When I say the word color, I always want to pronounce it like a Long Island lady,
as in "Honey, you really got some CULLAH at the beach today!"
It's the end of the summer, so I have some nice CULLAH right now, which means I can wear dark brown and look nice, rather than like a piece of deadweed.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
One of you asked my advice on the subject of CUL-lah.
It's amazing how much of a mystery we have made of color. I'm sure you've all participated in some version or another of one of those Color Me Beautiful programs where you sit under a harsh spotlight and some manically enthuastic woman with big hair throws various swatches of fabric against your neck in a desperate attempt to prove to you that you are a Spring or a Fall or a Summer or a Winter.
And then you go shopping and fall in love with, say, an inky blue blouse that feels like heaven, is cut like it was made for you, and looks simply smashing on you, but you don't get it because you're a Summer, and it's NOT YOUR COLOR.
I hope you never did that. By all means, have fun and get your colors done. But, you know, don't drink the Kool-Aid, my sweets. If you're a summer and you want to wear black, go out and rock some black. Just make sure you add extra blush and maybe a dramatic smoky eye or add a bright lipstick.
That's why God gave us cosmetics, my darlings! So that we could not only appreciate color but that we could actually WEAR it on our bodies without having our facial features disappear completely!
PeaceBang has a few tips on color (completely unscientific, you understand, without any swatch throwing whatsoever):
1. Color is supremely important to your overall look. Choose it wisely and wear colors that you adore and that feel right for your personality and persona. This doesn't mean you should dress all in purple because purple is "your color." People who hate purple won't want to be around you, and is that fair?
2. Fabric and cut are just as important as color in choosing a garment. If you love a garment's color and it hangs wrong or isn't a nice fabric, or doesn't fit, leave it be.
3. Adult women should generally avoid soft pastels. They're too evocative of the nursery, they look good on very few complexions, and certainly clergywomen don't need them in their wardrobe, unless it's a delicious buttery yellow classic sweater set, or a beautiful baby pink blouse that makes your skin glow (and that you can wear under a black suit or pair with a smart black skirt). If you must wear pastels, try to limit them to accents and consider them carefully: do they communicate cutesy, or do they communicate soft beauty? Men, you can look fabulous in pastels, but only on structured, crisp garments. 'Cause I'm not ever going to give you permission to wear that salmon pink Nantucket sweatshirt, no matter how much you beg.
4. Neutrals are important but they are not as simple as they seem. As I have said before, off-white is not just off-white. There's ivory and ecru and eggshell and tan. Choose whites and neutrals to suit your skin tone (you can only fudge so much with make-up). This goes for blues and maroon tones, too
. There are many, many blues in this world, and nothing looks cheaper than a badly dyed navy. Nothing makes a man or woman look more jowly than a flat, deep blood maroon color. And there is a certain shade of powder blue that should be taken out and shot.
5. Orange looks particularly good against dark skin, but it can also be surprisingly beautiful on some white folks. White men, don't be afraid to consider a tangerine orange tie, or a pink Oxford, for that matter. But not if you have a ruddy face.
5. If you don't wear make-up and you're over the age of 40, you have to be particularly mindful of the way certain colors can wash you out or make you look sallow or bluish.
6. Hair color can make or break your look. It is never silly to spend a good amount of time considering your hair color, comparing swatches, looking at photos, examining your skin and hair tone under different lighting, and consulting with your hairdresser. Haircolor has a huge unconscious impact on people's perception of you, and it is an expensive beauty investment. Don't feel foolish asking your hairdresser about highlights vs lowlights, what she means by "caramel" when you're thinking "honey" and asking for a re-do if the color still doesn't please you a few days after it's been done. Your hair colorist wants you to be happy. If you need to have a re-do, do not expect to pay, but do tip, unless the bad first effort came about due to egregious failure to hear what you requested.
7. You should love the colors you wear, not choose them because you think they're "right" for you. You may look terrific in lime green, but if lime green is inappropriate for the season (and it's gone totally out of fashion anyway, after a huge surge in popularity in 2004-2006) and if it makes you feel peevish, choose something else.
8. Colors have an emotional impact on people, including you. Use them to your advantage.