olive undertones. Your hair is either very dark or very light and from black to platinum, or dark brown to prematurely silver. Your best colours are black, white, ice blue and true red. Avoid dusty rose and orange. Famous icons of the star colour type are the actresses Elizabeth Taylor, Catherine Zeta Jones and Grace Jones.

That said, you can still play with colour as much as you want. The idea that your face is lighted up more with the reflection of the right colours that suit your skin tone does not mean that you need to turn your wardrobe upside down in one shot.

However, you can start playing with the colours you choose from the above categories and smoothly include them in your day-to-day wear. A chocolate brown pashmina, a yellow tank top, a royal blue scarf, or a coral fun clutch will do the trick. You could be shocked by how many looks you can get out of a neutral foundation and mix and match it with colours that suit your hair and skin tone.

Don’t forget accessories. These can be a rich source of colours that you can always incorporate to add a special flavour to your final look. Stylists Jesse Garza and Joe Lupo advise choosing something that excites you: a pair of coral drop earrings, a turquoise cuff, or a cocktail ring can add a lot to your look. “The choice is yours: simply figure out your colour type and choose from its palette what you most admire,” they say.

You may also have noticed that when you are newly in love you might have a higher tendency to wear a red dress or an exotic bohemian blouse reflecting warmth and beauty in its daring combination of colours. This is normal, as mood can determine the choice of colours you wear. In other words colours can speak; they can speak about how you really feel about yourself and your mood and how you feel towards the things around you. In fact, many psychologists say that colours play an important role in our subconscious lives and are crucial to our dreams.

Colours are the symbol of vividness, freshness and youthfulness, and for that reason children are often in love with colours, developing narrower preferences later in life. Whenever you feel closed off about a colour, remember those childhood days when you were open to all colours and how they then made you feel.

Wearing colours is also about being in harmony with the environment around you, which is often full of colours in the shape of flowers, the sky, and the sea, all of which go to show that life is made up of colours. Even nutritionists advise people to make their food colourful, as colourful vegetables and fruit are rich in vitamins.

Spring is a chance to unleash your spirit and to go with the colour flow of nature that can give you the best colour choices. Start to give yourself a boost with a variety of colours suiting your skin tone after reading this piece.

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