Fashion Colour Tips!

From the sea of pretty pastel shades at Burberry through to dazzling bold prints at Giorgio Armani, colour always sets the catwalks alight.

Pat Henshaw, co-author of new book Colour Me Beautiful, maintains being selective with the tones in your closet can complement your colouring, flatter your silhouette, and show off your personality to the max.

"Of the many ways in which we choose to express ourselves, the colour and style of our clothes probably make the most immediate and powerful impact," she says. "For many years, neutral colours held sway in fashion but now that colour - in all hues is back, the time is right to learn how to make colours work for you."

So what are you waiting for? Banish those “nothing-to-wear” blues and brighten up your outlook with this season’s hottest shades.

Test your metal

Just because you've fallen in love with a dress you've spotted in a fashion mag, doesn't mean the frock is going to love you back. Even if it fits like a second skin, the colour might leave you looking washed out.

No need to waste valuable hours wriggling in and out of a pile of clothes in poky changing rooms - the easiest way to test whether a colour will work for you is to hold the garment under your chin and observe its effects.

"When you wear colour near your face, the light reflects it upwards," Pat explains. "This can either cast flattering tones or dark shadows, depending on the mix of the colour and your skin tone."

Pick out an unflattering shade and you might suddenly be drawn to ageing features on your face like dark shadows around your chin and neck, or an uneven complexion.

If the colour is right, your skin will appear smoother, fresher and younger; your eye colour is enhanced, but most of all, according to Pat, "you notice yourself more than the colour you're wearing".

Colour statement

Whether you're going on a first date or prepping for a job interview, the colour you flaunt can create a storm before you've so much as uttered a word.

"The colour you wear communicates non-verbal messages," Pat explains. "Soft and light tones, for example, will make you appear approachable and friendly, while a red top in the right shade will help to give you the confidence you need when facing a stressful situation."

But if you want to make a statement with colour, know when to press the stop button. So work a hot pink dress and matching lips combo with confidence but lose the fuchsia handbag and shoes to avoid committing colour overdose. Just one statement piece will do all the eye-catching work.

If you're a complete novice to brights, experiment with inexpensive additions like scarves, belts or tees before you shell out on bold look-at-me shades you'll never wear.

Seasonal shades

Check out this season's must-have shades, how to wear them, and what they say about you.

True blue
As seen at: Giorgio Armani

The colour of logic, blue activates the mind.

Pat’s top tip: "Lighter shades such as powder blue, bluebell and sky blue are ideal for special occasions when a feminine look may be required.”

In the Pink
As seen at: Gucci

Suggests gentleness and empathy, and brings out femininity.

Pat’s top tip: "Pink is a great colour to wear when you're feeling a little off-colour, as it gives a flattering lift to any complexion."

Love Lilac

As seen at: Burberry

Shows creativity as well as indicating sensitivity.

Pat’s top tip: "In its lighter forms, the lilacs and soft violets promote a general sense of relaxation. If you've never worn it, give it a try in a scarf or pashmina."

Red Alert
As seen at: Tommy Hilfiger

The colour of energy, wear red to feel confident and in control.

Pat’s top tip: "Red will bring excitement into your day. It's a great colour to wear at the end of the week when your energy levels may be flagging.”

Green Scene
As seen at: Lanvin

Conveys a sense of calm and reassurance.

Pat’s top tip: "With green it's particularly important to understand the undertone. Decide whether you look better in warm (yellow-based) green, such as moss or apple, or cool (blue-based) tones of spruce or sea green."

As seen at: Jasper Conran

Denotes purity and freshness.

Pat’s top tip: "Wearing white in a textured fabric will often soften its appearance. Linen and silk, for example, are rarely a pure white, although cotton can be."

By Lisa Haynes

See what Lisa and Mica think on What Not To Wear, on Lifestyle YOU!

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