How to Manage the Transition from One Colour Palette or Season to Another


Managing the Transition from One Colour Palette to Another


How do you manage moving your wardrobe from one colour palette to another?

Why Your Colour Palette May Change Directions (or Seasons)

  1. You are growing older year by year and your colouring has softened with age (yes it happens to all of us) and Jill and I have discussed where you may go here.
  2. You have had a radical hair colour change and the colours that used to suit you now no longer don’t (as happened to me when I went from brunette to blonde)
    How to manage the transition from one colour palette to another
  3. You had a colour analysis some time back when systems weren’t as good and you were given a palette that didn’t really work fabulously well for you, but there weren’t the options I have today (which I’ve talked a bit about here).
  4. You assumed you were Warm or Cool based on others in your family and what they wore, yet your colouring isn’t actually the same as theirs.
  5. Health has changed your colours (some medications may change colouring).

In this video with Jill Chivers of Shop Your Wardrobe, we discuss how to deal with the wardrobe changes that may happen when your palette changes.

Financial Elements of Changing Colour Palettes

  1. Don’t just throw it all away (unless you are one of the lucky ones who has an unlimited budget to replace an entire wardrobe).
  2. As you replace garments, replace with great colours and styles instead of falling back on black (or the like as often people do).
  3. Remember that few people notice so much if you’ve been wearing the wrong colours, they are used to you in them, so making a gradual shift to your new palette is fine! Learn how to wear unflattering colours here.
  4. Create a plan based around your clothing budget so you can start replacing the main items in your wardrobe.
  5. Very often, many discover that they already have the colours that work for them are already in their wardrobe, they just haven’t realised.
  6. Don’t forget you can overdye items from bad to good, this will save you lots of money, particularly on pieces that you have loved that you would like to keep (read up about how to do this here.)
  7. Do a clothing swap with your friends and family to save money.
  8. Try thrift shopping to try out new colours without breaking the bank.
  9. Find a scarf in a great colour which will help to make the new and great colours reflect.
  10. Use my capsule wardrobe plan (download it here free) so that you can rebuild your wardrobe in a clear and logical way.

Emotional Elements of Changing Colour Palettes

It can be a lot to take in if the colours you’d assumed were right are actually not the ones that suit you.

If you go through any colour change it can take some time to get used to a new colour palette.   You have to relearn how to dress yourself, getting the right contrast and colours as they aren’t habituated in the way what you have worn.

Ideally build on one element at a time.  Don’t expect to do everything at once.

  1. Start choosing the right colours in your ideal value
  2. Start getting the right value contrast for your current colouring
  3. Then move onto making sure your colour contrast is working ideally for you

Don’t expect to do each of these three steps in seconds, the minute you change your palette.   It will take some extra work to get there and could take weeks or months.

Make any new purchase and 8 or more or on colour so you don’t slip back into poor colour choices which won’t make you feel as great as you could be feeling (and looking).

We’d love to know, have you transitioned from one palette to another and how have you worked through this process?

Further Reading on Colouring and Colour Palettes

Understanding Colour Systems and Personal Colour Analysis

How to Find Colours to Match Your Colour Swatch

Colour or Style – Which Comes First When Shopping for Clothes?

This Tool Will Make You an Expert in Finding the Value of a Colour

Choosing a Print with the Right Contrast for You


Are You Colour Contrast or Value Contrast Dominant



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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  • This post and video are terrific and so informative about our changing color palettes. As a member of your 7 Steps program, I had my colors evaluated by you and must say that despite the long distance (I live in NYC), you were able to determine my colors as the Elegant palette. As many, I had my colors done in the 1980’s and was told I was a winter and that this would be my palette for life. However, time and tide moving on, my colors have softened a bit and bright colors would no longer be best.
    My one problem however, is avoiding colors I see on others that I like but would not suit me (especially lipsticks!)

  • Hi Imogen – would you do a piece on how to wear sneakers? I’m seeing varying degrees of sneakers from very casual and some that are almost a cross between a brogue and a sneaker and wonder how I can wear them? I’m a 52 yo H shape and I struggle with casual looks the most, so this one perplexes me!! Thanks always for your valuable advice. Cheers, Lynda

    • I will do something – I definitely think there is a big personality element to sneakers (as with all shoe choices) and some of us are sneaker wearers and some are not, expect when exercising, just as some of us like heels and some don’t.

  • Thankyou – This has been so on my mind this year as I went from golden brown (natural colour) to bleach blonde with bright blue purple roots to dark burgundy purple roots to mahogany with grey highlights.

    As I commented in earlier blog posts of yours this year I found it a very tricky transition going from a warm colouring & medium contrast to cool colouring with Low and then high contrast. I really didn’t set off the new hair as I didn’t know how to dress to flatter it. It was just so different to how I’ve looked for the last 35 years. However, my hard earned tips are get some statement pieces like a pair of shoes or jacket in matching colour to the new hair as this will really tie your outfit together and you can wear them alot. Another tip is if you continuously changing the hair colour get bags, shoes and other accessories in the colour that makes your eyes pop. Also I ended up packing away my warm toned clothes as it was distracting wading through them to get to the cool toned clothes of which I had hardly any. Luckily my core colour for work is Navy and that worked with all colours so I didn’t need to shake things up to much there. Of course scarves are a really easy way to ring in the changes. A friend off loaded a dark purple scarf that perfectly matched one lot of purple roots and I got so many compliments when I wore it.
    I’m back to the hairdresser next week and my next dye job will be a warm one… I miss all my orange and yellowy greens. I have had so much fun this year changing my colour every 6 weeks. I reckon I’m one or two hair colour changes more before I settle … or maybe not 😉

  • Can you do a blog on picking scarves and where to find them? I seem to either stick with solids or find the colors on silk print scarves are much bolder than I wear now? Or point me in the right direction if you have done this alreafy.

  • Thank you for a very informative video. In fact, I love all your videos. I find hope in your viewpoint that we can change seasons as we age, and undergo treatment for severe medical conditions, that cause our skins, hair, and eyes to change. I don’t know of another system that would agree that we can change seasons, but I have seen it in myself for sure. This has caused great confusion and “imbalance” within myself finding that suddenly colours don’t look the same as they used to. Above in these comments, Rebecca mentioned she was a winter, but with time she has needed softer colours. I am interested to know where a winter could possibly move to when she softens with age and other factors. Could we soften enough to move into the summer season, or is there a soft winter category ?

  • Thanks for a great posting! I am transitioning from one colour palette to another at the moment, well for the last year, to be exact. I was always a deep autumn when younger, but gone done again (draped) as was finding the murky olives and rusts no longer suited me. Surprise, surprise, I had turned into a bright spring – which is a totally different palette, fresh and well, bright! I think this was down in part to hair colour changes, going from dark brown to mid brown; but to be fair my hair was covered for the draping, so the palette choice was on how skin and eyes now looked. My skin has not changed very much, still pale ivory, but my eyes, as a result of fading with age have gone from dark olive green (almost black) to mid green, and two eye operations have replaced the internal lenses, so they now glint with a sparkle (never had sparkly eyes before!), so now have sparkly mid green eyes. I have put a few olive clothes not even worn on ebay and worn the rest for gardening! H and M (don’t know if you have them in Australia?) have been good for buying cheap replacements to try out in the corals and bright pinks should now be wearing. I also bought some long scarves in new colours to add to black clothes for the present too. The transition is going OK, but have entered a new type of clothing style as well, the olives and rusts etc seemed to suit natural style clothing and the new colours plus body changes seem to dictate a new style somewhat. At 63, I am not totally comfortable in going around head to toe in really bright colours all day, so am learning new ways to incorporate them without looking like an explosion in a paint factory – my hardest task so far with the transitioning – but am enjoying it!

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