Style Rules for Building a Wardrobe of Classic Staples When You Have a Light Ideal Value

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Hi, 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 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 thanks

 

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).

Style Rules for Building a Wardrobe of Classic Staples When You Have a Light Ideal Value
This top is a very dark navy (and not the best navy to wear next to my face).

 

Style Rules for Building a Wardrobe of Classic Staples When You Have a Light Ideal Value
This denim jacket is a medium-dark navy and is much easier to wear as a light value staple piece.

 

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.Style Rules for Building a Wardrobe of Classic Staples When You Have a Light Ideal Value

 

 

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.

Style Rules for Building a Wardrobe of Classic Staples When You Have a Light Ideal Value
Dark grey jeans with medium grey top and light pink jacket

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).

Style Rules for Building a Wardrobe of Classic Staples When You Have a Light Ideal Value
Medium navy pants with multicoloured and multi-value top with light jacket

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.

Style Rules for Building a Wardrobe of Classic Staples When You Have a Light Ideal Value
Dark indigo denim and top (column of colour) with medium-light teal jacket and medium light blue scarf

 

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.

Style Rules for Building a Wardrobe of Classic Staples When You Have a Light 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.

Style Rules for Building a Wardrobe of Classic Staples When You Have a Light Ideal Value
Here are some more medium-light colours rather than really light ones

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 Building a Wardrobe of Classic Staples When You Have a Light Ideal Value
Proportionally you see more of the light grey than the dark – and because the dark grey has a light star pattern through it lifts the overall value up to look lighter.

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.

5 Easy Ways to Lighten up a Dark Wardrobe

 

Where Celebrities Go Right and Wrong with Their Contrast

 

Style Rules for Building a Wardrobe of Classic Staples When You Have a Light Ideal Value

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6 Comments

  • 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!

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