The next in Carol Karl and my series on choosing jewellery is all about getting your contrast right.
Contrast is a hot topic in my online style program 7 Steps to Style – as it’s the key to how you take a generic colour swatch and then choose colours in a way that work for you as an individual.
The easiest way of putting gorgeous outfits together that flatter your colouring, is to create harmony and balance with your natural features.
Watch our discussion now
Value Contrast and Ideal Value
Value is the technical word for how light or dark a colour is.
So Value Contrast is the difference between the lightest and darkest parts of you.
For example, in the image below – the old higher value contrast version of me on the left, vs the new medium value contrast version.
Plus the biggest difference is that my ideal value used to be dark – meaning because I had dark hair, I suited overall outfits with pops of light. Now that I have overall light hair and skin, and only my eyes are the medium part of me with any depth, I suit overall lighter outfits with pops of medium value colours or neutrals.
The proportions of light and dark relate to the volume – hair is the most dominant value, then skin, then eyes. As my eyes are now my darkest element – but they are small, I only need pops of something medium in an outfit, not lots of it.
Create Harmony and Balance with Your Natural Colouring
Repeating what you see in the mirror is the easiest way to put colours together for you. It creates harmony when you repeat the different colours in you and values in you in your outfits.
I’m wearing a grey top in the same colour and value as my hair, then a blue jacket in a similar value to my hair and skin, and then my necklace has darker blue pieces that are similar in value (and colour) to my eyes. Creating a harmonious effect as the different elements of me are repeated in the outfit.
This brings us to our next topic, colour contrast which of course means how many and how different the colours are that work well for you to wear at one time.
This is the second part of contrast and can feel like the more confusing part too. Though don’t let this thought hold you back!
Black, white and grey are what are called Achromatic Neutrals – as they are WITHOUT chroma (colour). So if you have black, white or grey hair, your hair is the most neutral as it’s completely off the colour wheel.
We call brown, beige and ash blonde also neutral. But if you have golden or strawberry blonde hair, are a red-head or a coppery brown, or have dyed your hair to any rainbow colour – this will be seen as having a coloured (on colour wheel) element to your colouring. I’ve got lots of free tips on figuring out your colour and value contrast here.
Do you consider your skin more golden, or pink, red or even orange (many darker skins like Oprah’s have an orange/bronze look)? If so then you’d class your skin as a colour.
Then how about your eyes? Are they blue, teal or green? Or are they brown? If they read as a colour on the colour wheel – blue, green and many hazels which are a combination of greens and a little brown, then consider your eyes looking coloured.
Some people, particularly those with more generous lips, and have lots of natural colour in them (they look like they’re wearing lipstick even when they just wear gloss), then this may also play into colour contrast as that colour is noticeable. But if their skin is also pink, as are their lips, then it doesn’t add an additional colour. But if their skin is more neutral and then they have more coloured lips, this will add an additional colour into their colour contrast.
The more different colours in you the higher your colour contrast, and the better you ‘ll look wearing multiple colours at the same time.
If you are more monochromatic (one colour) or neutral, then you’ll look better in just one colour with neutrals, or shades of the same colour (in your value contrast).
Here I’m repeating the pink of my lipstick and blue of my eyes in this outfit, all in a medium value contrast.
Your Best Neutrals
Your best neutrals relate to your hair colour – repeat the colour of your hair in neutrals and you’ll always have an outfit that has your ideal value in it, and works with you (cos you’re always wearing your hair).
Then also look at the colour of your eyes, and find a neutral version of them – it could be navy (blue eyes), olive (green eyes), or brown (brown eyes),
I’ve got lots of tips here on figuring out your best neutrals to base your wardrobe around.
When you take each portion of your colouring into consideration, and then repeat that in your outfits, you’ll always look amazing.
Using Your Jewellery to Create Your Ideal Contrasts
A really easy way to create your best contrasts is to do it in your jewellery, as it sits right next to your face.
You can wear beads that have the right value contrast and colour contrast and that will do the work for you!
Get Your Colours and Contrast Sorted
If you’d like my professional opinion on all these matters (taking the guesswork out of it for you), then I’d invite you to join 7 Steps to Style which includes Evolve Your Style (or do an online colour analysis with me) where you’ll discover everything we’ve covered in this (and the other videos Carol and I have been making) and more about personality, and body shape and wardrobing so that you can build a wardrobe full of clothes you love and that work for you so you look fabulous and feel confident every day.