Adding Colour to Your Wardrobe

Adding colour to your wardrobe - April J Harris wearing a turquoise poncho and standing by a pillar

Adding colour to your wardrobe can change your life.

Seven years ago, I was often the woman in black. A few of my outfits were colourful, and I always felt happy when I wore them. However, as I was not at my ideal weight, I believed I should be wearing a more slimming colour. Of course, by slimming, I meant black. 

No one can argue the value of a little black dress or a perfectly tailored black suit. Both go with everything, can be accessorised easily and are appropriate nearly everywhere. Unless your little black dress is seriously well cut or is a style that is on the daring side, wearing black is a great way to blend in. However it is hard for anyone to really step into their potential, to really live their best life, if they are seeking to simply blend in. We need to stop shrinking ourselves physically and metaphysically, and a big step in the right direction is to wear colours that make you feel fabulous.

The irony is that black rarely makes anyone look smaller, not that we should be trying to shrink ourselves in any way. In reality, it can do the opposite, and it does not flatter most skin tones. Adding colour to your wardrobe and wearing colours that work with you can help you look your best and feel fabulous at the same time. 

My Journey To A More Colourful Wardrobe

A few years ago, having embarked on a fitness and nutrition program that transformed my body, I found myself with a wardrobe full of things that no longer fit. Shopping excursions to remedy this were frustrating because while so many more clothes actually fit me, I could not find anything I believed suited me nor that I felt excited to wear.

My friend and personal trainer Debbie Wyer recommended I speak to Sarah van Dort. As a stylist, Sarah helps her clients step into their true potential by choosing clothes and accessories in colours and styles that really work for them. I always resisted any kind of colour analysis because I felt it would restrict what I could wear. On the contrary, once Sarah helped me find the colours that suited me best, I had a much broader scope of colours to choose from than I ever believed possible, some of which I had never even considered before.

In addition to my favourite blues, I had an array of light, clear, cool colours to choose from. As Sarah explained, most people can wear every colour, but they can’t wear every shade of every colour. For example, a true red with blue undertones looks fabulous on me, but an orangey red makes me look palid. Depending on the colour of your eyes, skin and hair, the opposite may be true.

Adding colour to your wardrobe - flat lay of blue dresses, suits and a handbag

Why Adding Colour To Your Wardrobe Makes A Difference

Colours May Make You Feel Happy

Think about your favourite colour for a moment. How do you feel when you see it or are surrounded by it? Most responses include happy, relaxed or energised. If you wear colours you love, chances are it will lift your mood.

Colour Is Energising and Motivating

I feel much more energised when I wear colourful clothes and I firmly believe it energises those around me as well. If I wake up feeling tired, popping on a brightly coloured dress or blouse, or adding a pop of colour like a handbag, scarf or statement necklace really peps me up. Similarly, if I have a daunting task to undertake or a meeting which I am nervous about, colour always gives me that little extra bit of energy and confidence.

Colour Takes Us Out of Our Comfort Zone

I mean no offence to the iconic Coco Chanel, who introduced her first Little Black Dress in 1926. No one can dispute that a little black dress – or a black garment of any kind – is a safe choice. However the comfort one takes in fitting in is, for me, completely overwhelmed by the soul destroying sameness of a room full of women wearing a variation on exactly the same thing. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never accomplished anything that has made me feel proud or confident in my comfort zone.

While I agree it can be terrifying to be the little red dress in a sea of black at a formal affair or the only mum in a brightly coloured trench coat in a sea of black or beige on the school run, I would argue that colour is a secret weapon when it comes to confidence and adds a real joie de vivre to our days. These days, I look forward to being that bright spot of colour in a sea of neutrals.

Adding Colour To Your Wardrobe – When Wearing Black Works

Of course, there are occasions when wearing black can make you feel amazing. My black Alexander McQueen trouser suit brings me joy every time I wear it and my classic Burberry trench is practical a well as stylish. However, when I do wear black, I always wear with a colourful blouse and accessories to make my eyes sparkle and my skin glow.

Adding colour to your wardrobe - April Harris wearing a purple Dior Bar Jacket

How to Introduce Adding More Colour To Your Wardrobe

Start Small

To start with, just choose a bright jacket, blouse, handbag or pair of shoes that makes your heart sing. As you gain confidence, you can continue adding more colour to your wardrobe. Or buy just one dress in a bright colour that makes your eyes sparkle.

Consider Talking to a Professional

Even if you think you know the colours that suit you, talking to a stylist who does colour analysis can be so enlightening. Whether they espouse the seasonal colour system or a tonal colour system, you may find that you have some delightful options you never even considered. Personally, I prefer a tonal analysis as it offers a slightly broader spectrum and I feel like it gives me more options. (I am light, clear, and cool.)

In addition, a stylist can help you discover not only what suits you, but also what you love to wear. While there is a cost involved, I found consulting a stylist actually saved me money as I no longer make expensive mistakes nor do I end up with clothes that I never wear hanging in my wardrobe.

Add Accessories For Versatility

If you choose to go with an outfit in a bright solid colour, choose complimentary accessories so that you can wear it on lots of different occasions, in lots of different ways.

If the outfit has two pieces, for example a blouse and a skirt or trousers and a blazer, remember to wear the pieces separately as well as together. Just because you buy something together does not mean you can only wear it as a set.

Adding Colour To Your Wardrobe – How Wearing More Colour Changed My Life

Once I started to add more colour to my wardrobe, I found that I felt more confident, even in stressful situations. I started to expand my horizons more, networking in real life as well as just online to promote my writing and my website. Seeking out new experiences came more easily, as I searched for occasions to wear the clothes that made me feel good.

I discovered that I like it when people notice me, and embraced my dramatic style personality, something I had been keeping under wraps for years. It was, and still is, incredibly freeing.

Adding colour to your wardrobe is invigorating, enlightening and may even give you more confidence. As for me, I am proof positive that it can even change your life.

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