How to introduce more colour into your wardrobe

Sure,it boosts your style – but experts say that finding your perfect shade can make over your mind, too.

Before the mid-19th Century, unless you were a member of the aristocracy or a rich merchant, you wore clothes in shades of brown. Life was so easy in those days.  Then some busybody discovered synthetic dyes and everything changed. Colour flooded into clothes — colours that suited you or didn’t suit you. Colours  that brought out your eyes; colours that made your jawline disappear into your neck; colours that gave you a healthy glow; colours that your mother repeatedly said gave you the look of an old dishcloth and she didn’t know why you were throwing yourself away like that. Which is roughly where we are today — flailing around looking for the colour to bring out our colour, wondering if success lies in a mustard-yellow shirt or shocking-pink trainers. And then deciding we should stick to grey. Or black. Yes, black. That’s a good idea.

Colour psychology

Hands up, fashion journalists are guilty of adding to the spectrum confusion. ‘Pink’s BACK!’ ‘Purple REIGNS!’ ‘The NEW yellow!’ In the last year, they’ve written about the return of brown, the joy of indigo, why camel makes you look expensive and how black is the only shade to wear during certain weather. Sorry about that.

It might seem superficial because it’s clothes, but all of the things that lie behind clothes — your self-esteem, anxieties when you don’t feel right, people’s judgements of you — are a reality.

If you are going for job interview or trying to close a sale or get some business, it’s very important that people judge you favourably. And your clothes will make a difference

The power of colour

But we all know that appearance can be powerful — or powerfully misleading — and our reactions are subjective. Colour plays into this because it has a strong visual effect on your overall image.

‘Colours change things about people,’ says Polly Holman, an associate lecturer specialising in personal fashion styling at the London College of Fashion.

‘Colours that really suit you work with your natural colour palette to make your skin look healthier, your features more defined and your eyes bigger.’ So the benefits of wearing the ‘right’ colour are great? ‘Oh, huge,’ she says. ‘You’ll look healthier to other people and it will give you more confidence. Once you know you look good you hold yourself better. Your whole attitude towards yourself changes.’

You also have to think about the temperature of colours. Are they yellow (warm) or blue-based (cold)? Pick what suits you based on your skin tone.