Break your style rut, stop reaching for black
Posted on October 12 2019
'I feel comfortable in black.'
'Black goes with everything, and I feel skinnier.'
As a stylist, I can interpret these comments in many ways…but often what I hear is that it's worked for so long that I have no idea how not to wear black. It can also say that you're happy to hide away or not be noticed. Whether you are aware or not, black can be like a security blanket.
Wearing black is elegant, powerful and stylish but can also be the sign of a style rut. It can be too safe and comfortable. Yes, it's slimming, but nothing screams confidence and happiness like a bold colour statement. Your own style is the perfect extension of your personality and a way to embrace who you are. Colour is a powerful communication tool if used correctly. For example, blue is the colour of truth and wisdom and has a calming effect. Perfect in most workplaces.
Getting dressed can be fun and playful. It's proven that colour boosts your mood and the mood of those around you. Yellow can stimulate mental clarity plus bring joy and happiness. In a crowd of black, be the one brave enough to stand out.
When you wear a colour you are announcing that you're ready to stand out and be noticed.I have never been stopped in the street wearing black, but when I wear a specific green velvet skirt, I am stopped so often and complimented that I don't wear it on a day I need to get a lot done. People notice you for all the right reasons. You influence them in a way that makes them want to stop and tell you.
Summer is the best time to venture into the colour zone. You can build a whole summer look with the addition of a new shades or tones that appeals to your style and flatters your skin tone.
If the brightest item in your wardrobe is currently a white tee, then here are 7 reasons it's time to embrace colour:
- This season has a fresh take on neutrals with eco-minded shades that rarely lose appeal - Terracotta, earthy browns, sage green, turmeric yellow and pink rosè. Or be bold and embrace Azure blue, topaz yellow, pop orange and neo mint. Various colours and intensity to suit everyone.
- It doesn't take much to transform and finish a look. Little things make wearing colour easier like adding a casual white runner or a white heel to compliment earthy tones or punchy palettes. White will work back with either colour trend but will be a statement alongside a pop of orange or azure blue.
- Black might make you feel slimmer, but it can be the least flattering colour worn directly next to your skin. Especially as we age, it becomes more evident that black can drain your face and highlight wrinkles and shadows under the eyes. No thanks. Know what colours suit you and give you a youthful appearance.
- Know your baseline neutral colours. This season there are so many neutral colour options like sage green, navy, grey and earth tones. Work out what works best against your skin and add some core basic tees or linen tanks in these shades alongside white or off white.
- Compliment earth tones with a rattan statement earring, belt and wedge. The natural or tan tones create harmony. Avoid black as it is too contrasting and heavy.
- When it comes to swimwear, I always thought black was the safe flattering option. I now know after styling hundreds of women that the most flattering swimsuit is a busy, colourful pattern. It distracts the eye from all those lumps and bumps.
- Identify the type of patterns you love and reflect your personality best. This season can take you from tonal linen stripes to animal print to botanical palm springs to spots and ditzy florals.
If you still want to wear black and stay within what you already know, then look for lower necklines, lace with your skin tone showing through or a black base print. These will all be more flattering than flat black next to your face.
Expanding your style to include colours and patterns is going to make you look current and confident. It will also give you – and others – so much joy. When you wear colour, you are announcing that you're ready to stand out and be noticed. What colour are you ready to embrace?
Written by Bernadette Payne
Bernadette Payne is an accomplished, award-winning stylist and founder of That's My Style