Kim Crowley Colours that make you look like you've slept

So there’s good news and bad news.


I’m going to assume you want the bad news first? Here goes..

For most of us, wearing black might not be as flattering as you think. I know it’s versatile and probably your go-to when you’ve been up all night on mum duty as it’s somewhat of a no-brainer shade, but in reality it’s probably not doing you any favors.


So I need to address 2 factors about black,

– how flattering it is for our face

– how flattering it is for our body


Let’s start with the effects of wearing black around our face. Black is the darkest colour there is, some argue black is in-fact the absence of colour and for that reason it’s actually very harsh against our features and by that I mean our eyes, skin and hair.


Working as a fashion designer I had sold so many styles in black and 90% of my personal styling clients wear the shade regularly, yet only about 10-15% of them really suit it. I’ve been wearing black forever but when I was going through my 30’s and started looking much more closely at my face (which we all know is a very slippery slope..) I realised that the shade actually accentuated my fine lines, washed out my skin and did nothing to enhance the shine of my eyes or hair.


Hmmmm. Why has this colour I relied on every day suddenly become the enemy?!!?


The more I noticed this, the worse is was becoming and so I was relieved when I started my personal styling course and ‘colour’ was one of the first things we studied. It turns out that all of us have different colourings, catagorised by 4 seasons – winter, summer, autumn & spring – and only those 10-15% classed as ‘true winter’ really came alive when wearing black. I started to test this theory and 6 years on, it’s still successful!


Now the second factor about wearing black is the effect on our bodies. For decades, we’ve been told that black is ‘slimming’ but that’s mainly to do with wearing the same hue head-to-toe which in it’s self is flattering due to colour/print continuity, but it doesn’t have to be black. I do understand that the darkness of black helps shapes regress, making them look (slightly) smaller compared to white which reflects more light and can make us appear a little larger. However, black can give us a really harsh outline and that’s not necessarily slimming!


Don’t get me wrong, black will always be a part of our wardrobe, it can be stylish and look fantastic if worn in the right way. It’s popular because it hides creases and stains which as a mum is an important factor when dressing (more on hiding stains in another feature), but black won’t hide white toothpaste, fluff, crumbs or the dreaded regurgitated baby milk or snot!


So the good news..


My advice is to start to minimise the amount of black you purchase and instead go for a softer, more flattering shade which for most people is navy.

Flattering colours palette


Navy has been having a colour-comeback for quite a few seasons now so there’s lots of choice in shade and shape, and as long as it’s not too dark then it pairs well with black. Result! It’s incredibly versatile – my clients are always shocked when I show them the reality of this – it’s SO much more flattering for the face and for those of you who’ve been sleep deprived since Trump took office, that’s beneficial.


You can see the example on me below where the harsh black washes out my skin tone making it appear pinky which doesn’t enhance my natural golden undertones. Compare that with wearing the correct shade of navy for my skin tone (which for my autumn season is a rich marine navy) which radiates on my skin, it appears more creamy and golden, softens my imperfections making me look younger (cue happy dance) and makes my green eyes pop! The effect on my hair is incredible too which resembles straw when I wear black, where as the golden tones are softened with navy and I didn’t even brush it during the photos!


Flattering colours black navy

But wait, there’s a bit more bad news…


White has a similar effect as it’s actually quite harsh too.


So there I was, progressing through my 30’s, thinking i’ve got the world wrapped up because i’ve eliminated the very colour that made me look like death and then another one appeared!! The beautiful optic white of my go-to white t-shirt, sweatshirt and shirt now turned my fine lines in to fully fledged wrinkles! Arghhhh!!! Stop already!


But the answer was simple, if I wanted to look like I’ve had a good nights sleep then a shade of cream flattered my features better and enhanced my skin almost like i’d just applied tinted moisturiser, which was lucky as I had very little time for make-up becoming a new mum! When I explored the best version of ‘cream’ for my individual skin tone which was more of an ‘oyster’, the result was like i’d just had a facial!! It was extraordinary. I suddenly had a glow to my complexion which in reality hadn’t seen so much as a green smoothie since the birth of my daughter.


Flattering colours white cream

This example is a little more subtle as the colour difference between optic white and cream is more subtle but you can still see I have a more even skin tone when I wear rich oyster. Again my hair colour is less flat and overall I appear softer and fresher.

Flattering colours cream white

Simply by pivoting my black and white in to navy and cream, particularly effective for my mum uniform of stark black & white stripes, I actually quite liked what I saw in the mirror and focused on my sparkling eyes (ok, that was a very rare ‘good’ day) but I look rested rather than dull and sallow which was how I felt most of the time, particularly in the early days of learning that becoming a ‘mum’ also came with several other professions you need to nail such as a cook, cleaner, teacher, doctor, nutritionist, nurse….the list is endless isn’t it? I was exhausted and aged but I realised I didn’t need to look it.

Flattering colours palette

But wait, there’s still more good news…


By this time, I had helped many more gorgeous clients and started to notice a couple of other shades that suited pretty much everyone, regardless of what ‘season’ they were (remember the 4 colour season system I mentioned earlier?) Two sophisticated, readily available colours that could improve the look of your skin instantly and these were SALMON and TEAL, which incidentally look amazing together… as well as with navy & cream!! Fabulous! An easy new colour combination to focus my buying habits on.


Teal and Salmon

Once I wore more of the hues that suited my particular features, I started to get compliments from members of my mums group, clients, friends and even my hubby!! ‘You look good this morning’ he’d say and I felt it, even without make-up on. It was like a mini mummy makeover. I loved feeling like I was embracing colour without looking like I swallowed my daughters box of crayola.


So i’m not saying that these simple colour upgrades will change your life but I am saying they will change the way you, and others, see yourself which resonates with the recent self-care message from MamaTribe. So after a tough night/day with your little one/s, don’t defult to habitual safe shades that keep you feeling grey (no pun intended) but make small steps to brighten your day.


Dressing well doesn’t have to be difficult.


Here’s some examples of affordable, trans-seasonal items in these four flattering hues. Most of these are made from natural fibers that are comfortable and versatile enough to style-up-or-down as I know, having dressed hundreds of mums, that you need your wardrobe to be flexible as you are:

Flattering Palete

Article by Kim Crowley, StyleSense.

Bio: Kim Crowley

Kim CrowleyKim at StyleSense is Sydney’s leading Personal Stylist who helps everyday people look and feel better every single day. With 17 years global fashion experience, she offers practical yet stylish advice with services designed specifically for mums or mums-to-be.

If you want to discover your most flattering colours that will last forever then call Kim today 0423 617932


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