Color is a powerful factor in our lives; it can attract or repel, alter the perceived shape, size and weight of objects, nurture or aggravate, uplift or dampen moods, cause a release of energy or calm us to the point of sleep.
In the USA the 1940’s witnessed the birth of color analysis which quickly spread worldwide to become a global sensation and a ‘must have’ consultation for every woman. Today the color a person chooses to wear is still as important as ever and is often the make or break of how good an outfit looks on us.
I believe that learning what your best colors are is an incredibly beneficial thing to do; after all a great style in an unflattering color will always be a bad buy.
‘ a great style in an unflattering color will always be a bad buy’
But that’s not what I want to explore with you today. Instead, I want to share with you the impact specific color characteristics have on your apparent shape. In later parts I’ll explore other areas of color.
Think about the last time you went clothes shopping, more than likely it was the color of a garment that first caught your attention, then it drew you in and invited you to touch it. From there it was a short trip to the fitting room.
Sounds like you? You’re not alone, but buying by color alone is responsible for more poor purchases than any other factor. Liking a color and even if it’s one that suits your coloring and being able to look good are two totally different things. It may suit your personal coloring but what about your body shape? A great color needs to suits both.
Let’s start this journey by looking at color VALUE which is the apparent lightness or darkness of a color.
I find it easiest to place colors on a scale value of one to five.
- Medium light
- Medium dark
The value of a color value has two effects on the apparent size and shape of a garment.
- It can alter the apparent size
- It can alter the apparent weight.
The lighter a color is, the larger it makes the garment and the area it’s been worn on appear larger because light colors advance (appears to move forward). Medium colors on the other hand neither advance or recede and so have little effect on size. Dark colors appear to recede (move backwards) making the garment and area it’s worn appear further away and therefore smaller.
Take home point
By considering the depth (value) of a garment and the effect it is likely to have on the area of your body it is designed for before you consider taking it into the fitting room will save you time and equip your eye for success.
My Private Stylist makes this easy for you by showing you your best color value for dresses, pants, tops, pants and skirts. PrêtàStyler takes the color depth of the item into consideration when assessing an item’s suitability to be added into your personal mall.
Depending on the depth of a color it will appear to be either heavy or light.
Yes, you read correctly- colors have apparent weight.
Light colors appear to weight the least and dark colors appear to weight the most. Why? Because of how our natural world has conditioned us. In general, those things around us which are heaviest are darker and visa versa.
A few years ago when explaining this in a class I was running to train image consultants I was told the story by one of the students that she had been a HR manager in a transport company and the men who were loading the trucks were complaining of the weight of the boxes they were being asked to load. The weight of these boxes were in accordance with industrial regulations, so should not have been causing so much anguish among the men. The unions were involved and eventually, a consultant was called in and he noticed that the boxes were all dark, having a printed outer. The consultant suggested the company change the colour of the boxes to a light colour and voila the problem was solved. No mention of the color change was made. The company informed the men and union that the issue had been addressed and hoped the situation would be resolved. The workers celebrated the win and the lighter boxes, and everything went back to normal despite no change in the content or actual weight.
It’s the same with the garments we wear. Given a dark color appears to heavier than a light color it will appear more visually appealing when it is either worn as a whole item or on the top half of the body.
Take home point
If you are bigger below your waist (triangular), short or generally overweight its best to wear the darker color below your waist. The light color draws the eye up making the body appear taller and slimmer and the dark color minimizes the hips.
If you desire to wear a darker color on your top half ensure that, if you have a big bottom, the top covers all of your backside.