Finding my style Part II (long version of how I will start buying clothes in the right color for me)

As a young girl in the mid-80's, "color experts" were becoming very popular. It was common to hear other women talking about whether they were a "summer" or a "winter", "spring" or "autumn". No one ever bought a color that wasn't in their designated color palette!

By the time I was 8 years old, I joined our local 4-H club, but not to participate in the livestock activities, only to participate in the home economic activities. I took cooking classes, sewing classes, and beauty/fashion classes. At the end of the semester, each student was to write a speech, complete with props and poster board aids about the one subject they enjoyed most that year. We were to give our speech in front of judges, and could go on to different levels to win the award for that year's best speech.

I decided my speech would be about fashion. I gave the speech in a dress my Mom had helped me sew. I was going to tell the judges that you should only wear colors that bring out the sparkle in your eyes, the rosy pink in your cheeks, and the shine in your hair. My speech started out with me stirring in pearls, perfume bottles, make-up, and barrettes in a bowl, reading my "fashion" recipe aloud as I stirred. At the end of reading the recipe of pearls and perfume I looked up and said, "But something is missing!" The judges loved it when I began to tell them that the missing beauty ingredient was to wear the right color.

At the end of my speech each female judge asked me to give them a color analysis. I very proudly told them what I thought and got the highest award, making me eligible for the next round.

I was so confident then about what colors were best. If you had cool toned skin you wore cool colors; warm toned skin, warm colors. If your skin was olive toned, you would look at the hair and eyes to help discern the color palette. Gold flecks in the eyes meant you were warm, and blue sheen in the hair meant you were cool.

Mom and I decided that I was a summer since I had mousy brown hair, pink toned beige skin, and the flecks in my brown eyes were green instead of gold.

As I got older and my coloring changed, I came to realize that picking out the right color isn't as easy as all that. My hair is now a warmer shade of brown, but my skin is a cross between warm and cool (blue veins, beige/olive tone). Since my 8-year old bout with fashion, I have been told by color analysts that I was a summer, spring, winter, and autumn. No one seems to agree! Since no one agreed on what color looked best, I just started wearing whatever color I happened to have or happened to be on sale.

What I've ended up with is a very incohesive wardrobe that is difficult to mix and match. There is no rhyme or reason for the colors in my closet, and there are maybe one or two things that I pick out to wear in my closet because I love the color.

I think those women had it right in the 80's! I plan on only buying clothes now that are in a color that I really love and really looks good on me. I won't go around with an autumn or winter color palette picking out only those colors, but I will remember to put the garment close to my face and see how it blends. Does the color wash me out? Does this color make me look flushed and happy?

In buying only colors that look good on me, I think I'll start noticing a trend in my closet, allowing me to mix and match garments with ease, and to be more excited and confident about what I already have.

So here is what I've learned so far:

1) Get rid of clothes in your closet that don't fit you properly (and cannot be altered), get rid of clothes that you don't need, want, or that simply do not look good on you. (This is slow going if you don't have the funds to replace everything right away, so don't be too eager in getting rid of what you have).

2) Figure out what inspires you and what looks you want to emulate. Create an inspiration board of these looks.

3) Figure out what colors look best on you and only buy clothing if it is in your color. For those of you who are curious as to what "season" they are, check out this website for color tests and suggested color palettes.