My Style: White is My New Black


White is my new black - Inside Out Style

One of the questions I get asked most about since changing my  hair colour so radically from deep brunette to light blonde, is how have the colours I wear changed.

In a word, black, used to be my go-to dark neutral.  Particularly in the 15 years where it was impossible to buy anything in navy (fortunately this is happily now no longer the case).  I had a lot in common with black. My colouring – was Dramatic (Cool Deep) and so I had the elements of:

  1. Coolness
  2. Depth
  3. Brightness

and these are the exact same colour properties of black, which is why it suited me so well.   Now my colour properties are:

  1. Coolness
  2. Lightness
  3. Brightness

Wearing White in Winter

So black only has 2 of my 3 properties and just isn’t as good.  But do you know which neutral does have all of my 3 properties?  White – that’s right!

White is my new black - Inside Out Style Blog

White is my new black.

Since I’ve changed my hair I’ve fallen in love with white.  I really enjoy wearing it (and I just don’t get pleasure from wearing my black clothes in the same way anymore).  Sure I still wear them in winter (sadly I’m not rich enough to throw them all out and start again).  But I do try and keep the black away from my face as much as possible, and I wear it in winter, but not summer.  When I do want to wear my black pieces I find that I need to wear more dark eyeliner and eyeshadow to make an element of my face darker to work back with the black.

Summer white column of colour

White also works well with my other mid-toned coloured pieces.  My contrast has lowered from high to medium (my eyes are still a darker blue).

White and blue outfit - inside out style blog

It’s a great versatile neutral for me to wear and I feel fresh and vibrant wearing it.

White shorts and top for summer


What is your go-to-neutral and why do you love it?

Get some whitespiration into your wardrobe

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  • Hi Imogen,
    If you have to wear dark eyeliner and eyeshadow, while wearing black; what would anyone with deeper colouring do, to wear white?

  • Silver grey is my go-to neutral which also serves as a great colour for me and yes, suits my contrasts perfectly. I used to love to shock during the Christmas holidays by wearing winter white corduroy with a winter white cable sweater (jumper). Since I am blond, I always thought that trying to look festive in black when you are not a striking brunette is just a useless exercise; the brunette will always look better in black than I could! I have a lot of white now whch I am adding to.

  • I’m a cool brunette and my value contrast is high, so black and white are my go-to neutrals all year round. Black dominates during cooler months and white during warmer, but I wear black in summer, only fabrics are lighter. I also tried navy and deep aubergine, as well as gray, however, I don’t seem to get the contrast right with grey. I’m curious about rose beige, but it’s so rarely seen in shops.

  • I have really been tuning into your wardrobe lately. Your old coloring is nothing like mine, but your new coloring is. I am cool and light. I’m undecided about brightness. I wear white in a limited amount. I am going to have to reconsider it. I’ve always thought that white would be great for me if and when my hair finally turns white. It’s started, but it’s taking its time. No one sees it but me, but then – I’m eagerly awaiting it!

    I’m not really big on neutrals – I like color. But sometimes neutrals are necessary. I like silver gray and a mid-tone gray is okay too. I also like a tan that’s not too golden or orange-y, like a dusty cocoa. Navy is out of the question – too dark.

    I’d love it if, from time to time, you revisit the subject of your coloring going lighter. It’s likely to be useful to many of us

  • Imogen, you look really beautiful in white so you are on to something. I just discovered your blog a few days ago and have lost a little sleep staying up and catching up. You have the most comprehensive information I have ever seen anywhere. I am ordering your 7 steps and am thinking of becoming a certified consultant through your program. I am a consultant for a line out of NY, W by Worth, and you have helped me help my customers so much already. I am 5’1″ and very curvy and find your advice on dressing petites and busty figures and X figures so extensive and accurate. Thank you for doing all this work so the rest of us can look our best!

  • I have lightened my hair too because I thought my gray with dark brown did nothing for me. So I am now warm light and bright. So what is analogous for a warm person certainly not white. Would it be creme or beigh?

  • Since letting my hair go grey, I, too have discovered the joys of white! (And as long as I meep it in cottons, bleach solves many of my dilemmas…) Taking all the photos for Evolve Your Style really helped me see how much more flattering it is on me now that my coloring has softened. Thank you, Imogen!!

  • I am cool and deep too, and my go-to neutrals are white and navy with a bit of black. I love white near my face. About 70% of my tops are bright white. I just like and enjoy wearing it. Plus, white doesn’t fade, and you can bleach stains out. So it’s easier to maintain.

    I do wear blue or grey or black bottoms, though cine I have a medium-high contrast. I have two red tops, one in eggplant, another in burgundy. The rest of my wardrobe is all white, navy, light blue, black and grey.

  • I think mine’s probably navy. I have mid brown hair, blue eyes and fairish skin, though am tanned at the mo as have moved to middle East….. 🙂 also, since I am 44 and getting some greys now I dye my hair and it always seems to go lighter than my natural colour… So then I think I can maybe wear olive green? But then recently I accidentally dyed my hair darker than my natural colour and found Brights seemed to really suit my colouring. I think mostly brighter but cool hues suit me better, but I do like some softer warmer coloutprs some days ascit suits my personality…. Actually, I think I am a bit confused! 😉

  • I have a feeling I have the same colouring as you Imogen, perhaps your skin is slightly darker than mine. I have fair skin and freckles, and blonde/brown hair. So many people tell me that I am warm, but I have these cool undertones which make me think I am cool, can someone be both warm and cool? I have quite blue eyes – also like you, I have dyed my hair to hide the gray a light blonde colour (9)

    • I’m very cool! There are people who are closer to the middle between warm and cool – you could easily be one of those groups. Blue eyes can be either warm or cool. Freckles can be either warm or cool. Without doing a proper analysis I just couldn’t tell you which one you are.

  • Lovely. Really lovely. Well put together, well thought out and very, very pretty on you.
    My hair is deepest brown and once upon a time I wanted Jennifer Anistons hair. The hair dresser said it would take lots of sessions to lighten it slowly & would be a huge upkeep to stay that way. How did you manage it? You were quite dark.

  • An informative article, Imogen. I am warm and light, so I look for off-whites to use year round. Since my eyes and eyebrows are dark, I select one of my Intriguing palette colors for accents. I collect metallic shoes and purses and use them as neutrals with my off-white/champagne tints. When my light blonde hair turns to silver, that will start me searching for silver metallic accessories!

  • How are you doing with keeping those whites clean? I look amazing in white, but I hesitate to buy white clothes because I’m messy and clumsy (and my favourite between-meals snack is dark chocolate) Omg the stains…. :O

  • How did you avoid the advice that is usually given -to go warmer as you age? You are not washed out at all! I’m afraid I would be, in spite of the fact that I’m very cool colored too!

    • Having many years experience with colours, I knew I needed to stay cool! Why not try on a wig in the colour you’re thinking about?

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