My go-to cold-weather color has always been black. Since forever, it occurs to me now, my preferred way of dressing in fall and winter has been to pair a black sweater with a pair of blue jeans, or slip into a little black dress that hovers just above my knees.
Is it because I've gone Goth? Or gone into perpetual mourning? Nothing of the sort; it's simply that I've always thought the color black looks good on me (and, yes, a little slimming).
In summer, by contrast, I tend to do the reverse: As the mercury climbs, almost everything I wear is white. A little stark, perhaps, but oh so easy.
But thanks to a recent session with image consultant Candy Gould , the head color expert from the British-based House of Colour, I'm leaning much less on those old standbys and much more on bright blues and greens, as well as subdued creams. The results have been dramatic: My face looks brighter. My eyes seem bluer. And friends have told me I look less tired, even - dare I say it? - a tad younger.
So how'd the switch come about?
According to Gould, I'm a "Spring" - and, as you can imagine, Springs do not wear black or white. When I looked skeptical, Gould broke down her process for me:
"It all starts with skin tone," Gould explained, "not hair or eye color - both of those can easily be fiddled with." (And how!) "But skin tone remains the same throughout our lives, no matter our age."
Speaking of age, Gould diplomatically pointed out that wearing the wrong color, especially one as harsh as black (unless you're a confirmed "Winter"), can drain the face, create shadows under the eyes and have an overall aging effect.
It turns out that color analysis, based on theories put forth by Bauhaus artist Johannes Itten, entails both science and art: Color experts use an adaptation of Itten's color wheel, which reflects all the colors of nature. Each season gets to wear 25 percent of these colors. (Half the wheel is based in blue, the other half in yellow.)
Getting your "colors done" can therefore be a worthwhile investment, especially if you want to avoid buying something only to let it languish in your closet. Get your colors right upfront, and the chances of that happening go way down. Plus you'll look fab in the process!
For more dish on how to "embrace your inner colors," watch this episode of The Best of Everything After 50 series on AARP's YouTube Channel:
For more tips on living your best life, look inside The Best of Everything After 50: The Experts' Guide to Style, Sex, Health, Money and More, and subscribe to The Best of Everything After 50 video series on AARP's YouTube Channel.
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- Join AARP: Savings, resources and news for your well-being
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