How to lighten up a colourful, but medium to dark wardrobe for low/medium contrast value. Help Please!
If you have overall lighter colouring but you’ve got an overall darker wardrobe, and realise that to look your best you need to lighten up your outfits – but you only have a medium value contrast – how to do this without having to replace your entire wardrobe? Overall dark outfits on someone with light hair (and colouring) can make the outfit look heavy and like it’s weighing you down.
Here are 5 ways to help you lighten up while still wearing your darker clothing.
1. Wear Your Ideal Value Closer to Your Face
Think about keeping lighter elements of your outfit closer to your face. This way you’re working with your natural features and creating harmony with them. You might want to invest in a great jacket that you can dress up and down in a neutral that is similar to your hair colour – this way you can put it over many different colours and it will harmonise with your colouring easily and quickly.
Yes my contrast isn’t quite right here (it’s a bit high) but because the larger proportion of the light value is on the outside (jacket) and dominates the outfit – it lightens up an otherwise dark value outfit. Notice too how the cobalt top is lighter than my dark jeans, so it’s starting that step from dark to light through a more medium (medium dark here) colour.
2. Wear a More Obvious/Brighter Medium Value Colour
Wearing a contrasting medium value colour in my tee pulls the focus – so even though it’s inside the darker jacket – it’s what you notice and so makes the outfit feel lighter as it’s the advancing colour in the outfit.
Here – even though the bottom is dark, the top is brighter and medium value (and in line with the depth of my eyes) which makes the outfit not feel so dark and heavy as it could.
3. Wear Your Ideal Value Contrast
Here again, I’ve used a medium value contrast with a darker outfit – but the medium value jacket has enough lightness to lift the outfit and because the value contrast is right – even though the overall ideal value isn’t as great as it could be, I can get away with it!
4. Add an Accessory that Bridges the Values
Here I’ve added in a scarf that bridges the values – it has light, medium and dark elements within it and so draw together the different colours in my outfit – the dark boots and jeans, the medium value tops and then adds that necessary light element close to my face.
5. Choose Signature Colours
You’ll notice in all the examples that colours I wear signature colours that bring out elements of my natural colouring – blues that make my blue eyes pop. Pinks and reds that are skin enhancers – by replicating my natural colouring, it’s much easier to create an outfit that is more flattering for you.
If you’d like me to choose your signature colours – I do this in a personal colour analysis and also in my 7 Steps to Style program if you choose to get your full colour palette.
Mixing and matching colours is so much easier when you have a refined palette of colours to work with and know your ideal value, colour and value contrasts – and even how to work with your existing wardrobe to make it work for you!