I can still remember the elation. The wait was over. The analyst pronounces what we have both seen with our eyes, that I am a Bright Winter. The Luxury drapes have been demonstrated, giving me visual reference on what my colours look like in fabric.
Maybe it’s just me, but after the emotion of seeing myself in the colours that truly reflect my skin tone, coming home and seeing how few items of clothing in my wardrobe reflect that was something of an anticlimax. It’s hard to unsee what you’ve now seen. I went through a variety of stages in growing into my season, the sharing of which I hope will be of help to you.
The Wardrobe Assessment
This was both exciting and hard. The challenge for Bright Seasons will always be saturation. In my search for colours that were less harsh on me than black, I had strayed into cool but dusty territory. Oh yes, and plenty of it. Fortunately for me, I was already in the process of adjusting my clothes to a new stage of life (moving out of the trenches of young motherhood and back into the workforce), which meant I was desperately in need of some new clothes. For the past few years I had lived in leggings and comfy, practical clothes. Oh and I had moved from the U.K to eastern Canada with freezing cold winters and boiling summers so that warranted some adjustment.
I sought advice from my Colour Analyst about items that were workable (some things were just too new or too pricey to discard) and kept reminding myself to take the long view. I practised swatching everything and spent a lot of time wandering around thrift stores with my palette at the ready much to the embarrassment of my friends! (I found thrift and consignment stores to be a great source of colourful items – stores are much more trend driven and so if your colours are not “in” they can be hard to find new.)
I purged. Some things were obvious. I had already stopped wearing most of the ‘dusty’ colours but over time I have also donated items that were faded, damaged or rarely worn.
I am moving towards having a much more streamlined wardrobe, with fewer quality pieces that go together. Looking back, I probably purged too quickly; some items had more potential than I realised.
Hitting the Stores
Back in pre-Covid days when in-store shopping was an option, I also shopped my season, taking advantage of the plentiful variety of clothing in thrift stores in BW colours. I can see now that I was overly focused on colour; if I saw a bargain BW item I snapped it up, not considering whether it was my style or practical for my lifestyle. This was mainly due to panic; I feared I would not find things in the stores in those shades for a while and a girl needs clothes! This was to the detriment of assembling outfits; not a wrong approach necessarily, but it has made my wardrobe less cohesive. I have a bunch of clothes, but many pieces don’t go together. As time has gone on, I have had some limited success shopping online, but it’s always a bit of a gamble. Again, saturation can be an issue- photos on the screen do not necessarily represent colours accurately and I would always advise checking return policies before ordering.
There was however another piece to the puzzle. This is embarrassing to admit, especially in my line of work, but I have never been a very savvy shopper. I have a litany of bad purchases clogging up my closet – and even though I was starting to get the colour right I still didn’t feel entirely sure what styles and lengths worked for my body type. So I decided to curb shopping until I had figured this out. Ease of use is crucial (our colours and our lifestyle must be intertwined, otherwise we have a Pinterest-worthy vision but no useable clothes). We are not catwalk models; we live in the real world. For me, colour has played a hugely enjoyable part too and the next step of the journey was in understanding my body lines. Clothing can do wonders for my colouring but still be unflattering to my silhouette, which means it will sit in the closet unused because something about it is “off”. For me one of the most helpful investments after my PCA was having an Align Style Analysis with my colleague Florentina Mossou. (If you don’t know what this is, I suggest you listen to the Podcast on this here . This gave me extra tools in my toolbox to understand that there are clothes that work for my body shape. Finally, realising that skinny jeans will never be my most flattering look but giving me useful alternatives has been liberating. It also helped me to see that my body wasn’t the problem.
Learning that for me, less is more, has also given me satisfaction. I don’t have to be at the mercy of trends; I can be myself and wearing the colours and styles of clothing that work for me simply makes life easier. I have come to a more relaxed placed in my colour journey. I have discovered that lipstick covers a multitude of sins and is like an extra accessory (“the cherry on top” in the words of Elysha Lenkin, the Stylist in her excellent blogpost).
Now I know what my colours and clothing styles look like, I can be more discerning in stores, I can walk away from things that are not right or assess whether things are “good enough”. I can use accessories like scarves, jewellery, hats and purses in my bright colours with my neutrals. This can add infinite variety without making me feel like I’m at a carnival or breaking the bank on a ton of new clothes.
At the end of the day, I don’t want to spend my life obsessing about clothes; I want to get on with the business of living. I love the whole philosophy of colour analysis because the aim of it is to provide a practical tool that makes all our lives easier. I love colour and knowing what works for me gives me the ability to play around with colour creatively which makes me happy, but only in the same way as I appreciate colour in the world around me, whether from a beautiful painting or from the natural world.