12 Ways to Wear Unflattering Colours and Still Look Great


Do you have some input on occasionally wearing colors that maybe aren’t the very best, but that you still love and want to include in your wardrobe? And I mean, like a blouse or sweater, not just an accessory or something you wear far away from your face.

I have reddish hair and my coloring is fair with yellow undertones. A “spring” season, and I’m 50’ish.

Don’t you agree that sometimes for the sake of making yourself happy with that special find, that you can add more color to your cheeks and pick a nice shade of lipstick and play with eye color to pull it off? (Please say, yes!).

how to wear unflattering colours that don't make you look great

If you want to wear colours that don’t work for you and are unflattering to your skin tone, there are a few ways to wear them more successfully.  They’ll never be as great as the good colours for you but here are my tips to make them work.

12 Ways to Make an Unflattering Hair Colour Work More Successfully

  1.  Wear a low neckline.  Remember, whatever is next to your face is reflecting that colour onto your face – whether it makes you look healthy or ill depends on whether it’s a good or not so great colour!
  2.  Don’t put them on a body part you don’t want to draw attention to (a colour that doesn’t relate will draw attention to itself and create a body focus).
  3.  Put on a scarf or necklace that does suit your colouring between your face and the colour.
  4. Wear foundation, blush and a stronger lipstick.
  5.  Keep the less than great colour to less than 20% of your whole outfit.
  6. Wear the right value contrast for you.
  7. Wear it in the right colour contrast for you.
  8. Wear it in the right intensity for you
  9. Wear it in your ideal value.
  10. Wear it in a shoe.
  11. Wear it in a fabric that is soft or slightly see-through.
  12. Wear it at night – we don’t see colours as obviously at night as without light, there is no colour for colour is reflected light rays.

If you’re not sure of the colours that flatter you, the ones that make you look healthier, more vibrant, more youthful and alive, you can get a personal colour analysis as part of my 7 Steps to Style program (Colour is just one of the 7 steps), and discover which colours are your knockout ones!  You’ll also get my professional opinion on your body shape and features, all this and so much more in this comprehensive image program designed to help you understand what really works for you!

Discover your colours and style with the best, most comprehensive online style program

The Value of Value Contrast and Using it to Create Stunning Outfits

11 Real Life Examples of Dressing to Your Contrast


I'm not sure if it's for you but how would you feel if you learned all about the colours and styles of clothing that suit your individual personality, shape and style? Just imagine what it would be like when you can open your wardrobe and pull together fabulous outfits that make you look and feel amazing every day? If you'd like to stop wasting money on the wrong clothes and accessories plus join an amazing bunch of very special women also on their style journey - then my 7 Steps to Style program is right for you. Find out more here.

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  • Excellent suggestions, Imogen! So many creative ideas that I’d never considered, and will definitely be a great help. I’m printing up the list. (I may even make a pocket sized version to slip into my purse.)

    Thank you so much for taking the time to put together such a thoughtful, well-written post. You’re so good!

  • That is really helpful – thanks Imogen.
    What about ‘the little black dress’? I am a ‘summer’ and therefore black is not a good colour for me, yet I would love to wear a little black dress on special occasions. Would I be able to get away with that?

  • Hi imogen,
    This was an extraordinarily helpful post! What is your take on incorporating seasonal colors? For example, I am a light summer color, so pastels and the such look good on me. While there are plenty of them to be had in the summer, it’s harder to wear pastels in the fall/winter as clothes and moods are more dominated by burgundys/navy/camel/black. What do you think is better – dressing in “unflattering” colors or wearing flattering colors are looking season-incongruent? I hope this question makes sense….

      • Thank you so much Imogen!!!! I’ve recently stumbled on your blog and have spent hours reading through it, what an invaluable resource! According to your recs I’m having a friend of the family who lives in Australia order me some Glassons merino sweaters for the fall and ship them here to NY. I trust they’ll be great!!

  • Sigh – I have a whole shirtdress in a red nuance that really pops and that does not flatter me at all. I have taken the sleeves off, and think I can wear it with a good belt, a t-shirt, shoes, a scarf in a colour that is better for me, but it will be a stretch! Thanks for the good pointers.

  • Imogen,

    You’ve gotten me thinking about these ideas a lot, and I just thought of an additional way to add some distance between your face and an unflattering color in a top—add a cardigan in a flattering color, and button the top button. 🙂 Love that look, anyway.

  • Just what I was looking for, Imogen. I look dreadful in olive and usually wear it in accessories only because I like the color so much. This gives me new ideas on how to use the color in layering pieces instead. Thank you!

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