Not gonna lie, I’m a black and white kind of girl. Most of my jeans are black, most of my tops are white. It’s classic, easy to combine and to wash.
But I’ve always been curious to know whether I was wearing the right colours for my skin tone – and I knew there were colours, actual colours, that would suit me better than neutrals. So when I was put in touch with Elisa Winstanley from House of Colour, I didn’t think twice before hopping on the bus and making my way to her home studio. If you’re curious about my fun experience, keep reading and don’t forget to check out Elisa’s website and Instagram below!
I met Elisa in her sunlit studio, just outside of York. Spring is in the air and I’m loving it, so I’m wearing a bright red coat, a white shirt and a pair of black jeans (told ya, neutral). Yeah, I did go through at least 3 outfits before deciding on this one in particular. I wanted to play it safe, but not too safe. Neutrals with a bright accent? Works for me.
Elisa welcomes me with open arms and (thank god) applauds my outfit choice. She tells me that for those of us who haven’t had their colours done, primary red is a great choice. It’s a primary colour, and as she shows me later on her framed colour wheel, lies in the centre of the spectrum and acts as a ‘neutral’. In other words, it suits everyone!
The colour wheel is quartered into seasons, and your personal palette is one which brightens your skin, lifts your face and blends seamlessly with your natural palette (eyes, skin, hair…). A spring palette, for example, is reminiscent of spring, with its warm pastels, floral pinks and blues, and grassy greens; whereas a winter palette echoes Christmas decorations; rich and sumptuous reds and blues, as well as cool, frosty colours.
First, Elisa sits me in front of her mirror in natural light and layers silky coloured squares across my neck and shoulders, and removes them one at a time to determine whether I’m cool or warm-toned. At this stage, I’m far too certain yellows don’t suit me (how wrong I was) and that I’m probably a winter palette because I love crisp whites and silver! But some of the colours I wear regularly make me look strikingly sallow and accentuate the purple under my eyes. Crisp whites, actually, make me look like I haven’t slept in a decade.
Once she’s determined I’m definitely warm toned (huh? Me?), we proceed to comparing Spring and Autumn palettes. I think; Autumn? Mustards and orange? Don’t think so. But one square after the other, it becomes clear that my palette is Autumn!
Elisa tells me to keep an open mind; we all love and hate some colours, they might remind us of a horrible, itchy Christmas jumper we wore as kids, but there are 16 million (yes MILLION) colours in the palette, meaning your personal palette is comprised of 4 million colours! So really, I’m not stuck with orange and mustard. I can wear warm pinks, warm reds (like my coat!), greener greys (lizard grey it’s called. SO cool), rich browns and creamy whites. And rose gold – what a relief.
We then rate my colours and try on some lipstick and blush colours. Some colours in the Autumn palette suit me better than other – Grass Green just doesn’t work, so we rate it as an Accent Colour, whereas Royal Purple makes my skin glow. This categorises me as a Blue Autumn – rich browns and coppers, blues and purples suit me best! The whole analysis of determining my palette was very methodical and far more obvious than I thought – if you take a good look in the mirror, even just at home, you can physically see your face lighten up when matched with the right outfit (and before you say black suits everyone, only 10% of the population can pull it off according to Elisa.)
The blush and lipsticks are a revelation for me too. I mean, nude on my pale skin? Never. And brighter corals? I’ll just stick to red, thanks very much. But you know what? There’s way more than just one way of doing a nude or red lip. A cool, bluish nude would certainly make me look dead (fortunately we didn’t try!) Warmer colours, though, even a brownish pink, works because of my golden skin tone. And so does a warmer blush, which is awesome since I love a hint of coral on the cheeks.
But something is still nagging me. What about that bright turquoise yoga leggings I love? And the electric blue shoes that work so well with a white dress? Inevitably, there will be colours we own that don’t necessarily fit into our palette. Elisa reassures me – I can still pull those off, especially as they are only accents. It’s not like I would wear turquoise head to toe! Getting a colour analysis is an interesting way of extending your comfort zone; if you feel bored with your neutrals like I did, a colour analysis is definitely right for you!
I leave Elisa’s studio feeling really confident and I’m totally convinced my wardrobe will improve after my session. It’s not just about replacing things you own, or buying more of the colours in your palette, but also about showing off what you already own. Because colours that suit us get complimented, and don’t we all love a compliment?!
You can find Elisa’s page on the House of Colour website here: https://www.houseofcolour.co.uk/find-a-stylist/profile/1558
Follow Elisa on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/elisawinstanley_hocyork/
Author: Elise, www.barelifestyle.co.uk