Why Don’t I Wear All the Colours in My Palette?


Have you had a personal colour analysis but only wear a small selection of the colours in your palette?

There are a number of reasons for this. They can be psychological – you just don’t like the colour (often some sort of association with the colour that is negative for you) or it can just be that this specific colour is not your very best.

Remember that most colour palettes are generic (unless you have a signature colour palette only) and you are a unique individual, and so there will be some colours in the palette that harmonise more fully with you than others.  This means that you may want to wear ALL the colours available to you.

Watch the video to see more about this!

Why Didn’t I Get Every Colour Selected in My Signature Colours?

“There is a whole rainbow in my swatch, but I notice that there are colours left out of my signature colour selection.  Why is this?.”

I get asked this question fairly frequently, or in another way of putting this, I’ll get told that “because I don’t much like orange on me I can’t possibly have warm colouring” when if fact, it may just be that orange is not a signature colour – it’s not your best colour as it doesn’t harmonise as well as the warmer pinks (for example) in your swatch, you may not be attracted to it or wear it.

It’s important to know that when identifying signature colours I’m looking for the VERY BEST colours in the swatch for you.  I’m looking for the colours that are inherent in your skin, eyes, lips and hair, and those colours that intensify them.  There will be colours that are “less you” and others that are so amazing on you within any palette.

So this is why you may miss out on colours.  As I’m selecting colours, what’s going on in my head is often “OMG I love these pinks and reds on you …. mmm these blues aren’t doing it for you…. ah but these greens are fabulous …. ” as I shuffle through the palette and make my selections.

But I Can’t Wear All My Signatures Head to Toe!

This is true, as signature colours are selected by finding the colours from all the possibilities available that harmonise best with your skin, hair, lips and eyes. This narrows down your options much more. A skin signature may not work as well in an all-over garment if your hair is a different value to your skin, as this signature colour is not in your ideal value.

What’s ideal value again?

Your ideal value is the value (lightness or darkness) of your hair. So colours that are most similar in value to your hair, will be the easiest to wear in large blocks next to your face as hair dominated what we really notice about someone (is surrounds your face).

Ideally, you want to think about the 60/30/10 proportional rule for using colours – 60% in ideal value (same value as hair), 30% in skin value and 10% accent (eyes if they are significantly different to skin and hair values).

Selecting the background of a print - make sure it's in a similar value to your hair
Left: The model wears a good value contrast, but the background of the print is light – which is not reflecting her dark ideal value. Right: The model wears a dark background print – again with a good value contrast for her – and this top looks in harmony with her colouring.

If you want to wear an outfit in just one colour (such as a dress) look for colours in a similar value to your hair.  Or if it’s a patterned item, that the background of the colour is in a similar value to your hair.  

Colour and Value Contrast Matter

Just as ideal value matters when selecting colours to wear in large blocks – so do colour and value contrast!

If you have a high value contrast, then you need to wear both light and dark colours together in every outfit.  This can be done with accessories!  It doesn’t have to be garments.

How to select the right colours from your colour palette - look at your ideal value, value contrast and colour contrast


If you have high colour contrast, just wearing neutrals will look bland and boring on you – you are the queen of colour and need to be celebrating it by wearing multiple colours at the one time.  The easiest way to do this is with multicoloured patterns!  It takes so much of the stress out of trying to figure out how to put multiple colours together that work!

And don’t forget you can fudge a medium value contrast even when wearing light and dark colours (or neutrals) by wearing a medium value colour as well to break up the jump between the light and dark!

How to Find Your Ultimate Colour Contrast – Your Three Step Process

Where Celebrities Go Right and Wrong with Their Contrast

When Your Colour Analysis Result Is Not What You Expected

9 Ways Knowing Your Best Colours Will Change Your Life as Well as Your Wardrobe

Why Don't I Wear All the Colours in My Palette?


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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  • Thank you Imogen. Everything you talk about in your posts is relevant to my everyday dressing. When I’m not pleased with an outfit I’m wearing but have no idea why you explain it so well. You are a gem. Kind Regards Kim

  • Angie is right: this is a puzzle… a 6000-piece puzzle!

    Thank you so much for teaching us new things in each new post

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