Thursday, 29 September 2016

Red Makes My Heart Race

I read somewhere that our emotional response to the colour red can actually be measured in a quickening heart rate.  I don't know if this is true or not but I do find red very powerful.  I love red, both warm and cool versions of it, but I find I can't wear it often as it somehow really does require extra energy of me.  Perhaps it's the way others respond to someone wearing red or perhaps it is purely my own psychology in that I feel wearing red makes me responsible for some sort of powerful action.  It's not a still colour.

My son has favoured red his entire life, and I can still recall him selecting red items over other colours before he could talk, and yet I've noticed he does not wear it either.  It has always been his declared favourite colour and he will surround himself with it.   He still owns the red quilt I bought for his bed and it's understood by all family members that he is always the red game piece.   When he was eight, he selected a deep raspberry coloured glasses case that could arguably have been called pink rather than red, but in comparison to all the other colours on offer it seemed red.  I held my breath, waiting for him to get teased at school for being a boy with a pink item but that didn't happen and by now I know he is someone who will always be true to himself anyhow.  He is better at that than I am and in that case he is my role model.

But I was talking about red.  I had always wanted red shoes, envied them on other women for years but worried that they weren't practical, that coloured shoes as opposed to neutral would be difficult to wear.  Well, yes and no.  It depends on how much colour you wear in your clothing, how willing you are to mix colours and to what degree you want to own clothing and accessories that go beyond your minimal needs.  I struggle psychologically with having abundance, although I doubt I will ever be a true minimalist.  So I tried red shoes.   I loved them and yet I found they were difficult too.  My mother makes them work wonderfully and even carries a red handbag.  She tends to wear a lot of navy blue, teal and plum and has a classic look to her style although has gotten much more casual over the decades.  My style is earthier and I love wearing taupes, browns and greys.  Wearing red shoes I feel a bit more like Dorothy, with feet that are the focus of my outfit.  Of the two red shoes I owned, one pair were not comfortable on my feet so they went in the consignment box and another pair that I loved but found myself just not wearing, I gave to my mother.  I haven't given up on red shoes yet, but for me they did prove a little a tricky.

Perhaps  I will admire red shoes on other women and find different ways to enjoy red myself.  I am not even certain yet which red is the best one for me to wear.

My favourite red has always been this muted brown-red.  Something I've tended to feel the need to apologise for, as though it's not really red, not true and bold the way red should be.  I summon up my son's voice saying to me, 'That's silly.'


A tee shirt and jeans, though not distressed like this, is my daily at home look.  I would love a tee shirt in this soft, warm red.

I can't stop staring at the photo below.  The red is definitely arresting.  It makes sense that red is for stop signs and for danger.  It gets your attention.


And so you might say, well then I want to wear red.  I want to get attention.   Looking at the background of this photo, the soft greys and browns, the red mug and apple stand out because they are so much more saturated.   The practically jump out of the photo at you.  If your personal colouring is soft and muted, like the wall and bench, wearing a dress coloured like that mug will certainly make you stand out in a crowd, but it will be the dress that stands out, and not you.  It will not be your face people look at or remember.  The red of the leaves is more faded, less pigmented and blended into other colours for an overall softer look.  It harmonises with the wall, branches and bench.  If you cover the mug and apple with a thumb and look at the photo it is more harmonised and the eye doesn't rest anywhere in particular.  You may feel you do not want to look so harmonised, you don't want to be bland, but do you really want your dress to be the star of the show?  In this photo the mug and the apple are the stars and that makes it a great photo.  Because I am muted like the wall and the bench, wearing red that saturated not only overtakes me visually but I can feel the weight of it.  I can feel how heavy it is to carry it.

Here is another muted red I love.  This one is perhaps best described as a muted, deep brick pink.  It's warm, as are the tiles in the background, but not heavily heated.  I love this colour!


Here is another browned and muted red.  It's a bit pink also and could belong to either the Soft Summer or Soft Autumn palettes.


I'm clearly drawn to the pink-brown types of reds.  Here is another from the same source as above.  The source is a blog dedicated to the Dressing Your Truth Type 2 category, with which I identify.  The colour direction for type 2 is muted, though it tends to skew towards the Soft Summer palette more than Soft Autumn, I think some people interpret it as Soft Autumn also.  Perhaps there are just more Soft Summers than Soft Autumns.  I don't know.

I find myself very attracted to dark warm reds, basically I am quite attracted to the Dark Autumn palette.  I know from experience that these colours overpower me and make me look very pale. Perhaps I could wear it for a very glamorous event with lots of makeup but I have approximately zero such situations in my life.

                                                          Pinterest-dead link

Soft, warm, faded red paint.  This is a red that makes me relax a little.  It's warm and confident, it has the wisdom of time.


The blog this photo is from is a visual treat of Swedish romantic country living and no hint of minimalism.

I would love to try wearing a warmer red, though it will still need a softened, muted quality to it.   The door above and this dress are similar colours, but the shine of the dress fabric gives it more depth which begins to overwhelm me.  Is it just me or does the shine help it to read more as a warm red, whereas the door begins to look like a reddish brown?



I find it difficult not to be attracted to the deeper reds.  I think this is because once red is muted it seems just as close to dark orange or pink as it does to red.


My favourite red is cordovan, according to this source, and is part of the Dark Autumn palette.

My mother favours the pink reds, such as this Sangria.  While I find it pretty it doesn't give me the same emotional response as cordovan.  I think that if a colour expert told me I am to wear sangria and not cordovan I would have to drown my sorrows in some burgundy liquid.


The Soft Autumn palette I love seems to have a bit of both, actually, which could be good news for me!  The more important factor is being muted.


I keep reading tomato red as one of the right reds for soft autumn but usually tomato red is a rather vibrant orange-red and this just didn't seem quite right for a muted palette.  Colour names are tricky because they mean different things to different people.  Then I found this colour palette, with a tomato red that looks quite approachable to me.  See how muted it is compared to the colour they call 'Real Red'.


Moore Swooning on my part....Here is a palette of colours I would wear.  Not overtly warm but definitely not a pink-red. This is a muted brick red shown with cooler, muted tones of greyed brown and green which I would definitely wear.


I always love faded linen, and here it is in a faded brick red.  That is a very weird splotchy bit at the front.  It looks like she was wearing this dress while staining her wooden furniture. 


A little cooler but bricky enough to satisfy me, is this red, easily one of my top favourites.


I tend to use a lot of red in my home.  To me, red is the right colour for rugs.


And wooden furniture....



And front doors.



    And I know red is also right for shoes, I just haven't made it work for me yet.                                                 


Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Warm Fair Skintones

 Recently I watched a video in which a makeup artist said that the women with very fair, but warm complexions have the most difficult time getting the right foundation.  I can attest to this to some degree because I've always struggled with foundation.  Most companies assumed that very fair skin has a pink undertone, which seems a strange assumption to me but perhaps it's more typical.  I do not and pink toned foundation sits on my face like a mask.  Products are much better now and I've reached a stage in life where I rarely wear foundation though a dab of concealer is useful at times.  I find my best match wherever a very neutral bisque or ivory can be found.  L'Oreal True Match N1 is the colour that disappears into my skin.

Many colour consultants and online sources seem to assume that someone with autumn colouring will have a sort of golden glow.  I think this is simply enhanced by Hollywood's penchant for that so that all of the celebrities who are examples of Soft Autumn are usually wearing fake tans or loads of bronzer (or both)    They are also likely to dye their hair blonde.  So, although fair skinned brunettes who are Soft Autumn must exist, it's not easy to find them in celebrity examples.

I went searching.  It was hard.  This model below has beautiful pale skin but the golden glows abound elsewhere even if they remain light-medium in tone.

                                                         Fair skinned soft autumn

                                                           J Crew

I love this image.  I love the colours and the casual boho vibe, even though it would drive me nuts to wear all of those beads.  I love the unexpected combination of rust with pale aqua and soft mauve.   This model looks great in these colours and her skin is not golden-tanned.  I love the contrast between the darker brown hair and the fair skin and yet it is still soft.  The makeup is pretty and natural looking and I'd love to know what that lip colour is.

This may not be Soft Autumn but could actually even be deep autumn.  What I find useful about this photo though is that this skin, which is not overtly warm, looks good with these warm colours.  It's difficult to get examples of neutral or warm pale skin tones.

Drew looks great here, in neetral-warm tones.  That's the lipstick I've been chasing my whole life.

Molly Sims often looks very golden in photos but here she looks less so.  Still fair skinned and warm.

 It was hard work, but I persevered.

Very fair skinned but warm, suiting nude and blush tones, apricots and warm pinks best,  the stunning Emily Browning.  At first glance she does look sort of soft pink, but it's a warm pink. 


Drew looking soft and golden.  Although blonde as a child, her natural hair colour now is a lovely rich brown.  Still she suits  some warm caramel tones.  I have seen pictures of her looking quite fair skinned, especially in the 90s with the grungy pale.

 Warm skin just doesn't always look the way you think it should.  Basically you know it's warm toned skin (or cool toned) based on how it reacts to the warm or cool drapes.

Here is an Autumn woman with fair and very pink looking skin.  Her eyes are like jewesl and her skin glows.

 This woman thought she had cool toned skin.  She thought she was a Winter because she did recognise the need for deep colour saturation.

Here she is being Wintery.  the difference is amazing even though you'd look at the Winter pallete and think, yeah these look like they match my skin.  The right colours for hair and clothing take years off her look and she just glows.

 She doesn't seem to be blogging anymore but I found these pictures on her blog.

The analyst who did her draping is also a fair and pink skinned Autumn. Dark Autumn, even!.

 Various DIY tests are suggested.  Some analysts offer hints and tips to find your type for yourself and others insist it can only be done with an in person draping by a trained analyst.  Colour me skeptical.  However, it's not easy and there is much room for error.  If I had the access to an analyst (and the money for the analysis plus the travel it would require)  I would consider doingit.



 Another celebrity I've seen listed as a Soft Autumn is Melissa McCarthy.  Photos of her with very fair skin and very dark hair are most typical but this one seems to be showing colouring that's a little more natural.

 Minimal makeup, highlights and a definite golden look to her skin, I notice those silver looking earring look right so she must be fairly neutral in her colouring and can wear silver or gold.


My skin tone looks something like this outdoors, too.  When I take photos indoors, attempting to get really strong light so that the colours show up properly and I don't get an exaggerated contrast of light and dark in my own colouring, it tends to cool and lighten my skin even more.  We usually see her looking more like this, fair skin, light pink makeup and darker hair for a more striking contrast.


Who knows, with photography, lighting and makeup, it's difficult to know a celebrities real colouring but I find it difficult to know my own too.  In photos I look like pale-face Melissa and in the bathroom mirror (which has a large skylight for natural lighting) I look more like golden Melissa.

I couldn't resist adding this photo because I think this is stunning.  This woman has been draped as a Dark Autumn and her very fair skin does not look strikingly golden at all.  This is so stunning I want to be a Dark Autumn too.  As with Dark Winter though, the darker colours often seem to swallow me up.  Colours are right when they match your own depth of colouring.  Depth does not mean darkness, but is a less definable quality.  These colours do not compete with her. 

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It's easier to find fair skinned Dark Autumns, perhaps because they really can't pull of blonde hair and spray tans.  The Soft Autumns can, though it may not truly be their best look.  Anyone who can get away with looking golden will do so in Hollywood Land.  This woman is not only fair she has a noticeable mauve-pink tone in her colouring.  And yet she looks amazing in the warm, rich colours.

Looking at her I now cannot imagine her in pink and yet wouldn't her blush tones guide you thinking her colouring is cool?  That rose-mauve lip looks fantastic and natural.  

Well, now I am wishing I were Dark Autumn I will go back to the top of the page and admire the Soft Autumn image, the category where I am more likely to fit.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

I've Always Got The Blues

Blue has always been a safe colour for me.  It's a deep breath and long, slow exhale.  There are so many blues and it's difficult to find a shade of blue I don't like, but I do have my favourites.

No surprise, I like blue a bit muted.  Blue is a colour that is inherently cool, but it can be warmed up with additions of yellow until the point it reaches green.  That's why all teal colours are just a little bit warmer than pure blue, they have that element of yellow/green in the mix.

This grey-blue is a top favourite.  It's almost a blue teal but not quite.  It still reads as a grey-blue  and looks cool in isolation but next to purer blues it starts to look teal and that shows it's bit of warmth.


Navy blue has always been the go to for me, the way black is for some.  Of course, navy is difficult to find in boots, shoes and handbags, so when I was wearing predominantly darker colours I defaulted to black for those.  Now that I am wearing softer and lighter colours, I like navy in small doses for it's grounding feel.  The best navy for me is not too dark and definitely reads as blue unlike those very dark navies that can look black.


If I wanted a really stunning dress for a special event I would go for a cobalt or indigo blue.  I would try this ink blue instead of black for a formal event.


Still, a dress in this softer blue really appeals to me.  I find this colour takes my breath away.


Clearly my tastes lean towards muted, grey-blues.

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 If I were a princes, I might wear this blue gown.


Blue is relaxing, but yet to me it has more of a get through the day energy than a relaxing one.  I feel most competent and confident in blues and teal.  But I don't turn to those colours when I want a warm and cosy feel.  I don't curl up with a blue blanket in front of a fireplace and with a mug of tea.  Blue is not the colour for that.  I love the blue wall here but a room like this would not relax me.  Calm but guarded is what this colour is to me, the emotion I feel behind the colour I so often choose to present myself in.  I could sleep alone in a room this colour but not have sex in one.


  After I just said what I did about sleeping and sex, I realise my bedroom curtains are blue, but I have chosen a warm blue.

Ahhh French Blue.

                                                     Source unknown to me

A pinterest page full of images from the search 'French Blue' leaves me swooning.  I love it, but I feel a great deal of aloofness in it.  When warmed up with cream and old goSomeld and it feels less so.  Browns and wood tones really warm up blue as well and then they begin to feel relaxed an cosy.  I find this collage very appealing.

                                                 Pinterest-no further link                                              

  My feet hurt looking at these shoes, but the colour is beautiful so I'd just put them on a shelf to admire.


This dress is offered in two blues and I love them both.


And oh how I love a deep teal-blue.  If I have a power colour, it's teal blue.  Many people think of red as a power colour, but the colour that boosts my energy and confidence is this teal.

Dishes from Walmart?  In this, colour I'd hang them on my wall!

Speaking of blues called teal, if there is a blue I dislike it will be in a turquoise, aqua, teal range.  Colour names mean different things to different people and colours I normally dislike can look fantastic in the right context, so I say it cautiously;  The blues I dislike are usually aqua and have an opaque brightness.

Such as this knife and scissors set.  It is perhaps midway between blue and green, and it's quite saturated.  It really doesn't belong with the set of blues I've collected here and this colour would never harmonise with my person or my home, so perhaps that's why it makes me cringe.


The product description calls this teal but I'd call it turquoise or aqua.  It literally changes my mood and not for the better, though as I said, that can be different given the right context.

Here's an example of what I mean.  For me, something bright and opaque rarely appeals. But as soon as aqua or turquoise is translucent or softly blended with other colours I love it.  I still wouldn't wear it, but I do find it beautiful.



                                                          Now I'm swooning!

Denim blue is always a favourite, though having said that denim blues do vary.  It's tricky enough to get flattering jeans that fit well so also getting them in my preferred, slightly greyed and faded but mid-toned blue is a challenge.  Dark denim is considered classy and work appropriate but I don't want or need that.  Lately the options that aren't dark have been bleached, stained and ripped.  Some denim blue is lighter and brighter but faded indigo is my preference.


Blue is such a safe and comfortable colour for me it could be among the last of the colours where I noticed which blues I wear better and which don't really do anything for me.  I used to assume all blues were good, but am lately getting better at discerning which to wear.  I instinctively stay away from brights and allow my liking for cobalt, ultramarine and royal blues to show up in my art instead of on my person.

Some time ago I wrote about my love of brown.  I particularly love brown and blue together.  I also recently wrote about yellow.  Blue and yellow is a classic complementary pairing, which I've always loved but not tried wearing.  It's easy to forget that any top worn with a pair of jeans is a pairing of one colour with blue.  The blue of the denim above would pair nicely with cream but I would love to try it with a soft golden wheat sort of yellow. 

I recall a tee shirt I once bought for my ex-husband that was a baseball style tee with a blue-grey body and soft dusty mustard sleeves.  I am forever searching so as to replicate this colour pairing for myself. 

Something like this but in adult size. 


The soft gold and blue-grey in this image are perfect.


Design Seeds images get a bit addictive.  Here's another.

Even in a seemingly benign colour as blue, there are shades that flatter my skin tone better than others, and I am learning to see that better.  Defaulting to navy or teal-blue is really easy for me and denim is a big part of my wardrobe, but in figuring out which blues are the most flattering to me in tops, I am currently playing with medium tones, a bit greyed or faded, and learning to see when blue is warmed up every so slightly by comparing it with other colours.

I could keep adding blue images but all good things must come to an end so here is my last favourite for now.  This soft, medium blue is very appealing.  I hope the next blue top I purchase is similar to this colour.