How to replace black in your wardrobe - une femme d'un certain âge

How to replace black in your wardrobe

How to replace black in your wardrobe.

Look, I get it. Black is easy, black is sophisticated. Black is chic. I’m never going to be the person who tells you not to wear black. If you love it and love how you look in it, wear it and enjoy!

BUT, for some of us black is a habit we just can’t seem to kick. Perhaps we know it’s not our best color and periodically take steps to replace the black in our wardrobes, but it just keeps creeping back in. If that’s your dilemma, here are some tips to help break a sartorial stalemate with black.

How did black get to be our default setting?

When I was growing up, I don’t remember anyone wearing black except for clergy, police, Wednesday Addams, or Beatniks in TV sitcoms. 😆 Black was reserved for funerals, and sometimes for evening wear. (I’m sure this was different from region to region…New Yorkers please chime in.)

I never wore much black until the late-1990’s, but after that it took over my wardrobe pretty rapidly. There was the ease of it, and also the fact that so many basics I needed for the office were mostly offered in black. It traveled well. And I’ll admit, it felt a little edgy and cool.

It’s hard to pinpoint one single reason that brands began producing so much basic black clothing. I suspect it was an easier sell; and perhaps cheaper to produce. There was also the allure of the iconic Little Black Dress, and the interest in French women’s style that seemed to favor so much black.

Moving toward more color

By the time I left my corporate job in 2016, I knew I wanted to introduce more color and fun into my wardrobe. But I struggled to find colors and styles that didn’t wear me, instead of the other way around. It wasn’t until I had a color and style analysis with Red Leopard in 2019 that it felt like I finally “clicked” with color. (And I could definitely see how black was not my best choice.)

I was determined to put what I’d learned into practice right away, but I knew the process of replacing the black in my wardrobe would take some time. I’m now 20 months in and find I rarely miss or want to wear black.

How to replace black in your wardrobe

Very few of us have an unlimited budget, or would be able to replace an entire wardrobe in one fell swoop. (Even if we wanted to, what’s available in any given season isn’t always what we need.) Here are the steps I’d suggest to help break dependence on black.

Start where you are…

Get a sense of your best colors. If you are able to have an expert color analysis (either in person or online), you’ll probably be provided with a “palette” or chart of your best colors. If that’s not possible for you now, here’s a downloadable color guide from Red Leopard with tips to help you get started.

Go through your wardrobe. What items do you wear the most or least? If you have black pieces that you rarely wear, clear those out first. How much you clear out at the start will depend on your needs and comfort level.

And while you’re at it, bid farewell to any other pieces that you know are the wrong color for you. 😉

Rebuild your foundation first…

Neutral wardrobe basics in grey, brown, navy.

I still believe that the key to cohesive wardrobe is a core of neutral basics. These are the clothes you reach for most often, and that can mix easily with other pieces in your wardrobe. You’ll find that other neutrals pair just as well with colors as black (if not better!).

Aside from black, neutrals can be various shades of navy*, grey, charcoal, tan, brown, taupe, ivory, white, or olive. Every seasonal color palette also includes neutrals. If you don’t know your best neutrals, try different shades and see what works best.

Many people ask, “can’t I just keep my black pants/skirts and wear my colors above the waist?” You can, but you may find over time that black looks harsh or incongruous with the other colors in your palette. (The exception of course would be those with a Winter palette, which includes black.)

replace black trousers in wardrobe with other neutrals.

Above: black pants
warm neutrals: tan | olive | brown
cool neutrals: grey | charcoal | navy

*Navy is one of the more universal neutrals, and there’s a version of navy for every season. (Mine’s a brighter, clear navy.) Navy can be a more gentle stepping-off point for many of us. And yes, navy can be just as “slimming” as black.

And in my book, denim is always a neutral. 😉

Don’t forget accessories…

handbags in black and other neutral colors.

If all of your bags and shoes are black, you’ll probably want to replace them over time too. I find a tan or cognac bag is the most versatile in my wardrobe. If your palette is cool think grey, burgundy, or even various shades of blue. And metallic can be a great goes-with-everything option.

Above: black bag
Warm bags: tan | ivory | cognac
Cool bags: blue | burgundy | gray

Gone are the days when you HAD to match your shoes and bag, or shoes and pants (though if you prefer to do so, that’s fine). Shoes are such a huge topic that I think they deserve a follow-up post, so look for that in the near future.

Instant gratification…

Emma J. Shipley x Red Leopard scarves for four color seasons.

Wear your best colors near your face! You don’t have to wait until the rest of your wardrobe is sorted, just add a scarf. (Or a sweater, top, or tee in your best colors.)

Above: gorgeous silk chiffon scarves from Red Leopard x Emma J. Shipley. They’re offered in 4 seasonal palettes.

Here’s a tutorial showing 3 ways to tie it…

Be patient…and selective

It may take several seasons to rebuild your wardrobe, especially if there’s a lot of black you’re trying to replace. Hold out for fits, colors, and styles that work for you. You may find fewer choices in one season, and more in another. Take advantage when your preferred colors and styles are available!

And especially with your core basics, buy the best quality you can afford. Think fewer, but better pieces. (The bonus of sticking to colors within your palette is that the pieces work together; you’ll find you need fewer pieces to create different looks.)

This is just a personal opinion, but one of the reasons manufacturers have leaned into so much black is because it can hide cheaper fabrics and construction. The lighter you go with your neutrals, the more you’ll want to pay attention to quality and fit.

Give yourself time to adjust to a wardrobe without (or with less) black. Your eye may need time to adjust, and if you’ve been wearing a lot of black for a long time, other colors will feel unfamiliar at first. Stick with it, though, and you will adjust.

Come visit my newly refurbished SHOP page for more options

Have you shifted your wardrobe away from black (or made other substantial changes)?

Stay in touch.

Affiliate links in posts may generate commissions for unefemme.net. See my complete disclosure policy here.

57 Comments

  1. Robyn
    March 10, 2021 / 2:39 am

    Beautiful choices, just not for me. As a cool toned brunette black is a wardrobe staple. Come spring and summer I do wear cool neutrals, or white pants. For those with warmer complexions the last few years color choices have favored you. I also wear a lot of white, gray and navy and recently I added a red striped blouse. I would love to add color it’s just not available for those with cooler tones. I generally don’t like to change bags to often-too much trouble, but do have my eyes open fo a new one for spring/summer.

    • Kathy
      March 10, 2021 / 8:15 am

      I agree with you Robyn. I too am a cool toned brunette and black really looks good on me. I have a fuchsia pink handbag and other pink accessories that highlight the black.

      I agree in the last few years, warm toned colors such as salmon pink have predominated.

      • Jeanette
        March 10, 2021 / 3:07 pm

        I agree with Robyn and Kathy. As a cool toned brunette it’s been very hard for me to find clothes in complimentary colors. I’ve always loved and worn black, but as I get older it looks too harsh against my fading face color. Navy is not as harsh and other jewel tones still work well, if I can find items in those colors. Yellow, orange, and green seem to dominate the clothing industry. Sometimes the only option left is white, or black. Why doesn’t the industry have more options for us? It seems like a missed opportunity to me.

        • Ruth
          March 10, 2021 / 9:59 pm

          So agree with you all! All I see online lately are autumn colours (orange, brown, gold). Where are the jewel tones? Would love to see some royal blues, ruby reds and emerald greens. I had hoped spring would bring some colour but no such luck!

          • Susan
            March 11, 2021 / 1:28 am

            I agree with Robyn, Kathy, Jeanette and Ruth! I’m also a Winter and the colours available over the last few seasons do not suit me. At all. And don’t get me started on the styles… Still so many ruffles and frills and statement sleeves which overwhelm a frame of 5’2″

          • Candy
            March 11, 2021 / 6:16 am

            Another vote for us winter palettes. I have hung on to my (many) v-neck black tees because with my longer pandemic dark hair, they still look good and not too harsh. Navy is also my new best friend. But a lot of the other so-called fashion rules, like a white shirt should be a staple, don’t apply. It just makes me look washed out. Same for pastels and any of the earth-tone colors so popular now. I like that Susan encourages us to find our best colors. I would love, though, to see a few more choices included for us winter gals!

  2. Karen
    March 10, 2021 / 3:38 am

    I slowly replaced black with navy as my neutral base. One thing that made it easier is/was the rise of on line shopping – now we have ability to find almost anything in any color instead of being limited to what in local stores. As a working women in the late 80s and early 90s black started to become the base on my wardrobe with a pop of color topper, it was easy and seemed to convey authority and seriousness as well as seeming to convey as sense of fashion. It pretty much remained that way until we transitioned to casual/jeans dress code.

    • Rhonda
      March 10, 2021 / 4:25 am

      I now love navy too–hated it for years because I could not mix navy with black. I learned on this site that you can. For work I can dress casually (could even wear jeans if I want) and the Gap has a crayon navy that goes great with black. So sometimes I replace black with navy and sometimes I wear both.

  3. Rhonda
    March 10, 2021 / 4:23 am

    Is there a good place to go online to start an analysis? I went a few sites and I’m confused. I have dark brown hair (slowly turning gray) with red undertones, I am a white woman who tans easily (skin tone is medium, red undertones I think), and my eyes are light green/gray but not bright. I gravitate toward gray and what I think of as jewel tones. I’m a thrift store shopper and my local store is organized by color so that’s where I go. I’d love some help with this.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      March 10, 2021 / 5:08 am

      Hi Rhonda, I think the best self-analysis technique is to stand facing a window or other natural light with a mirror. Hold different colors underneath your chin, and watch your skin, not the color. You’ll notice that some colors may make the circles under your eyes more pronounced. Or might make your skin look muddy or sallow. Or make you look tired. While other colors brighten you and make you glow. Those “glow” colors will be your best.

      • Rhonda Kaplan
        March 10, 2021 / 6:43 am

        That’s a very helpful hint. My full length mirror, where I dress and apply makeup, is next to a window. After I dressed this morning (black shirt, pink cardigan) I put on a pink necklace. Debated wearing the black necklace because the pink just doesn’t look right. So I need to do more of that and find my colors.

    • Kami
      March 10, 2021 / 7:45 am

      Rhonda,
      I don’t have the budget for a professional color analysis, and looked at a lot of sites online for help. I found this website to be very helpful: theconceptwardrobe.com/develop-personal-style. This site has a step by step process to determine your personal color type that is well explained and fairly easy to follow. Once you figure out your color season, the website provides palettes for each season that can give you an idea of your best colors. Although they have products for purchase, you are not obligated and can do the self-guided analyses and look at the palettes online without charge. Once I determined my color type, I then started paying closer attention to the clothing I was wearing and which colors seemed to look best on me as a check on my results. (Your coloring sounds similar to mine, and I turned out to be a soft Autumn.) I did notice that when I wore the colors in that palette, I looked more awake and alive and the colors didn’t dominate me like colors from other palettes seemed to do. My best colors are brick or rusty red, coral or peach, soft turquoise or teal, denim blue, olive green, cream, camel, brown and warm or charcoal greys, although the color choices in the palette include more than that. Although instinctively I already knew that I looked better in these colors, doing a formal color analysis made me more aware of what colors actually work for me and helped me stop buying clothes that were clearly at odds with my natural palette. I don’t think I will be able to eliminate ALL my black (there is quite a lot!), but I am now slowly building a wardrobe around these other colors that accentuate my own natural coloring. Incidentally, in addition to a self guided color analysis, they also have guides to body type and styles of clothing that work best for those types. I found that information helpful too.

      • Rhonda Kaplan
        March 10, 2021 / 9:48 am

        Thanks for that resource!

      • Patricia
        March 10, 2021 / 10:13 am

        Kami, that website is great…thank you for mentioning it.

        And, Susan, thanks for the great post…as usual.

        As I have grown older, I think my skin has become warmer (maybe sun exposure through the years, even though I’ve been diligent about using sunscreen for the last couple of decades) and the contrast between my eyes, hair and skin has lessened as my hair has begun to grey and other features have faded a bit. My younger self was a definite cool, dark winter. Now I’m not sure what I am…maybe a dark autumn? Maybe I’m deluding myself, but I think I can still carry off dark winter colors. It’s all very interesting.

    • Jody
      April 1, 2021 / 4:19 pm

      Rhonda, your coloring sounds similar to mine. I was always deemed a Winter, but jewel tones are just harsh on me. Firmly now believe I am a Clear (or Bright) Spring, which is a cross between Spring and Winter. I look great in black (though it’s now aging me), aquas, coral reds, and berries are much better than deep wine tones. Do a Google image search for “Clear Spring color palette” if this may sound like you!

      • Rhonda
        April 1, 2021 / 4:50 pm

        I’ve been been playing around with soft autumn. I have a photo of a color palette on my phone and I use it at the thrift stores. I hope I’m right because I just bought 3 t-shirts at BR

  4. Cinzia Panti
    March 10, 2021 / 4:36 am

    Hello dearest,
    in a period a bit sad for the changes due to age and life in general, daughters growing up, job prospects that stop … friends gone wild, I had a color analysis done by a good professional in town and turned out to be a light summer with a few confirmations and a few surprises.
    Within 2 years black has pretty much disappeared from my wardrobe except for my choir uniform.
    I didn’t know it but I needed it light and fresh colors brought a breath of fresh air into my whole life, I rejuvenated and came back more beautiful and confident.
    How we see ourselves really helps how we feel.
    A big hello to you and all the girls who read you.

  5. Meg
    March 10, 2021 / 5:06 am

    Susan, your advice is so good! It’s hard to de-black the closet, but I am now forced by two factors- I moved to a hot sunny climate and black not only looks incongruous , but it hurts if you get caught in the hot sun! It can burn right through your fabric. Also, I have soft cool coloring and black just makes me look old and tired, not chic and edgy. I have started slowly replacing the black with colors I like and that more importantly, like me back! I have gotten very fond of a cool blue- violet, all shades of pink, and my all time favorite color, turquoise. Now that I am going au natural in the hair department, the grey is just plain awful with black. But when I put on my blues and violets, it all just blends so flatteringly.

  6. Susan D.
    March 10, 2021 / 5:22 am

    Great post! I find myself wearing black less and less, but need to focus on what are the best colors for me.

  7. Kathie
    March 10, 2021 / 5:44 am

    Great post. I had my colors done in 1991. I more or less followed my autumn color palette for casual clothes when I could find those colors. For business though I stayed with the black/gray/navy routine because that’s what everyone else was wearing. It was always challenging in the spring/summer to find warmer shades and I fell into the black & white or blue & white rut. Last fall after letting my hair grow out natural I had a color refresh. This time I was classified as a tonal warm, not drastically different from my original analysis though now I had some lovely warm spring colors. I’m retired now and decided to purge the black. I ruthlessly put it all away as well as some blues and grays that were too cool. I purchased some warmer colors and never once have I taken a black item out of the donation bags. I feel younger, fresher and my husband compliments me a lot. Black may be chic on some but it made me look tired. I’m loving color in my life.

  8. Tracy
    March 10, 2021 / 6:52 am

    I remember wanting a black sweater when I was 12, but my mom told me I was too young for black. I bought my first black sweater in college (mid 1980s) and I felt so daring! This was in the Midwest. One of my professors was from the East Coast. She wore black from head to toe all the time, which I eventually found depressing to look at as winter set in.

    I’m not sure what season I am, maybe winter, which would be odd because I am a redhead, but when I look at the colors for the different seasons, the ones in the winter palette are the ones I gravitate towards. I end up with a lot of navy and charcoal grey in my wardrobe because too often the other color choices are too pale or pastel for my coloring. Your spring palette which is so lovely on you would wash me right out!

  9. Eve
    March 10, 2021 / 7:42 am

    I discovered along with you that warm colors were so much more flattering to me than black,navy,grey. I love my new colors and feel younger and happier when I look in the mirror at 78. I was shocked what a difference surrounding myself with colors I love could make. I knew I didn’t like my purple sweater but it was a great style for me, loved the fabric and then, boom. I got it. It was a bad color for me. I replaced it with a golden brown and it looked just right. Thanks for this post. I’m saving it and will refer to it often.

  10. Alexis I
    March 10, 2021 / 8:13 am

    I know what you mean about the ease of black clothing for the workplace. I did the same thing – black clothing/shoes/purse was so easy! When I retired I donated a lot of my work clothing. After hearing about your experience with Red Leopard, I had my colors done and found out I was a Winter, and navy is becoming my new neutral. It’s been hard for me to bring in some of those bright colors – I think I need to use accessories to bring in brighter color for now, until I can get used to wearing more color!

  11. Cindylou
    March 10, 2021 / 8:20 am

    I’m a winter that has let her her hair go silver. I used to love to wear white cardigans and jackets because it set off my dark hair. Now if I wear a white jacket there is not enough contrast with my hair. If I wear white on top I have to have some black or strong color near my face. It’s been cold lately in So Cal so I put on a black turtleneck with my black pants and my husband complimented me, told me how great I looked. I’ve always been able to wear black, in the dressing room the black items always looked best. But going silver has me rethinking how I wear my colors. For Rhonda above, I read somewhere that if you receive compliments on certain colors then those colors are flattering to you. Susan this a great post for those who don’t wear black, the colors are lovely.

  12. Rebecca
    March 10, 2021 / 8:34 am

    Great post! I am one of those NYC gals whose closet is 99% black or part black!! In my defense, after retiring, I worked in a retail store catering to mature women and most clothes were black. I had winter coloring so this worked well for me. However, as I have aged (while still maintaining brown hair), I see black near my face drains me and is not enhancing. I am looking for pretty colors in a cool, deep and smoky palette, but most clothing offerings are black, grey, beige or warm unflattering Jones for me. The search continues!!

  13. Anon
    March 10, 2021 / 8:48 am

    I have to believe in a future full of hope and promise and bright new days ahead. This means goodbye black wardrobe — and I have a lot of it. I’m shifting the paradigm with mid-tone blues that work for me. Navy is even a bit harsh now.

    None of my black clothes will go away for now, but color is working its way in…cognac handbag with black winter coat? Yes! I don’t wear black much in the summer months so I’m half-way there on this journey.

    The 1980s brought black clothes into my life, in reaction to society and world events. The 2020s came in with immense sadness and loss during a worldwide pandemic. I am so done with it. Give me color! Remember the between-wars flappers? I’m not doing that, but the idea is the same. Let us choose lightness and brightness wherever we can find it.

    Brilliant post today, Susan. Thank you.

  14. Kat
    March 10, 2021 / 8:50 am

    Thank you so much for this post! I recently asked this question and it’s very helpful. The hard part for me is office wear. I know that black looks harsh on me but, as you said, the office basics I need are mostly available in black. And thanks for reminding me about shoes! Yes, this is going to be a gradual process. “Luckily” I’ve gained a few pounds which gives me the excuse to do some shopping – and any new items will be in flattering colors.

  15. Carrie
    March 10, 2021 / 8:57 am

    I have always loved black. I was in high school in the mid/later 80s and black was my stable then — and people made fun of me for it! I still love black but have been working to incorporate more color and that’s been great too. I have blonde hair and lighter, cool skin color, so I like the soft colors. I find that white and tan wash me out so it’s pinks, periwinkle, light greens and blues for me. Thanks for the tips!

  16. Aoibheann
    March 10, 2021 / 9:39 am

    I had my colours done many years ago and was told that I am a clear, bright Spring. However, I’ve always gravitated to Winter colours, probably because my mum and sister are both Winters. My own colouring was dark brown hair with a touch of auburn, black eyebrows, long-lashed hazel eyes and pale to sallow skin that tans.

    Now due to health probs. my eyebrows and eyelashes have disappeared, my hair is au natural (greyish-white) and I’ve become a washed out creature. I don’t know what colours or style to wear. Black and strong colours look too garish. Yet when I try the lovely spring colours you wear, Susan, they look all wrong on me. I think it’s because of my grey/white hair. Could you do a piece on Spring colours that would look good on us people who have gone ‘au natural’ in the hair colour department and whose skin is very pale? (and who have a wardrobe full of black trousers and leggings) I’m 66 by the way.

    I really enjoy your blog, Susan, and I think your spring wardrobe is just stunning on you! I also love to hear your recommendations for tv series, movies and books. ‘Call my agent’ was one of my favourites.

    • Debbie
      March 11, 2021 / 4:16 am

      Your post rang a bell in my head. I had my colors done in the early 80s and was typed a clear, bright spring. I stuck to it for a long time, strayed a bit, but went back to it. A year and a half ago I had my colors redone. I had retired, and I was pairing back my wardrobe. The colors seemed too bright. Color analysis had evolved, and Susan’s analysis peaked my interest. I was retyped an autumn, bold and deep. I felt like I had come home! I was given some soft to wear near my face, some brights for interest, but lots on the deep and bold to mix in. Interestingly, many of those colors, like teals and corals, had been in that spring palette so many years ago. I am just wondering if your analysis, like mine, missed the mark.

  17. jodie filogomo
    March 10, 2021 / 10:36 am

    I loved reading this Susan. And I shared on FB!! I hope more women work on this. It’s sad when stores only carry some pieces in black!!
    OXOX
    Jodie

  18. Joanie Whalen
    March 10, 2021 / 10:58 am

    This is a great post. I have enjoyed watching you transform your wardrobe over the last couple of years. I started following you years ago for your travel wardrobes and everything was black and grey. I have to say color makes you look so much younger and stylish! You have given me such inspiration to ditch the black.
    Joanie

  19. Rita Prangle
    March 10, 2021 / 11:05 am

    I’ve always tried to avoid black, and ALWAYS make sure I have a WARM, bright color near my face when I do wear black. The problem is that, as you said, “so many basics I needed for the office were mostly offered in black”. I would amend that to say tat so many basics I needed were mostly offered in black, or the equally unappetizing navy or grey. Lately, I read that warmer basic colors such as brown, tan, camel, etc., are coming back in, but then I see very little of it actually offered for sale.

  20. Nancy MK
    March 10, 2021 / 11:06 am

    It’s fun to read these posts. In my youth I didn’t wear black (but for an aspiring beatnik period), thinking that it made me look too thin, and was too great a contrast with red hair. Now slim rather than thin, with hair a mixture of white, brown and red, much to my surprise black is becoming. One issue is the nature of the fabric, e.g., black velvet, satin and soft wool are easier than flat black wool.
    Inspired by the subject I am wearing my Juliette Greco outfit today, black turtleneck, jeans, hair flowing (since my hair person has been away for a year).

  21. Janet D.
    March 10, 2021 / 11:25 am

    Black has always been a good colour on me & still is — in fact it looks even better now I’ve let my blonde hair go grey. I’m also wearing more grey & silver & have been experimenting with other colours, but I find that strong primaries — bright white & clear black, red, peacock, turquoise, fuchsia — work best. Nothing muted, muddy or pastel. I’m determined to find a shade of brown/caramel that works because I love it but so far it only seems to work if I pair it with white or black, but I’m still looking. I CAN get away with some shades of mustard (I have true hazel eyes that go a rather startling gold when I wear mustard, but it has to be the right shade or it’s just muddy). I plan to have a professional colour analysis done when Covid travel restrictions are done (I had one 35 years ago so think an update is called for), but suspect I’ll be sticking with black & white with a few primary accents if for no reason than I no longer want closets full of clothes & appreciate the simplicity of a few good pieces I wear over & over. But in the meantime I appreciate the tips & am enjoying everyone’s input.

  22. Pink Azalea
    March 10, 2021 / 11:31 am

    Thanks for the post. After reading it, I just purged a black silk blouse! I self-analyzed and believe I am a soft summer. (White/silver hair, fair skin, blue-green eyes, and low contrast coloring). I really liked that you pointed out that neutrals form the core of our wardrobes so I can stay in my comfort zone. I’ve been adding more color to my wardrobe over the last year. Although gray is a good color for me, I don’t like it next to my face. It has been a process for me and I’ve made a few mistakes. I have decided to keep my black accessories – shoes, leather gloves, coats, and handbags because I love them and they look fine with the navy, gray, and white I am wearing.

  23. Rhonda
    March 10, 2021 / 11:45 am

    Has anyone noticed that the petite choices are sometimes limited in color as compared to other sizes? I have found that to be the case online at multiple stores. So it’s harder to get away from black.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      March 10, 2021 / 11:49 am

      Yes, it’s very frustrating!

  24. Dana
    March 10, 2021 / 2:10 pm

    Loved this post and so I ordered the free Red Leopard information! Sadly, it doesn’t download!!!

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      March 10, 2021 / 2:26 pm

      I’ll let Emma know, thanks!

      • Dana
        March 10, 2021 / 3:06 pm

        Thank you!

  25. Ainsivalavie
    March 10, 2021 / 9:55 pm

    A good web site to go to for help building a wardrobe starting with neutrals is the Vivienne Files. It’s not season based but the author shows how to build wardrobes with various neutrals and then shows examples of accent colours that work. Her premise is that a good wardrobe is built on neutrals so you might pick two or three and then flesh it out with accent pieces. It’s really interesting to read her methods and might help those introducing new neutrals into the wardrobe.
    I am a true clear winter and find that I can wear any colour as long is it’s the clearest of that particular shade. I find the muddier or pastel versions work against me. Of course black is a staple for me, it makes me feel good and I wear what I like and what feels good on me.. I also find that a woman’s personality is important when choosing flattering colour. A shy, demure person might feel uncomfortable in fuchsia even though it is her best colour yet feel happy and confident in paler pink. My mother used to comment on another woman’s clothing saying ‘’She can carry it off’ I think this was as much a comment on the other woman’s attitude as the colours she wore. Some comments here suggest a colouring that is opposed to the seasons they say they feel ‘best’ in. Ultimately feeling ‘bien dans sa peau’ is the goal regardless of some arbitrary colour rules.

    • Anon
      March 11, 2021 / 9:10 am

      Love it!

    • Patricia
      March 11, 2021 / 11:46 am

      Great comment!

  26. Susan
    March 11, 2021 / 1:29 am

    I agree with Robyn, Kathy, Jeanette and Ruth! I’m also a Winter and the colours available over the last few seasons do not suit me. At all. And don’t get me started on the styles… Still so many ruffles and frills and statement sleeves which overwhelm a frame of 5’2″

  27. March 11, 2021 / 3:05 am

    I have dark features and I only wear black in summer (when the clothes are smaller and dont’ hide all your skin). I always complain when I enter clothing shops in autumn and suddenly everything has turned black (or brown, which for my face is even worse).

    Great post! I have been following you for a while, and I love it!

  28. Fran
    March 11, 2021 / 4:09 am

    I had my colours done about eighteen months ago, warm spring. So hard to find the right colours but I’m gradually getting there and find that I now shop in colours, then try for fit. I still see a sea of black and grey sometimes but Kettlewell are useful as their whole online shop is set out in seasons. I recomend that you ladies push the boat out and get your colours “done” as I made a few mistakes when I started out, thinking I could judge for myself! Great post Susan.

  29. Lyn
    March 11, 2021 / 8:13 am

    I agree with Ainsivalavie about the importance of the saturation of the color. Like her, only clear colors work for me. In fact, I think “season” may matter less than the clarity of the color. As long as the color is clear, I can “borrow” from other pallets. But a milky color is deadly on me, even in my “true” season.

  30. Anon
    March 11, 2021 / 9:05 am

    Oh, so true: clarity and intensity. Muddy colors are a no-go for me. My rule now? Start with color, then fit. If what’s on offer this year doesn’t work, just wait a season or two, and check out the clearance section. And never buy a trend color if it isn’t right. I’m a Spring who needs clear, mid-tone colors, nothing too intense or too light.

  31. Rhonda Kaplan
    March 11, 2021 / 10:09 am

    To follow up on my earlier comments around figuring this out, today I decided to wear a sweater that’s a color I don’t normally like but I had a hunch would be a good color for me. Plus I’m wearing gold jewelry. It’s all working well. I was on zoom twice today and I liked the look. The color is a kind of brick red and normally I’d wear something brighter that’s more a jewel tone. Now I’m even more curious and want to continue experimenting.

  32. Angela (New Zealand)
    March 11, 2021 / 11:54 am

    Finally through the transition from brunette to silver hair and after spending many hours online researching how to embrace my new look, I’ve found my happy place. Jen Thoden (US)and Maria Sadler (UK) methods were especially helpful to me and simplified my low budget self analysis.
    Key to colour analysis seems to be broken into just three aspects.
    Warm or Cool
    Bright/Clear or Soft
    Deep or Medium or Light

  33. Kathy V
    March 11, 2021 / 12:30 pm

    I just found out Lo & Sons has 30% off on full priced items until 3/15 with discount code IWD30. I’ve been wanting to purchase the Pearl crossbody bag based on your recommendation for a long time now.I just couldn’t do it at $298. Getting it for 30% less, I just had to do it! One sienna bag coming my way.

  34. Sheryl
    March 11, 2021 / 2:20 pm

    Considering the majority of women are winters it makes no sense at all to me that fashion is leaving this group with few options. I don’t live there now but I am, in fact, a New York City person by birth. Inevitably that means I’m of the mindset that black, done right, can work for anyone and that it is both chic and practical (and slimming). As Susan says black can look more expensive than it is, so it’s also a very budget friendly option. That said, even with my winter coloring, black can look draining before putting on makeup or if overdone. I’m not a fan of black pants and bright or pastel tops, but there are many tops that do look great with black, for example camel, blues, ivory, etc.

  35. Maria
    March 12, 2021 / 12:35 pm

    Interesting point you make about manufacturers using black to hide low quality fabrics and poor construction. I’m a little older than you and can remember when it was easy to find well-made clothes in beautiful fabrics. How I wish we could return to those days. We’d need fewer, better garments and that would be better for the environment too.

  36. March 13, 2021 / 6:09 pm

    I remember a time before black became the dominant color in stores, back in the 60s and 70s when virtually no one wore black except for funerals. Black was not even popular as a dinner dress color. I grew up overseas and we had to have all our clothes made, since there were no Western size clothes available in Asia 50+ years ago. Not one item of clothing was black; the closest (and the most chic for a little kid) was a black and cream houndstooth cape (with a bright red lining) made for me. My dad had a black suit, which my mother said made him look like a funeral director. Before the 80s, black was not a popular color, and it’s remarkable how popular it is now, considering how hard it is for people to wear. I hate to say this, but you might think you look good in black, but only bright, saturated ‘Winters’ can get away with it. The more yellow you have in your basic skin color, the less likely you’re a true Winter; I know I’m not and never have been, but the young can wear almost anything and look good.

    • Jeanette
      March 13, 2021 / 6:24 pm

      Thanks, Alison, for some interesting historical perspective.

  37. Linda
    March 15, 2021 / 11:03 am

    Hi Susan, thank you so much for the scarf tutorial. I love the last one where you make a little “kimono” You’re right, that particular scarf you are using is fabulous!

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