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Category Archives: Colour

Colour Essentials Every Woman Should Know,Colour Analysis, Image Consultant Training, Image Innovators, Style Clinic, Ann Reinten


By | Colour, Style Clinic | 5 Comments

We take so many things in our world for granted. Take colour for instance, have you ever stopped to consider the impact it has on your world and in your life? 

Far beyond making what you wear appear more interesting colour can:Colour Essentials Every Woman Should Know,Colour Analysis, Image Consultant Training, Image Innovators, Style Clinic, Ann Reinten

  • make us appear younger or older,
  • larger or smaller,
  • healthy or ill,
  • smarter or dull-witted
  • it can sway the thinking of others,
  • change moods
  • cause actions and reactions.

That’s pretty amazing when you stop to consider it and a natural tool we can harness to look better and get more out of our social connections.

In today’s feature, I’m going to cover some of the most impactful elements of colour in relation to the clothes we wear and the makeup we apply.

First off, there are a few important things to know when understanding the relationship between you and your best colours.

  1. The more qualities a colour has that match the qualities of your skin, the more flattering the colour will be.  
  2. The colours you wear above your waist mater most when it comes to making your skin, hair and eyes look best. Colours worn below the waist need only be considered has to how they will alter the perception of size.
  3. You can wear almost any colour if you know how to bend the rules in your favour.

A colour analysis through a trained professional is the only reliable way of discovering your best colours.

Relative Temperature
7 Essentials of Discovering Your Best Colours, 7 Essentials of Discovering Your Best Colors, Colour Analysis, Image Consultant Training, Image Innovators, Style Clinic, Ann Reinten

The basic colour wheel can be divided into cool and warm segments with the cool colours containing more blue/violet undertones and the warm containing more yellow/orange. However, as colours from either side of colour get added the perception can change i.e. a cool colour can appear warmer and vice versa.   

Green and yellow are great examples.

With green (the colour with the largest gamut) you can easily see how the hue can move from cool to neutral to warm as it has more blue or yellow added to it.

Yellow, a colour with the second smallest gamut and considered warm becomes cooler as green is added and even warmer when orange is added.

Colour analysis is based on Relative Temperature (how warm or cool colour is as it is influenced by warm or cool colours that sit either side of it).  

In most cases, a person’s skin can be determined to be primarily cool or warm. Colours that are more neutral are those that are easiest to wear for the greatest amount of people. If your undertone is primarily cool, then colours that are cool to neutral and sometimes even neutral to warm will suit you depending on your colour direction. Colour directions such as DARK cool, BRIGHT cool, LIGHT cool, LIGHT warm, SOFT warm and SOFT cool span between warm and cool colours. 

It’s also worth noting that dark and very light colours can be deceiving as these depths tend to appear cool.

7 Essentials of Discovering Your Best Colours, 7 Essentials of Discovering Your Best Colors, Colour Analysis, Image Consultant Training, Image Innovators, Style Clinic, Ann Reinten, Warm and Cool Greens


7 Essentials of Discovering Your Best Colours, 7 Essentials of Discovering Your Best Colors, Colour Analysis, Image Consultant Training, Image Innovators, Style Clinic, Ann Reinten, Warm and Cool Yellows

7 Essentials of Discovering Your Best Colours, 7 Essentials of Discovering Your Best Colors, Colour Analysis, Image Consultant Training, Image Innovators, Style Clinic, Ann Reinten, Wearing the Right Colour Temperature


This quality of colour refers to how clear/pure/saturated or muted/muddy/desaturated a colour appears. This is an element that I’ve found most women get right naturally. Many clients I’ve worked with tend to have garments in the right intensity but the wrong temperature for them.

Clear colours are crisp and clean. It’s easiest to see pure colours when they are light to medium in depth.

Muted colours are smoky, soft, greyed and there are, of course, colours that look neither obviously pure or muted and these like neutral temperature colours are easy for many people to wear well.

Colour directions such as COOL clear, BRIGHT cool, DARK cool, WARM clear, LIGHT clear, BRIGHT clear wear Clear colours best while COOL muted, LIGHT cool, SOFT cool, WARM muted, DARK warm and SOFT warm are best with primarily muted colours.

The grey-haired woman below is COOL muted and looks overwhelmed by the bright clear pink while the blue is less intense and more flattering on her.

Like temperature, dark and very light colours can be deceiving as these depths tend to appear more pure/clear.

When it comes to human skin the same elements are present although we rename Pure, Clear.

7 Essentials of Discovering Your Best Colours, 7 Essentials of Discovering Your Best Colors, Colour Analysis, Image Consultant Training, Image Innovators, Style Clinic, Ann Reinten, Wearing the Best Colour Intensity


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Also known by some as Depth is how light or dark a colour is.  Your personal skin value, contrast and colour direction will determine your best colour depths/values. For example, women who are light in colouring tend not to wear very light and dark colours well and are best staying within medium-light to medium dark for clothing and makeup. In the images below the black turtleneck is harsh/stark against the model’s skin and hair and can be especially draining is she is over 50. Charcoal or navy is a far better choice for women who have pale skin and eyes.   

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Impact Contrast

Contrast is all about how you combine your best colours for the very best result. Various levels of contrast are achieved by placing colours of different depths and Intensities next to each other. It is slightly different from the contrast taught in art lessons when it comes to high contrast.

Don’t they all combine well since they are the person’s best colours I hear you say?

The answer is yes and no. An individual’s best colours all coordinate well with each other, but they may not look that great when worn on you in all circumstances. For example, we can wear a single solid colour near our face, two or more colours when layering i.e. a top, vest and statement necklace or a print comprising of various colours.

Confused? Don’t be, it’s simple really and depends on your colour direction. For example, the woman below has the ID colouring of a Cool muted and has both these colours in her range. While both are in sync with her skin the cocoa coloured outfit while calm and elegant does little to enhance her overall colouring (skin, hair and eyes) because it is too close in depth/value to her skin colour. Understanding which contrast level best suits, you from your colour range makes putting together a versatile, mix and match wardrobe much easier.

So, what are these contrasts?

Low Impact Contrast

This is when colours of the same or similar depth are placed next to each other. Take the example above of the model in the light cocoa coloured top against her skin. It’s a colour from her range but worn next to her face provides little visual impact.

The same occurs when considering prints or layering garments, colours like: like a burgundy sweater and a forest green jacket or a lemon top and linen vest. While the colours are different the Depth/Value of each is almost the same and depending on your colour direction may do you no favours.

Low contrast is effective for times you want to blend in and listen then take part or be noticed.    

Medium Impact Contrast

This level of contrast is created when you can discern a distinct difference in value/depth between colours this is occurring in the image below where the model is wearing blue. The colour not only lights her face it also makes her appear more alive and youthful,

Medium contrast is noticeable and approachable and great for times you want to be noticed and shine.

High Impact Contrast

These are colour combos from your colour range that are very different in brightness, not just value/depth. They are colour combos that make you say WOW. High Impact can be achieved from most people’s range of colours but just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Some colour directions will be overpowered by a colour near their face, in a print or through coordinating layers if the result is high contrast. – see the example pink top below.  Directions like BRIGHT cool and BRIGHT warm wear high contrast best.

High contrast is most useful when you want to stand out and be noticed, though it’s so strong you’ll need to approach people as they may not feel comfortable to approach you first.

Don’t stop at clothing when you consider impact contrast, the same effects can be applied to your makeup and hair colour.

 7 Colour Essentials Every Woman Should Know,Colour Analysis, Image Consultant Training, Image Innovators, Style Clinic, Ann Reinten, Impact Contrast Solid Colours


7 Colour Essentials Every Woman Should Know,Colour Analysis, Image Consultant Training, Image Innovators, Style Clinic, Ann Reinten, Impact Contrast Layering

7 Colour Essentials Every Woman Should Know,Colour Analysis, Image Consultant Training, Image Innovators, Style Clinic, Ann Reinten, Impact Contrast Prints


The colours we wear are often affected by the fabric they are in; smooth fabrics allow the colour to show in its full intensity will textured surface tend to mute colours down a little. Colour directions who are primarily Clear i.e. COOL clear, DARK cool, BRIGHT cool, WARM clear, BRIGHT warm, LIGHT warm are all best wearing smooth/fine to slightly textured fabrics while directions who are primarily Muted are best in slightly to very texture fabrics.

As a side note, the more textured a fabric is the more it will attract dirt.

7 Essentials of Discovering Your Best Colours, 7 Essentials of Discovering Your Best Colors, Colour Analysis, Image Consultant Training, Image Innovators, Style Clinic, Ann Reinten, Surface


This is how well a fabric surface reflects light, think cotton, reflects no light/is matte and satin which reflects a lot of light and is shiny. While everyone can wear matte surfaces, colour directions who are Clear look amazing when they add shine; this could be a shiny top or a glossy lipstick,  

Women with more muted colouring i.e. COOL muted, LIGHT cool, SOFT cool, WARM muted, SOFT warm and DARK muted, are best avoiding high shine as it can look at odds with their more toned down, matte skin. Think matte lipsticks and textured garments.

Garments with a surface between matte and shiny are said to have ‘sheen’, think silk, and lucky for everyone it suits everyone and is a great way to add a little elegant glamour.

SIDE NOTE: sheen and shiny fabrics in close-fitting garments will show every scary little lump and bump you may have so be sure to done shapewear to create a smooth finish to your silhouette. Alternatively, select garments which skim your body.

7 Colour Essentials Every Woman Should Know,Colour Analysis, Image Consultant Training, Image Innovators, Style Clinic, Ann Reinten, Reflectivity

Discover Your Best Colours

If you would like to discover your best colours and receive a fabulous Image innovators Colour ID swatch and ebook please contact the consultant you purchased your My Private Stylist program though, search our consultant directory or contact me on ann@imageinnovators.com

A colour analysis is a wonderful way to ensure you shine every day and it’s a way to ensure you create a versatile wardrobe that mixes and matches effortlessly. 

Click here if you are interested in becoming an image consultant, to work as a colour consultant or just learn colour analysis.




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Thank you.
Ann Reinten AICI CIP

How to Wear White, Style Clinic, Ann Reinten, Image innovators, Image Consultant Training Online, Image Consultant and Stylist Resources


By | Colour, How To... | 2 Comments

What are thoughts about wearing white?

I believe it can be worn all year round. However, clever dressing means not only wearing the white that best suits your natural coloring but also knowing how to coordinate it with other colors to ensure you get the best look possible.

The Basics

The great thing about white is, unlike black, there is a form of white for every type of coloring.  In fact, according to Pantone Inc., there are more shades of white available commercially than any other color. Whites can be found in shades from the purest, brightest whites to off-white, magnolia and ivory and the best places to experience the gamut of whites is a bridal boutique. 

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There 3 main color considerations:


How warm or cool it is. Pure whites are best for Cool and Clears (aka Winters), Soft white for Cool and Muted individuals (aka Summers). Cream to Ivory for the Warm color directions (Warm and Clear / Warm and Muted – aka Spring / Autumn) 


The degree of brightness or dullness of the white. Clear bright forms of white are best for the Clears directions (Cool and Clear / Warm and Clear, aka Winters and Springs).  Softer, muted shades for individuals whose colors demands softer, less bright shades ( Cool and Muted / Warm and Muted – aka Summers and Autumns). 


When worn above the waist and as a solid color next to your skin. Some individuals need definite light and shade (contrast) between the color they wear and their skin. I’ll explain this later in the feature.    

Pros of White:

  • In the western world wearing white is seen as summery, youthful, sharp, clean, open-minded and efficient.
  • Pure white is easy to keep clean as it can often be bleached back to its original brightness.  
  • Like black, it is a color that coordinates with all other colors and is a fantastic canvas for accessories of all types.
  • There is always an abundance of white in the stores.

Cons of White:

  • Being a light color it advances and enlarges the area it is worn over.
  • In some countries, white is the color of death and mourning.
  • White can be boring, clinical and unimaginative if worn without accessories or embellishments.
  • For those who have the color direction of Cool and Muted (aka Summer), they will always look best in a color other than white. 
  • Being such a light color it is generally not slimming and therefore, a strategy on how to wear it on your largest area needs to be in place.
  • It’s a one wear, one wash color.
  • It can discolor easily under the arms through perspiration. here are two great features on how to remove stains from and bleach white clothes.
  • It is notorious for being see-through.

When it’s wrong to wear white

I’ve often been asked about the correct timing of wearing white. The only time I feel that white is not right is to a wedding. It’s the bride’s day and she needs, deserves and wants to stand out. I know many do so for what it’s worth I’ve added my thoughts in the images below. 

Not wearing white after Labor Day is one of those old rules that has dissipated over time – winter or summer it’s fine to wear white if you know how to pull it off. 

Other than that it’s really a matter of practicality i.e. wearing white to somewhere you’ll get dirty is very smart 


  • When wearing white above the waist select a white with an Undertone and Clarity that best suits your skin tone.  There’s no getting away from it if you have cool coloring and the white has a yellow tone, the garment will tend to look dull and possibly dirty.How to Wear White, Style Clinic, Ann Reinten, Image innovators, Image Consultant Training Online, Image Consultant and Stylist Resources
  •  If you are full figured or larger below your waist, when wearing white below the waist either:

a. wear a top with some volume, and in color to draw the eyes upwards.
b. look for a style that has no cuffs and is in a sturdy fabric.
c. if you bum is less than bootylicious – ensure your top covers it – see image below.
d. wear a white open blouse, jacket or vest with a colored top underneath to create a longer neck to hem silhouette.

How to Wear White, Style Clinic, Ann Reinten, Image innovators, Image Consultant Training Online, Image Consultant and Stylist Resources


  • White is a color that requires a high quality, opaque fabric to look best.  Because of its tendency to be see-through ensure you hold the garment up to the light to judge how sheer the fabric is and avoid pants with pockets or have them removed and the pocket is sewn shut.

How to Wear White, Style Clinic, Ann Reinten, Image innovators, Image Consultant Training Online, Image Consultant and Stylist Resources

  • Wear lingerie that matches your skin color.

How to Wear White, Style Clinic, Ann Reinten, Image innovators, Image Consultant Training Online, Image Consultant and Stylist Resources

  • White dresses are best when they are not skin tight white will advertise every lump and bump you possess. The best shapes are those that loose and flow over the body or semi-fitted shape.  

How to Wear White, Style Clinic, Ann Reinten, Image innovators, Image Consultant Training Online, Image Consultant and Stylist Resources

  • Wearing unadorned solid white can be visually uninspiring unless the dress has strong design lines/features.
  • If you are a clear color direction it’s a good idea to add a pop of color via embellishments or accessories.
  • If you are a muted season either look for a textured garment or add an accessory or embellishment near your face.

How to Wear White, Style Clinic, Ann Reinten, Image innovators, Image Consultant Training Online, Image Consultant and Stylist Resources

  • While white dresses are best kept for summer, if you add a jacket they will often work well into early winter.

How to Wear White, Style Clinic, Ann Reinten, Image innovators, Image Consultant Training Online, Image Consultant and Stylist Resources

  • White garments look best when you have a tan or have dark skin. If you are pale skinned try a spray tan for an instant fix.
  • Women with cool, light, muted skins tend to best in a color than they do in white. White tends to be too plain on them – see first model below. 

How to Wear White, Style Clinic, Ann Reinten, Image innovators, Image Consultant Training Online, Image Consultant and Stylist Resources Shopbop

  • Team white in summer with light, bright, metallic or skin toned shoes and in the cooler months team with black or tan.  

How to Wear White, Style Clinic, Ann Reinten, Image innovators, Image Consultant Training Online, Image Consultant and Stylist Resources


Winter White

  • Long gone is the rule of not wearing white in winter. When teamed with, monochromatic highlights, neutral colors and cozy accessories such as fur and boots white quickly becomes a winter highlight. 

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Links on the psychology of white.


If you enjoyed this week’s feature
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or leave a comment/question below.
Thank you.
Ann Reinten AICI CIP

Style Clinic, Image Innovators, Work Style, Ann Reinten, Image Consultant training

APPEARANCE: The Resume that Matters – Pt 3

By | Colour, Coordination, How To..., Personal Style, What to Wear, Work Style | 6 Comments

Welcome to part 3, the final instalment of my Appearance series on how to create a positive visual impression at work.

This time I’m primarily concentrating on color and accessories.

Color Up for Authority

Solid colors are the best choice for your foundation work pieces i.e., skirts, dresses, pants and jackets. Subtle patterns are best left for your next tier of work wear. 
Never underestimate the power of color depth – the darker the color the more authority it will bestow on you. If you suffer from dandruff or flaky skin conditions opt for medium colors and seek help for your condition.
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Color-Up for Impact

  • Clear colors are crisp, clean colors which show no signs of grayness/dullness. They create an image of mental clarity, vitality and action.(A)
  • Grayish/dull colors (especially those which are cool) can create a perception of mental dullness, passivity, low energy and mature age.(B)
  • Warm clear colors are seen as friendly, happy, energetic, youthful and playful. (C)  Wear sparingly to work.
  • Cool colors (the darker the better) are generally perceived as trustworthy, reliable and professional. (D)
  • Feminine colors such as pinks, lilac, yellow can diminish authority (E), while colors traditionally associated with men generally provide authority e.g., black, charcoal, navy.(A,D)  Avoid mid greys if you are over 50 as they tend to make you appear older.
  • Warm dull colors are emotionally reassuring however, they can also be perceived as low energy or passive. (F)
  • Bright, vivid or intense colors raise energy and enthusiasm and/or increase tensions depending on the color and situation. (G)
For more psychology of color insights click here.
Image Innovators, Ann Reinten, Style Clinic, Image Consultant Training, Work Style
Image Innovators, Ann Reinten, Style Clinic, Image Consultant Training, Work Style

Color Hierarchy

Being savvy about what colors to wear to work will help ensure you create the impression you’re after.

Traditional Business Attire: White has long been considered the most professional color for business shirts.  Next in line are the light/icy shades of blue, lilac and pink which are the most recognizable formal business colors (stars in Tradition business row).  Wear solid white when you wish to create the most serious/formal impression.

Business Casual colors are led by mid to dark blues and purples (stars in Business Casual row) and followed by mid shades of pink, orange, yellow and green. Bright, unusual colors not commonly associated with seriousness are best left for after work hours.

Prints and Patterns: For stripes and checks the background color should be considered first for its level of authority followed by the color of the stripes. Also, the narrower and closer together the stripes the more business like your image will be.


Contrast for Attention 

Another important aspect of color is its ability to subtly solicit attention.  The contrast level of an outfit is created between the colors you are wearing and will be in either a high, medium or low.  In the case of you wearing one color i.e., a beige dress, it will be between the dress and your skin (low contrast if you have light to medium Caucasian coloring). The higher the contrast the more the brain will be stimulated to take notice. Knowing how to manage this secret weapon can give you a real advantage.

  • High contrast is created by strong light/dark or bright color combinations; the kind that make you want to say WOW.  Depending on the colors this contrast can have you being perceived as authoritative (think 80′s power dressing) or eccentric.  It will definitely wake the brain and have you being noticed, but is so loud/strong that it can tend to make others stand back rather and observe rather than to interact with you. 
  • Medium contrast is created when the color contrast comes from colors that are lighter and darker than each other while being easy on the eye.  This level of contrast is professional and people friendly, think navy and white.  This contrast will have you noticed, listened to, taken seriously while remaining approachable.
  • Low contrast is created when different colors of the same or similar depth are combined.  This soft look tends to be perceived as elegant and sophisticated when rich or dark colors are combined and passive, casual, aging or bland when light colors are coordinated together.  If the colors are also close to the depth and of your skin the effect is multiplied. Imagine a dark skinned woman in the navy and black outfit. Low contrast is so quiet it can place you into visual incognito, as such it’s brilliant for observing and letting others take the lead, but when you want to take the reins or be noticed, listened to or taken seriously it’s not the way to dress.

It’s also important to mention that wearing colors that suit your personal coloring is also something to take seriously. The right colors will enhance your skin, hair and eyes, invigorate youthfulness and seriously increase your attractiveness. Image Innovators have many consultants who can help you discover your best colors.

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A Touch of Spice is Nice

Every outfit we wear is accompanied by at least one accessory: shoes, belt, earrings and/or handbag etc.  While it’s easy to just throw them on without a thought, considering them only ‘finisher items’, they are in fact, much more important than just ‘finishers’.
For relatively small cost you can own a minimal wardrobe of basic items and have multitudes of different outfits that will be ready to take you anywhere, anytime when you fully employ the power of accessories.  In other words, accessories can expand your wardrobe by giving your outfits multiple looks, moods and a current look. If you’ve never truly explored your wardrobe’s mix and match possibilities, take a day and pull out all your tried and true outfits. Go through all your accessories to find at least several new outfits. Explore ways to dress each up and down using earrings, necklaces, scarves, hosiery, shoes and bags etc. When it comes to career dressing, understanding what style of accessory and how many to employ at any one time is the key to ensuring a professional presentation. The aim is to create visual interest to your outfits whilst maintaining a professional image and ensuring the attention is firmly focused above your bust line.
Key points
  • By the best quality you can afford. Quality over quantity – your accessories should support your image.
  • Your face is your fortune. If you add several accessories ensure the one near your face is the most dominant.
  • Ask yourself, ‘does this accessory say polished professional?’  If it doesn’t or you’re in doubt, take it off.
  • Limit yourself to 3 visual focal points. More than this and you’ll be in danger of looking too ‘busy’ for businesses.
  • Learn how to accessorize – there are lots of great blog, books and YouTube videos to learn from.
  • Hand carry as few things as possible to avoid looking clumsy or disorganised.  Avoid backpacks.
  • Handbags: The more structured and polished the bag the more professional you’ll appear.
  • Earrings: understated, classic and no larger than medium-large.
  • Shoes: the most professional are – at least medium height, leather with a closed, tapered to pointy toe.
  • Belts: medium to narrow, classic style, understated buckle and leather.
  • Watch: classic style, non-bulky, leather or chain strap.

Be Current, Be Clever

An up-to-date appearance is essential. It says I’m aware of what’s going today in the world around me.  A current appearance puts others at ease and builds credibility and trust.  Wearing clothes, eyewear, hairstyles or makeup that is a decade or more old will give you a look that advertises that you are clearly out of sync with the world about you and if you look out-of-date, maybe so are your skills and knowledge. Remember; we trust that what we see is a reflection of your character and abilities. I’m not saying you need to wear the latest fashion, but you do need to wear clothes and accessories that are recognizable with specific trends that are no more than five years old.  This is especially important for anything that is close to, or on your face/head as these are the areas noticed most.
There’s also no understating the personal confidence and pleasure an up-to-date and impressive image will give you.  When YOU like what you see in the mirror it’s incredibly empowering.

Say What?

To be heard takes more than putting a great idea/point across at the right time, to the right people.
Your words can dissolve mid-air if you are wearing something, or acting in a way that attracts more attention than what you are saying.  Distractions have the power to totally sabotage what you are trying to say or do. Not only do they cause others to focus on ‘it’ rather than what you are trying to get across, they create an internal dialogue about the item and you or, the item and them.  Whatever you were saying becomes white noise and depending on what the distraction was it may also damage your credibility.Image Innovators, Ann Reinten, Style Clinic, Image Consultant Training, Work Style
Examples of distractions:
  • strong perfume
  • ornate/large earrings and rings
  • jangling bracelets
  • low cut necklines
  • very short hemlines
  • visible tattoos
  • dark lingerie under light colored clothes
  • food stuck in teeth
  • weird/inappropriate makeup or hair
  • wardrobe malfunctions eg., fallen hems, bra straps, buttons missing, clothes straining or gaping
  • inappropriate clothes i.e., for weight, age, occasion, people present etc
  • anything out of the ordinary e.g., an earring missing from one ear
  • Before any important meeting where you need to be seen and heard take a last minute full-length look at yourself to check everything is as it should be.

Turn Offs

Similar to distractions, though potentially much more costlier to an individual’s career, is the creation of the perception that a person lacks a degree of self-awareness and/or sensitivity for others. This conclusion having been made from an individual’s experience of the way they dressed, looked or behaved in a given situation. While most of us live in countries where we are blessed with the right to dress and behave as we please (within the limits of the law).  This privilege will backfire if the person is considered to be a maverick that cannot be totally trusted to dress or behave within social norms at important times. We may love them as friends or peers but their ‘loose-canon’ personality will cause us to exclude them from participating in important events.

 That ends this series, I hope you enjoyed it and have been able to adopt some of it into your wardrobe.
I’d love to hear your comments, stories or questions in the comment area below.


If you enjoyed this week’s feature
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or leave a comment/question below.
Thank you.
Ann Reinten AICI CIP

ColorSense_part 2

COLOR SENSE: Part 2, Contrast

By | Colour, Coordination | 15 Comments

At some point, most of us come to the realization that the colors wear have an affect how we look, feel and how others react to us. Colors that compliment our skin, eye and hair color boost how healthy and vibrant we appear and can magically turn back the clock a few years by giving us a more youthful glow.

Following on from part 1, this time I want to talk about ‘Color Contrast.’

While a color analysis provides valuable information for selecting the colors that work best for you, there are other important aspects of color coordination within your range of best colors that is seldom taught.

To start, contrast is created when two or more colors are placed next to each other.

There are three contrast levels:

  • High: bright, loud, vivid contrast that makes you say ‘WOW.’
  • Medium: two or more colors where a mix of light and dark is seen.
  • Low: a mix of colors which are similar depth to each other and seem to blend together.

Contrast Circles

Each contrast level affects:

  • how well a garment reacts with the contrast between your hair, eyes and skin.
  • the perception of the size of the area over which the garment is being worn,
  • your image when wearing the contrast level.

Focus is naturally drawn to contrast. Once understood contrast can be used to:

  • highlight or hide an area of your body,
  • make a visual statement or blend in and observe,
  • be taken seriously, remembered and listen to, or be overlooked or discounted.

Each contrast level can be created in the following ways:

  • between colors within a pattern or print
  • between garments when layering
  • between a solid colored garment and your skin.

Contrast Grouping

Skin Deep

Also worth noting is that a person’s skin coloring dictated which colors are high, medium or low contrast. Notice Isha in the burnt orange jacket below (low contrast) and Katie in the oatmeal colored dress, also low contrast. If we placed the orange jacket on Katie, the contrast would be medium. Alternatively, if we swapped Katie’s oatmeal dress onto Isha it too would be medium contrast.

Constrast Comparison bewteen black and white skins

Top Row: Isha Sesay  Bottom Row: Katie Couric

High Contrast

High contrast is created when two colors combine to create a very bright combination – one that causes others to say or think ‘WOW.’ It may be a dark color with a bright color or two bright colors together i.e. purple and yellow.

High contrast is best worn by individuals who have a medium to high color contrast between their hair, skin and eyes, as well as bright looking eyes and skin (tends to be combination to oily). These color groups are:

  • Bright Winter / Cool, Clear,
  • Cool Winter / Cool and Clear,
  • Bright Spring / Warm, Clear and Bright.
  • Deep Winter / Cool, Clear and Dark

Women with a low contrast will find that high contrast clothing will be so bold that the garment, not they will be the center of attention – see >40% model below. 

Depending on the pattern and the colors used, the psychological effect this combination produces is one of power, authority, flamboyance, creativity or eccentricity. High contrast combinations are generally worn by confident, outgoing people and while the look will certainly get you noticed, it is not necessarily one that is approachable or people friendly. Often people will stand back and observe you for a while before deciding if you are someone they feel comfortable approaching. This contrast level is most effective at times when you need authority or to stand out and be noticed. Not recommended for job interviews or situations when you need to win people over to your idea or side of the argument.

High contrast exaggerates all pattern sizes, especially those that are medium to large.

High contrast also highlights the area to where it is applied; drawing attention to it and visually advancing the area making it appear larger. Therefore, it’s best worn over the smallest area of your body.

When layering, to be able to pull-off high contrast without blinding anyone keep the high contrast color less than 40% of the color seen – see <40% and >40% images below.

High Contrast Group


Medium Contrast

Medium contrast is created when various color depths are combined that are easy on the eye and harmonious.

It is a contrast level suits all individuals regardless of personal coloring or ethnicity.

The psychological effect this combination produces is one of confidence, professionalism, appropriateness. Medium contrast attracts attention in an approachable and people friendly manner. The look inspires others to notice, remember, listen to and taken you seriously. It is appropriate for all situations, locations, and occasions.

Patterns of medium contrast are best placed over the smallest parts of your body. When placed over an area that is large be sure to choose the opposing garment in dark color from the pattern as this will draw the attention away from the larger area and visually elongate and slim your silhouette.

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Low Contrast

Low contrast is when colors of similar value (color depth) are combined. This contrast level is easy on the eye.

This contrast levels best suits individuals who have a similar contrast level between their skin, hair, and eyes plus a matte appearance to their skin.

These color groups are:

  • Soft Summer / Cool, Muted and Soft
  • Soft Autumn / Warm, Muted and Soft

On brighter individuals this combination may appear boring, drain them of color and be aging.

The psychological effect this combination produces is one of innocence, subtleness, and passivity. Low contrast while people friendly and elegant, is also almost invisible to others (especially in light combinations) and the wearer will need to either have already established their authority and position or else will struggle to be noticed, listened to or remembered. Give these facts low contrast is best left for after work hours.

Low contrast patterns are the easiest to wear even when the pattern size is large. This is because the subtly of the colors does little to increase apparent size. However, I would still recommend that if you wear the pattern on the largest part of your body that you select a color from the pattern for the opposing part of your body to ensure the sleekest silhouette.

Light, low contrast combinations are great for weekend wear and endows the wearer with casual elegance. Dark low contrast combinations create a evening elegance that is hard to beat.

Low Contrast Group2




If you enjoyed this week’s feature
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or leave a comment/question below.
Thank you.
Ann Reinten AICI CIP


COLOR SENSE: Part 1, Value, Perceived Weight and Size

By | Colour | 5 Comments

Color is a powerful factor in our lives; it can attract or repel, alter the perceived shape, size and weight of objects, nurture or aggravate, uplift or dampen moods, cause a release of energy or calm us to the point of sleep.

In the USA the 1940′s witnessed the birth of color analysis which quickly spread worldwide to become a global sensation and a ‘must have’ consultation for every woman. Today the color a person chooses to wear is still as important as ever and is often the make or break of how good an outfit looks on us.

I believe that learning what you best colors are is a incredibly beneficial thing to do; after all a great style in an unflattering color will always be a bad buy.

‘ a great style in an unflattering color will always be a bad buy’


But that’s not what I want to explore with you today. Instead, I want to share with you the impact specific color characteristics have on your apparent shape. In later parts I’ll explore other areas of color.

Think about the last time you went clothes shopping, more than likely it was the color of a garment that first caught your attention, then it drew you in and invited you to touch it. From there it was a short trip to the fitting room.

Sounds like you? You’re not alone, but buying by color alone is responsible for more poor purchases than any other factor. Liking a color and even if it’s one that suits your coloring and being able to look good are two totally different things. It may suit your personal coloring but what about your body shape? A great color needs to suits both.

Let’s start this journey by looking at color VALUE which is the apparent lightness or darkness of a color.


I find it easiest to place colors on a scale value of one to five.

  • Light
  • Medium light
  • Medium
  • Medium dark
  • Dark


The value of a color value has two effects on the apparent size and shape of a garment.

  • It can alter it’s apparent size 
  • It can alter it’s apparent weight.



The lighter a color is, the larger it makes the garment and the area it’s been worn on appear larger, because light colors advance (appears to move forward). Medium colors on the other hand neither advance or recede and so have little effect on size. Dark colors appear to recede (move backwards) making the garment and area it’s worn appear further away and therefore smaller.

Take home point

By considering the depth (value) of a garment and the effect it is likely to have on the area of your body it is designed for before you considering taking it into the fitting room will save you time and equip your eye for success.

My Private Stylist makes this easy for you by showing you your best color value for dresses, pants, tops, pants and skirts. PrêtàStyler takes the color depth of the item into consideration when assessing an item’s suitability to be added into your personal mall. 


Apparent Weight

Depending on the depth of a color it will appear to be either heavy or light.

Yes, you read correctly- colors have apparent weight.

Light colors appear to weight the least and dark colors appear to weight the most. Why? Because of how our natural world has conditioned us. In general, those things around us which are are heaviest are darker and visa versa.

A few years ago when explaining this in a class I was running to train image consultants I was told the story by one of the students that she had been a HR manager in a transport company and the men who were loading the trucks were complaining of the weight of the boxes they were being asked to load. The weight of these boxes were in accordance with industrial regulations, so should not have been causing so much anguish among the men. The unions were involved and eventually a consultant was called in and he noticed that the boxes were all dark, having a printed outer. The consultant suggested the company change the colour of the boxes to a light colour and voila the problem was solved. No mention of the color change was made. The company informed the men and union that the issue had been addressed and hoped the situation would be resolved. The workers celebrated the win and the lighter boxes, and everything went back to normal despite no change in the content or actual weight.

It’s the same with the garments we wear. Given a dark color appears to heavier than a light color it will appear more visually appealing when it is either worn as a whole item or on the top half of the body.


Take home point

If you are bigger below your waist (triangular), short or generally overweight its best to wear the darker color below your waist. The light color draws the eye up making the body appear taller and slimmer and the dark color minimizes the hips.

If you desire to wear a darker color on your top half ensure that if you have a big bottom the top covers all of your backside.


If you enjoyed this week’s feature
please like it on Facebook or Instagram
or leave a comment/question below.
Thank you.
Ann Reinten AICI CIP



By | Colour, Coordination, Wardrobe Savvy | No Comments

Is grey the new black?

Probably not but it should be here’s why…


  • works for more personal colorings than black
  • is kinder to complexions when you are over 50
  • is more versatile than most other neutrals and lends versatility and timelessness to a wardrobe
  • is a color that easily transfers from the office to casual outings
  • pairs perfectly with all colors
  • can be worn all year round

Not all greys are equal.

There are many greys in various temperatures, discovering your best grey is a great place to start.

Shades of grey1

There’s a Grey for Every Coloring

Grey_Cool and Clear

Grey_Cool and Muted

Grey_Warm and Clear

Grey_Warm and Muted

The Basics

  • Stick to one temperature of grey. Mixing different temperatures of grey can be tricky.
  • Wear darker greys around the problem areas in our body, and lighter colors around the areas you want to highlight.
  • Choose fabrics and silhouettes that reflect the current season.

Seasonal shapes and fabrication

Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4

  • Lighter shades are perceived as more casual than dark shades. To raise your authority wear medium to dark greys

Vales of grey


  • Greys in fine, smooth fabrics are dressier than those that are textured. Use this to tip to increase the formality of light grey. Structured shapes will also add to the formality/authority.



  • Grey marle has its origin in sport, making it the most casual version of grey and best left for non-business/casual occasions.


Source: Image 1, Image 2

Monochromatic Outfits

All grey outfits have the potential to look boring, to prevent this coordinate grey outfits garments in different depths of grey. This will unify you look and showcase your color knowhow. Max out at three depths, one light, one medium and one dark.

Grey Levels

Add texture or textural elements to create visual interest e.g, tweed, mohair, pleating, draping, print, fur etc.

Textural elements

Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3

Mixed Color Outfits

Mix with other neutrals

This creates a minimalist and modern aesthetic. Black, camel and white all play very well with gray, and give you a hundred chic points for looking sleek and effortless. Overlaying a black garment with a grey item can soft black’s sometimes harsh effect.

grey and neutrals

Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4

Pop a Color

From a subtle peek of bright color, to an elegant matching pink lip and heels combo, or even a shocking red maxi skirt, grey is the perfect color to serve as a canvas for a splash of strong color.


Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4

Pastel Paring

Pastels always turn heads when juxtaposed with tones of grey. The mix is elegant and feminine but don’t limit yourself to wearing it in the spring, these light colors are just as appropriate in fall/winter too.

Pastle pairings

Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4

Turn Down the Volume

Greys are great for toning down a loud all-over print, impactful graphic or bold colored outfit.

Create Subtley

Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4

Want More? He’s an interesting piece on the psychology of wearing grey.

So now that you know a little more about how to wear grey to look amazing will you be giving it ago?

I’d love to see you wearing grey outfits – why not post your photos on our Facebook page.  Add #MeInGrey



By | Colour, How To..., Wardrobe Savvy | 2 Comments

One step above multi-tone monochromatic dressing is the wearing a single, saturated hue. Nothing can beat it’s power for creating a style statement that is memorable, timeless, and chic.

The look easily translates from one season to another, simply select a hue that works with your personal coloring then the weather, the current color trend or whatever suits your mood.

Embracing color is such a vital part of everyone’s fashion journey and never underestimate the effect that individual colors can have on your psyche and those you interact with. 

That said wearing it also takes a little more imagination and finesse to ensure the look is visually interesting so here are a few tips.

#1. On The Surface

When it comes to personal styling, there’s no faster way to look like a fashion editor than experimenting with tons of surface textures and tactile elements with your outfit. Texture savvily hints at a deeper understanding of fashion and what truly makes a look chic and current. Look for surface textures like ponyhair, feathers, faux fur, leather, exotic animal skin, chunky cable knits, and the like.


Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4

#2. Makeup Maven

Matching your makeup exactly with the color of your outfit can rob your appearance of personality. Use your makeup look as a contrast to your one-color ensemble. An all black look is instantly given a huge dose of wow from a red lip, while an all white look is give some edge with a goth inspired deep maroon or dark purple lip. The possibilities are endless when it comes to thinking up ideas on how to use your beauty look to update one-color dressing.

PutonaPoutSource, Image 1, Image 2, Image 3

#3. Accessory Game

Break up your single shade look by making a strong accessory statement. Wearing one color serves as the perfect canvas, with which you can really highlight some of your favorite pieces from your accessories closet. The streamlined and clean silhouette and appearance of a monochrome look is made to show off your trendiest bags and shoes. A carefully selected purse or footwear in a complementary color can increase the graphic appeal of your look even further.

EmbellishSource: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4.

#4. Bedazzle

Wearing a solid colored outfit from top to bottom gives your look a cohesive feel, and gives you more leeway to play around in your bling box. Let your statement neck-pieces, chunky bangles, oversized cocktail rings, embellished sunnies, and trendy chokers come out to play; this is certainly the perfect styling opportunity for it since one color will make the details in your jewelry become more noticeable and swoon worthy.


Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4.

#5. Get Intense 

When one talks about single hue dressing, neutrals commonly come to mind. Grays, blacks, whites, and navy blues are your standard and typical go-to hues to pull off this trend. If you want something a bit more exciting or if you’re ready to take more fashion risks and increase your style savvy, embrace color to the fullest by wearing an intense color from top to bottom. 

IntenseSource: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3

#6. Get Detailed

Like they say, the devil really is in the details. You can count on tailoring and clothing details to make your take on one hue dressing a cut above the rest. Features like peplum, Peter Pan collar, military buttons and pockets and menswear inspired tailoring, can all elevate your look and give it a wow factor.

Get Detailed



By | Colour, How To... | 9 Comments

Every year color trend forecasting agency, Pantone, names the Color of the Year. This 2015 is all about Marsala.

This lush shade is inspired by the red-brown tones of wine and is a color that communicates a subtle sensuality and modern sophistication; giving any ensemble a feel of dark romance.  The combined earthiness and richness of Marsala looks great on many woman and makes it suitable for all types of occasions and seasons.

If you’re inspired by Marsala here’s our take on how to incorporate this hue into your wardrobe.

Do some trend on trend action

Mix this color trend unapologetically with current styles that are trending for a look that conveys your fashion knowledge and style smarts. Since Marsala is so hot right now, you can find it in of-the-moment silhouettes like culottes, matching skirt sets, 70s inspired frocks, and oversized robe coats.

Mix MarsalaSource: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4

Leopard print and Marsala is a fashion match made in heaven

Leopard print is a long established classic and a must-have for many women’s closet. The earthy tone of Marsala looks brilliant when set against leopard so instead of reaching for your traditional bright red to pair with your leopard, give Marsala a go.

Match Made In HeavenSource: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3

Marsala for the Office

The dark tone of Marsala makes it a great alternative to your neutral dominated office clothing rotation. This color is sure to add a dose of current trends to cubicle dressing and looks great with most of your office wear staples like your gray pencil skirts and nude heels. Wearing monotone Marsala outfits will add an added level of sophistication to your work style.

 At WorkSource: Image 1, Image 2,

Marsala and Neutrals

You’ll instantly refresh your go-to outfit when you inject some Marsala into your daily look. All black can get boring but when you switch out your black trousers for Marsala or your black fall coat for this rich hue, things get a lot more interesting and visually arresting. You can also opt to mix Marsala with neutral tones of beige, taupe or camel; these shades will surely enhance the inherent richness of Marsala. 

Mix with neutrals

Source: Image 1, Image 1, Image 3, Image 4.

Complement Marsala with other colors

If you find yourself in a sartorial conundrum when it comes to putting together colors with Marsala, simply refer to this useful infographic; it  illustrates how versatile Marsala can be. Neutrals and earthy tones are the no-brainer choice, but as you can see Marsala pairs just as well with shades of blue and even other warmer pinkish red tones.

 Mix and Match

Rich Marsala pairs well with the richness of leather

Marsala in leather will certainly add edginess to your look. It also feels more refreshing and far more sophisticated and contemporary than black leather.

Marsala and leather

Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3

Head to toe Marsala

Nothing beats the high impact and high drama of wearing one solid color from head to toe. You can be assured that your look will elicit approval from the most discerning fashionistas when you step out clad in Marsala. It is important to consider proportions and fit here, because you don’t want to look like a formless blob of color right? Make sure that your waist is highlighted or that your skirt or pants fit well.

Head to toe

Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3

Accessorize with Marsala

As with all other trends, accessories are the best way to integrate the trend into your personal style. Accessories are a low commitment way to try out a trend and see if you like it or if it works for you. Try investing in a Marsala handbag or flats to finish off your summer looks or a pair of Marsala tights or boots for the fall.

Marsala Accessories

Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3. 

Glam up Marsala with rich textures

Up the ante of Marsala even further when you play up its richness with equally rich textures just like the fur, velvet and feathers. This is your best strategy to standing out in this color and taking a bold step toward a more stylish you.

Wear Marsala for the evening by adding some metallic sheen or gold accents to your look

Marsala isn’t just for casual affairs; you can wear it to evening events too. Simply add some glitz with a glittery sheen on the fabric or by donning it with gold pieces and accessories.

Evening Elegance

Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4, Image 5


Mastering Monochromatic Styling


By | Colour, How To..., Trend Tutorial, Trends | 8 Comments


Containing or using only one color Monochromatic outfits are created by wearing colors based from a single base hue and extended shades, tones and tints 

Have you ever considered wearing a monochromatic outfit but shied away unsure how to pull it off?  

If you have you’re not alone; many women fear they may end up looking bland or boring but with a little a little fashion aplomb you can look fantastic.

Monochromatic outfits have a lot going for them: they’re always in fashion, they can be worn at any time of the day or year and any occasion, they’re chic and can always be counted on to convey a polished and modern elegance. Plus they have the added bonus of being slimming when not comprised of bulky items.

The aim is to create visual interest.  This week we tackle how to wear outfits based on multiple hues of the one color and in a few weeks I’ll follow with how to wear outfits of one color and depth. 

Texture Play

A surefire way to update your monochromatic look is to experiment with various textures and how they visually work together. Consider the surface quality of your clothing, or maybe even vintage finishes, and fabrics with some sheen when shopping for pieces to pull together your monochromatic look. Knit with corduroy, dark denim with leather, faux fur with animal skin, satin and shantung; these texture duos add depth and dimension to these one-color ensembles.


Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4.

The Bling Ring

There’s nothing some sparkle and glitter can’t fix. Upgrade your monochromatic look with choice embellishments on one of the main components of your outfit. Some sparkles on your sweater neckline gives a head to toe hunter green look a little pop and a lot more chicness. An embellished mini skirt, on the other hand, gives your autumn sweater and one color look glittery glamour, just like how layering a bejeweled boxy top breaks up an all white outfit with some glitz.


Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4.

Belt It Out

Use one of this season’s hottest accessories, the statement belt, to give your monochromatic ensemble a trendy flourish. This is also a great way to personalize this trend as you can pick a belt that reflects your own style. If you love a bit of glamour, opt for belt with gold hardware. You can also use your belt as a subtle yet effective way to integrate a color splash into your look. For maximum impact and high street style fab quotient, an oversized belt in an interesting shape is the way to go.

Monochromatic_Statement BeltSource: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4.

Full Spectrum

Harness the full visual impact of monochromatic by creating an outfit using a single color in a variety of its hues and shades to make encompass the current fashion trend. Using colors like gray and pink will increase the elegance of your look, and display your fashion forward smarts at its best. Don’t be afraid to experiment when trying your hand at the monochrome trend. You can integrate different extremes of color depth in a single outfit, i.e., you can wear dark purple and plum or mix together pale pinks with bright bubblegum pink or the extremes of dark to light with black and white combinations – see image above..


Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4.

Read the Fine Print

Give some complexity to your monochromatic fashion by incorporating a subtle print into it. Pinstripes, snakeskin, and checks are muted prints that subtly add some visual richness to the singular color of your look. Understated sophistication should be your watchwords as you select patterns that are more fine and subdued to complement the color you choose to don that day.

Monochromatic_ComplexSource – Top Line: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4.

Source – Bottom Line: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4.



By | Colour, Coordination, How To... | One Comment

Do you get a little bamboozled when it comes to mixing prints and patterns together?  It’s not really that difficult when you have a few tried and true guidelines to follow. 

The more prints and patterns you try to combine in one outfit the more skill it takes, and when the fad/trend is at its height you’ll see designers pushing the boundaries to imprint their ideas on the fashion forward.  The wiser of us will pull back a little from their flights of fantasy and create outfits that work for our height, weight, shape and age.

Know When to say No 

When you peruse stores and fashion magazines you’ll be bombarded with photos of models wearing all manner of weirdness, and just because a model is wearing it or a designer has deemed it to be ‘in’ does not mean that it’s worthy of wearing.

When you see a look you’re attracted to ask yourself:

  • Will I be the focus if I wear this?  If the outfit is the clear attention winner – pass it by.
  • Do I feel a sense of confusion looking at this?  Yes –  pass it by. 
  • Is it ugly? Yes – pass it buy.
  • If I wear this will my best or worst features be highlighted?  No need to give you the answer here.
  • Will I get my money worth in wearings from these pieces, or, it it a one season only look?  One season – pass it by unless you have plenty of cash to spend. 
  • Can they be separated to create other outfits?  No- pass it by.

Get insync

To appear harmonious the colors and/or shapes within an outfit need to look as though they belong together.

Here are how to to mix prints and patterns together:
  • If you are a novice max out at two patterns
  • The busier or more complex the pattern/print, the better you are to coordinate it with a solid colored garment or a garment with a simple pattern or texture.g, pin stripe   
  • When mixing prints and patterns look for a characteristic that you can use to unite the patterns.  This may be a colour (the easiest), the theme or design line.
  • Texture should be considered a pattern if the pattern is obvious when you stand 1 meter (3 feet) away from the garment.
  • Different textures are often easier to mix than different patterns.
  • One pattern should be dominant so the eye has a place to settle on first. And that place should be your best area given that’s where the focus will be.
  • Adding a solid colored accessory or skin between patterns can lock them together and/or calm the overall effect.
  • Ask store assistants if there were other items that were designed to team with the garment you have chosen.  Often designers put a story together that consists of several mix and match garments but always keep your in mind that every item in your wardrobe should go with at least three other items if they are to be a good purchase.

Mixing solid colors and patterns

This is a task that businessmen need to master as they commonly need to coordinate a suit, shirt and tie.  However, the rules are just as relevant for women when a ‘mix everything together’ pattern trend is in.

Failsafe coordination comes from mixing two patterns and one solid color or two solid colors and one pattern.

Coordinating 3 Patterns

  • Look for a common theme color, line or design.
  • Each pattern/print should be a different scale: small, medium and large.
  • Select each print/pattern in a different value – light, medium and dark.   
  • One pattern should stand out from the rest.
  • The smaller the prints or patterns, the easier it is to mix them.  However, avoid mixing two patterns of the same size as this can appear to busy unless there is a significant colour difference.

Now you’ve got the gist of pattern coordination you’re ready to look at the catwalk with a educated eye.  Test what you’ve learned by casting your eye over the following websites sites showing Fall 2013 mixed pattern looks.