What’s Your Contrast?


Contrast is one of those subjects that has been coming up lots in my Evolve Your Style and 7 Steps to Style programs in the past week or so. I thought I’d make this video to talk about understanding your contrast and how to figure it out.

Here is a handy contrast tool for you to print out and discover your contrast.

value contrast tool



Once you have established your contrast read these posts:

How to figure out your contrast

Using Simultaneous contrast to understand how to change the way a colour appears

Getting your value contrast right

Personality and contrast

What is my value contrast?

What is my colour 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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  • Very interesting. I know even my eyes have a contrast to them… they are blue, and at times merge to a blue gray, but they have a dark rim on the outside so creating a bit of contrast using the scale. I know from chatting with you, I am a medium high and that even if I was to git rid of the blue until my hair goes 100% silver I will still be that. I have cool tones , but then have freckles and always have a slight tan, so wondering if that will keep me at a medium or switch me to a medium low at that point. Will be interesting to see. I know you said in group that I will eventually see that I will not like my black and white quite as much when my hair is mostly white/silver… that will remain to be seen for sure. But maybe I will learn to love the French Blue *wink* Or maybe I will finally be able to wear gray when I now just look drained in it.
    Off to read the other posts.

  • What about people whose eye/hair color change during different seasons or enviroment?

    Ive sort of that kind ashy-mousy very darkblonde hair that people often confuse with light brown. During winter it becomes very dark while during the summer it turns into a bright golden hair color. My eye color are medium soft slate-blue but they become very bright/dark blue during certain lightning and sometimes they look lightgrey. My skin is very pale with warm pink undertone.

    I know that my value contrast is medium (but I prefer slight higher contrast because of my personal style). But color contrast confuse me, at one time its muted at the other time its more bright.
    Has this anything to do with that im in the midpoint of cool and warm?

    Because i feel more alive when wearing black with gold and bright but light colors (lemon, peach) or those colors that are mixed like coral and teal, rather than dusky/toasty colors like olive and plum.

    • You may find in winter when your hair looks darker you have a higher contrast, and in summer a lower contrast as the sun lightens it. Personality always wins, if your personality demands higher contrast then wear it.

  • This is very- very informative.

    1. Does it not make a difference what creates the contrast? In the video above, the other example for medium contrast (apart from your lovely self) is Miranda Kerr. But her contrast is created by hair + eyes vs skin, not merely eyes vs skin + hair as in your case. Skin and hair tend to be much larger areas compared with the eyes. Does this not matter?

    2. for colour contrast you quote the model with the bright blue eyes. how about for someone who has bright skin (and suits pure colours) but has middle brown hair and bluish-green-grey eyes. no obviously noticeable bright eyes or vivid hair colour but objectively there are still lots of colours. is she complementary and she should still wear many different colours??


    • Yes this is very interesting as always . I have dull blonde short hair (blonde child), slightly warm lightish (not porcelain) skin and blue-grey eyes. So I think I have medium value contrast between skin and eyes and bit of color contrast. I like Susie saying eyes vs skin + hair because that is what I think about me. I like wearing skin-value clothes that have a bit color but are not skin color like light oranges, yellows, yellow-greens, mauves and I also like medium strength blues as my contrast. Really really pastel is too light. Thanks yet again.

    • If you have eyes creating the contrast, it’s a smaller percentage, so I tend to look for creating the contrast with a smaller proportion of colour, rather than the more half/half say of the hair/skin combo

      Brown hair is more neutral, it’s only the eyes that create the contrast, rather than hair and eyes, so some colours, but maybe not as many at a time (unless of course the personality demands it).

      • thanks, that makes sense.

        I am guessing contrast needs to be created of a colour plus neutrals, not other colours, if one is high contrast.

        what you wrote tallies with my own instincts, I have bluish-greenish-greyish eyes and medium brown hair but too many colours overwhelm me, esp because I have bright colouring and pure colours are not toned down.

        brown and black hair is more neutral, whereas blond and red more colourful?
        brown eyes and grey eyes more neutral,
        blue, green and hazel call for more colour?

        I just find all this so fascinating. thanks again.

        • You can create contrast with colour or neutrals, but often it’s much easier to create it with the neutral elements of your outift.

          Yes – brown, black, silver/grey, ash blonde are neutral
          Golden blond, strawberry blonde, red, copper, or any of the ‘coloured – blue, violet etc hair colours that are now popular – are colours
          blue, green, olive – more coloured eyes

  • Wow, that’s amazing. That explains something that was puzzling me the other day – why did my outfit not look as good on me as I thought it should have?

    Two reasons, according to this new info: I am monochromatic and – I think – medium value contrast (dark brown hair, olive skin, dark brown eyes) and my outfit (dark navy blue and dark dull red) was triadic and low value contrast.

    Bingo! I mean, it didn’t look completely lousy, but I just thought, ‘this looks flat’. Thanks, Imogen! It amazes me how much science there is in all this!

  • This was really informative. I’ve always thought of myself as high contrast. Fair skin and very dark almost black hair. As my hair has greyed, I thought that maybe my contrast had changed. But my eyes are still quite dark, and my hair ranges from white around my face, to silver, and finally still quite black around my ear and in the back. So until I guess I am still high contrast tending towards medium.


    • Yes you will lose some of your contrast, but while you have very dark eyes you will keep some. Just keep the dark light proportions to smaller rather than the half half.

  • How does one’s color contrast effect eye makeup? My eyes and hair are both a warm medium brown and my skin is fairly light, making me low color contrast and medium value contrast I believe. I usually use a dark plum eye shadow to complement my brown eyes. Should I use a more neutral brown eye shadow instead?

  • I really loved this post, it was so informative! I was wondering if you could post some more monochromatic, medium/medium high contrast outfits for people with brown hair, brown eyes, fair skin. I’m having trouble picturing it. Or do you have a Polyvore board about this, thank you for your time!

  • I have dark brown hair with reddish highlights, dark brown eyes with golden highlights, and light/light to medium ivory peach skin. Saw on a teenage binder I had that someone with my coloring looks best in warm, clear colors, pastels, and gold-tone accessories. Indeed, when I wear those colors I receive compliments. What would my contrast?

  • Neutral-light silver hair
    Neutral-medium brown skin
    Neutral-eyes dark brown

    It seems I would look better with medium to light contrast but I’m not sure about the color contrast. I look best with shades of gray and I red looks good with my eyes and skin.

    Over the years my hair got lighter and unfortunately have black left in my wardrobe.

    Any tips for me on what to wear and if I need to ditch the black stuff.

    Thanks so much.

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