Color analysis and closet strategies

Color Analysis

I mentioned in my last post that I had an actual color analysis done this past spring that confirmed what I expected:  I’m a dark/deep winter.  Here’s what that means:

  • Cool tones work better, although my skin is relatively neutral
  • I can wear either silver or gold
  • I can wear many of the dark colors in the dark/deep autumn palette as well as those in the winter palette.
  • High contrast is good; I already have a lot of contrast in my own coloring, so using it in my clothing works well.
  • Darker colors generally look better, although there are light tones that are OK.

33d5e5e327fdcb055e4884f35135d964Things to notice about this fan of colors:

  • No orange, yellow, or khaki
  • Most colors are the darkest versions of themselves – No pastels.
  • This includes both the dark brights (true red, cobalt blue) and the more shaded versions (dark burgundy, navy)

Of course, I have a pinterest board that has dozens of different versions of the colors for Dark/Deep Winter.  They don’t all agree – none include orange or coral (a color I am having a hard time giving up), but beyond that there is some variation.

Closet Strategies

I bring all this up because I spent some quality time in my closet this summer and it is a lot smaller than it used to be.  I was wearing a great many colors that were not optimal, and while I liked a lot of them they weren’t doing me any favors.  (Major offenders were orange, coral, olive green, and tomato red.)

After the color analysis was done, I went through my closet with a fine tooth comb and made a LARGE donation to our local Goodwill of items that were not good colors for me.  However I didn’t really want to try on everything that was left, so I decided to finish the job over the next year.

I turned every single hanger around.  That day, they all started off backwards. When I go to get dressed, if I try something on that is ill-fitting, out of style, uncomfortable, stained/torn/moth-eaten/worn-out or just doesn’t make me feel good, it goes straight in to the donate bin* that we keep in the closet. If it just doesn’t go with the outfit, I put it back in the closet with the hanger still backwards.

After I wear something, it goes into the closet with the hanger the normal way. This tells me what I am and am not wearing.  I can quickly see what I haven’t worn recently, which drives me to try to find an outfit for it.

If, at the end of 6 months or a year (depending mostly on whether it was in season or not) I still haven’t made it work in an outfit, it goes into the donate bin.  I foresee that happening with a number of items that have either small prints or are colors that I just don’t really wear that often.

So what have I learned so far?

  • Many of the items I have a hard time making work are difficult because they are too long.  This is particularly true when they have uneven hemlines.  I find it hard to make these look professional.
  • Certain brands shrink.  A lot.  And something that fit beautifully when it arrived and the first time or two I wore it will suddenly be to short or too tight or both.  I have several pairs of perfectly good work pants from Coldwater Creek (RIP) that shrank up to 5 inches in length. Completely unwearable now.
  • My love of color blocking extends to how I put separates together. Small patterns tend to appeal most to me when they are an accent; i.e. the tank UNDER the cardi, not the other way around.  The only patterns I truly love are geometrics, usually with quite large designs.
  • The things I love get worn well past when the fabrics are dead.  I need to be better about letting those items go.

One thing to understand about color analysis is that it doesn’t mean you can’t wear other colors, just that you will look better in those in your season.  If I really want to wear orange, I can, and if I work carefully with makeup and such, I can make it work.  So there are a couple of less optimal pieces that I haven’t given up yet because I love them too much.  Perhaps with time.

Color Analysis Resources

If you are interested in figuring out you colors, check out these sites:

Each blog talks extensively (although not necessarily exclusively) about color analysis.   Take a look, keep an open mind and see if you can narrow in on your best colors.

*The Donate Bin:  One of the advantages of having the donate bin in the closet is that things go in there immediately – as soon as I realize it’s not working, it goes straight in there and doesn’t waist my time any further.  But there is a second advantage that is equally as important; the second look.

In order to deduct the donation on your taxes, you need to set a value.  There are standards for this, but in general you need to know things like the number of dresses, pants, t-shirts, sweaters, etcetera, that go in to the donation.  So when the time comes to take a load to Goodwill, the bin gets pulled out and each item is reviewed and counted.  In the process I have a second chance to look at an item.

I rarely pull things out, and if I do I try them on and find an outfit right away for them to go with.  But, occasionally, things end up in the bin because I’m having an “I hate everything” day.  This second look catches those items.

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