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How you can use colour to keep your look current.

clour and syle over 50 imageArticle by Veronique Henderson

There is a reason why women frequently default to wearing black, particularly after a certain age – it is safe, smart, slimming, you can wear it with most colours and it generally looks sophisticated.  Black has probably become the basic colour in most women’s wardrobes because it is readily available all year round, in all styles and at all price bands.  It is often the first choice for evening wear – the classic little black dress (LBD) – and many women use black as a staple ‘uniform’ for their working wardrobe.

Is black still flattering as we age?

As you get older, however, you should consider whether black is still a flattering colour to wear near the face if you want to achieve a younger look:  for some colourings it can sap the vibrancy from your face and make you look several years older.   To find out for yourself, simply hold a black garment near your face to see if there are any shadows under your chin.  Everyone can wear black but not all can wear it too close to the face.  As with colour, it is not just the colour you wear but how you wear it that makes it a success.

CMB fiftyplusYour colouring – your hair, skin and eyes – take on a different appearance, depending on what you are wearing and, specifically, on the colours you choose to wear near your face.  If you select a colour that harmonizes with your own colouring, it will reflect similar tones and shades in your face, enhancing your natural look.  Choose an inappropriate colour, however, and you run the risk of casting dark shadows across your face, emphasizing the lines that age you and making your skin, hair and eyes look dull. Generally, we need to go a bit lighter as we get older to lift our complexion.

Changing the tone or colour you wear can make you look younger and healthier

By subtly changing the tone of a colour, or wearing it away from the face, you can make yourself look younger and healthier.  Even just changing your favourite lipstick colour can make an enormous difference.

Your first step to looking younger is identifying your dominant colour characteristics. This will make you better able to choose the right colours to wear which is more important as we get older.

Make certain colours your ‘black’. It doesn’t have to be the obvious neutrals like navy, chocolate grey, but a colour like green or blue.  Colour is very fashionable right now and it is a time to make the most of colour, but it can make it confusing to know which shades to choose. The key to making colour work for you is to understand your natural colouring and find the colours that flatter you most.  Then all you need to do is pick up those shades from the season’s key colours.

add colour to your wardrobe imageMake sure colour combinations work for you

Take two of this season’s most popular shades, blue and pink. The blues this season are varying shades of cobalt and royal blue. Blue is a great colour as a wardrobe staple –  it is bold enough to make a statement on its own or you can wear it as you would your neutral shades (black, grey, browns, navy, etc.).  One good investment this season, for example, would be a blouse in a fluid material in a blue that flatters you. It can be dressed up or dressed down, you could wear with a smart skirt or trousers or wear it with jeans for a smarter casual outing.   Don’t be afraid to mix it with other colours if you feel confident enough. This is the season for going all out for colour, but make sure the colour combinations work for your colouring and that you can carry them off confidently.  The more vibrant shades of blue are best on Cools, Clears and Deeps  but Warms, Softs and Lights will wear their blues in lighter and softer versions (think Cornflower, Sapphire  and even Aqua).  Softer, muted fabrics will help tone it down (jersey, lace etc.).   Once you have identified your best blue you can bring in other colours to make it YOU.  

Pink has to be chosen carefully as we get older

Pink is a very feminine colour but shouldn’t be overdone and has to be chosen carefully as we get older. It is best suited to cool skin tones.  Hot pink evokes drama and glamour and is best suited to those of you with cool skin tones and ideally white/silver/grey or dark hair.  If it works for you, don’t be afraid to invest in a stylish dress in a strong pink but ideally you want to keep your accessories to a minimum and make your shoes and handbag neutral to keep it looking elegant – unless you are a dramatic or creative personality then you may work in a different coloured shoe or necklace to your advantage.   Pastel pinks are made for those with cool skin tones with more light to mid-blonde hair and fair complexions.     Warm skin tones should go for more corally shades of pink (think orange-pinks) and again can go from apricot pastel shades to vibrant orange, depending on what you are comfortable with wearing and what suits you best.  And remember you can always wear pink (or orange) in your accessories to pep up an outfit without having to heavily invest in the colour.

To find out how colour can work for your why not book yourself an appointment with a stylist from www.colourmebeautiful.co.uk

Picture credits: Image 1&2 FiftyPlus. Image3 Isme

Ceri Wheeldon

Ceri is Founder and Editor of Fabafterfifty.co.uk She is a frequent speaker at events and in the media on topics related to women over 50 , including style and living agelessly. With 20+ years experience as a headhunter Ceri also now helps support those looking to extend their working lives.

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  1. Carol Cassara

    May 1, 2014

    One of the best sites for women our age. And I love the color suggestions!

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