Tim Gunns Wardrobe Basics and substituting navy for black etc but not really getting that as a summer my value was light and I really needed to look at my clothes as a light. So I feel that depending on your value the ‘ rules’ change and I struggle with how. Hope that this makes some kind of sense. Many thanksHi, Imogen, I think you introduced for me a fundamental change in thinking when you talked about being primarily light medium or dark value. That was rather an aha moment. I always knew that I was summer and then cool muted and light but I was for example than trying to make that palette fit to say
When you have an ideal value that is light, you want to think about your whole wardrobe being lighter rather than darker. I know this was a massive shift in thinking for me when I transitioned from brunette to blonde, I suddenly noticed that my wardrobe – even the colours in it – were on the darker end of the spectrum as a whole.
And in the workplace, dark neutrals rule as they express a more powerful and authoritative appearance. So as a light person how do you add in a level of depth to retain your authority and presence, without the colour draining you of life and overwhelming you? And how do you keep wearing your existing darker items?
How can you build a wardrobe around classic staples that are not really dark but still flatter?
Don’t Go Super Dark
They key is to choose medium-dark, rather than deep-dark colours. What is interesting, is that on a lighter person, a medium-dark colour looks darker (it’s all about simultaneous contrast – how one colour appears next to another, and how the colour it’s next to influences the way it appears).
You can really see the difference between the two navy items in the images above. There is dark and then there is really-dark. As a lighter value person, think about choosing the lighter version of darker neutrals as your staples rather than the dark ones.
Wear a Light Outer Layer
In winter when I want to wear my black boots and dark denim, to ensure that the whole outfit doesn’t become too dark (particularly if I’m also wearing a column of colour), then I choose a lighter outer layer to relate to my light colouring.
Here is another example of a lighter jacket layer over a medium patterned top and darker bottoms (though notice, not a really dark navy – but a mid-dark navy).
Here (below) I’ve got a column of navy under my jacket and scarf – but these medium-light colours blend with my colouring making the navy recede into the background.
Wear all Lighter Colours and Neutrals
It’s much easier in summer to be choosing light colours in tops to work with your ideal value.
Depending on whether you are very light (like me) or medium light (medium-darker blonde hair), will influence whether you go with the really light colours for summer, or something a with a little more depth.
Choose Lighter Denim
Even think about finding jeans in lighter colours (indigo is great but can look very dark on a light). Instead try a lighter blue denim, grey or white (though finding white denim that is thicker so doesn’t show every lump and bump is pretty tricky!).
Style Rules for Light Value Staples
- Make your blacks greys, and then think light to medium grey rather than dark grey.
- Lighten your navy up too.
- With your existing darker clothing, try and have the dominant colour next to your face a light colour.
- Use medium value colours to step between your existing dark bottoms and a lighter top.
- Use scarves to shift a dark colour away from your face.
Hopefully, you can now think about finding new classic staples in neutrals and colours that work with your light ideal value.
Thank you Imogen I really appreciate you answering my question.
Such grat tips! Always looking forward to your posts on colour values. I find this concept truly fascinating! I even feel that with the right contrast one can get away with wearing not so flattering colours or at least it doesn’t look as bad as when both the colours and the contrast are incorrect.
Thank you Imogen -this was exactly the kind of encouragement I needed! Basically I knew it but it helped a lot when you visualised the ideas with pictures.
This is a great post to me (I seem to be Light Spring).
I enjoy your blog very much, you provide rules that are worth to follow.
I have a request for this colder season coming – have you considered a post on scarves? Not only how to tie them like the info you can find on many Pinterest pics, but also what kind of scarf works best with particular knot and what scarf & knot should be used for particular body shapes. Hope that’s possible! Thanks
I don’t think there are rules on scarves for different body shapes! And then knots will change how the scarf appears based on the stiffness of fabric, lengths, etc, so same knot could work on a variety of scarves but just look different. I do have scarf tips for Petites – https://insideoutstyleblog.com/2011/06/petite-scarf-advice.html – but that’s as prescriptive as I’d want to get. I recommend you play with different scarves you own with different knots and see what you like to wear.
Thank you so much for this blog post. It’s very helpful.
I especially like the idea of using a light outer layer – even a colorful one – when wearing darker basics. I would never have thought of that!
Wow, I have just found my go-to site for wardrobe advice. I left you another compliment on your analysis of body shapes. I love your points in this article. I’ve been studying color analysis. I have my ‘colors’, but I was feeling like some of them are just way too dark, imo. It makes me feel so depressed or something. So, now I will start to consider my own version of a dark color as it sits next to my skin. Thank you. You are really great at this!