A Style Reset With Red Leopard

Susan B. of une femme d'un certain age with Jennifer Saunders, Manina Weldon and Annie Castano of Red Leopard.

I’ll confess: for some time now, I’ve been feeling rather “stuck” with regard to my style. I’ve wanted to add more color, verve and, well…fun to my wardrobe, but haven’t quite found my footing. I try something new, it doesn’t feel quite right, so I retreat back to my well-worn path of simple neutral basics. Rinse, repeat.

It’s hard sometimes to be objective when it comes to my own style choices. I have a lot of old baggage about what does or doesn’t look good on my body. I knew I needed guidance, and a fresh set of eyes. When I read Lisa’s post about her color and style analysis with the team at Red Leopard, and knew we’d be in London for a few days, it felt as if the universe was holding up a giant neon sign.

"Self-defined in five colors," neon artwork by Joseph Kosuth at Foundation Louis Vuitton in Paris.
“Self-defined in five colors” by Joseph Kosuth at Fondation Louis Vuitton

Getting Professional Help

Fortunately, they had some availability during our London visit. I signed up for both a style and color analysis, and was SO looking forward to it.

Spoiler: it did not disappoint. Annie, Manina, and Rachel all participated in the session, and made me feel relaxed and comfortable right away. They are vivacious and funny, and we all laughed a lot.

Manina at Red Leopard explains Johannes Itten color theory. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

They started out with an introduction to color theory and the system they use, based on the work of Johannes Itten from the Bauhaus. The principle is that a color will look different depending on what other colors it’s surrounded by. The colors we wear will have a large impact on whether we look energetic or tired, present or invisible.

Color Analysis: Manina and Annie explain color system and theory to Susan B of une femme d'un certain age.

Then it was time to get draped. Because my hair is colored, they started out by covering my hair so that it wouldn’t interfere with how my skin reacted to the color drapes. It’s difficult to capture on camera the full effect of how each of the drapes interacts with my face, but when you’re in the room and looking into the mirror, it’s much more obvious.

Personal Color Analysis

Susan B. draped in cool neutrals during color analysis. Details at une femme d'un certain age.
Susan B. draped in warm neutrals during color analysis. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

The first step is: cool or warm? When they flipped between the two, it immediately became apparent that I’m warm. That narrowed it down to either a Spring or Autumn.

Susan B. draped in autumn green color. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

The softer autumn colors like this olive green (above) weren’t terrible on me…

Susan B. draped in Spring Green color. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

but the brighter Spring colors were just so much better!

Annie Castano at Red Leopard explains Susan B's color analysis.

Each of the trio took turns with the drapes, and were unanimous: I’m a Spring, and a Golden Spring at that.

Manina Weldon of Red Leopard drapes Susan B. for a color analysis. Details at une femme d'un certain age.
Susan B. of une femme d'un certain age wears color drapes from the Golden Spring palette.

Above, these are the best of my colors, and I love them! (And no small coincidence, my palette turned out to be the same as Lisa’s!)

Did I mention we laughed a lot during this process?

Susan B. wearing a purple drape laughs with Manina Weldon and Annie Castano of Red Leopard. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

I don’t remember what was being said, but we all agreed that purple, while in my Spring palette, isn’t among my top colors.

Susan B. draped in warm colors during color analysis. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

As part of the color analysis, they also suggested some makeup colors, and Manina applied them. I don’t remember which lip color this was, but it was a winner. (I’ll find out and update, but I know it’s a Jane Iredale shade.)

After a quick snack break, we started the style consultation part of the program.

Style Analysis

Susan B. confers with Annie Castano of Red Leopard about style Personality Profiles. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

(Yes, that tiger shirt works in my Golden Spring palette!) The Style Consultation involved assessing both body type and personality/essence. Measurements were taken, and a personality quiz completed, but their style Personality Profiles aren’t just about numbers. They factor in their own observations and impressions about the client. So when Annie suggested Gamine for my style personality type (and Manina and Rachel concurred), I was delighted.

The Gamine Style Personality

Here’s how they boil down Gamine: cute, sharp, neat, funky. It was like a light switch was turned on in my brain. Yes!! This is how I’ve always wanted to dress, but had assumed that because I didn’t have a boyish body type, it wouldn’t work. Annie explained that with their Personality Profiles, a Gamine can be any body type. It’s more about the overall expression. Within that broader definition, you adjust details to best flatter your shape and features.

They took me through and provided me with a very comprehensive set of guidelines for necklines, hemlines, fabrics, clothing shapes and details. It upended some old beliefs about what I “could” and “couldn’t” wear (much to my delight). Between this and the color analysis, I feel as though I have a workable set of blueprints for taking my style in the right direction.

For reference, Manina (second from left in top photo) is also a Gamine, though her palette is Winter.

Some people don’t need these kinds of categories or definitions to know what works for them. And that’s just fine. For me, this provides welcome clarity, and a touch point. It was a “click” moment for me, and I’m really excited about incorporating what I’ve learned into updating my wardrobe. Yes, it was an investment. But I think it will quickly pay for itself in preventing costly shopping mistakes. (I find I’m already taking a much more focused and targeted approach to shopping.)

Next Steps…

This style reset will be an ongoing process, not a quick fix. Annie suggested as a first step that I remove everything from my closet that isn’t in my color palette. That will help me determine what I have and what I need, and set spending priorities. I’ll share this process as I go along. (For my neutrals, I imagine I’ll be transitioning to navy and warm tans/browns.)

Lisa described her experience with Red Leopard as Style Alchemy, and I have to agree! Since my consultation, I’ve really been noticing color, both what people are wearing and in the environment. And I’m actually excited about wearing color again! No exaggeration, I already feel as though the session with Red Leopard was a total game changer for me.

A shout out to le Monsieur, who snapped hundreds of photos during this process, and submitted to his own color analysis (he’s a Winter, not a surprise to me).

Have you had a color analysis done? Do you stick to colors that are in a specific palette or range, or do you wear whatever catches your fancy?

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112 Comments

  1. Maryann
    July 8, 2019 / 1:25 am

    It will be interesting to see how your style evolves as a result of the consultation with Red Leopard. I haven’t had my colours done. I do have a question – what happens if you didn’t happen to like the colours that are “yours”? I don’t know much about the process so perhaps others know and I am sorry if I am asking something obvious to everyone but me! Also this process could be expensive if you are meant to jettison clothes not in your palette. Do they give you work arounds so that you can use existing items while you rebuild your wardrobe?

    • Su
      July 8, 2019 / 7:23 am

      Maryann, hope you don’t mind me replying to you. When I had mine done they suggested gradually changing, although if it becomes clear something really isn’t doing you any favours you probably won’t want to wear it again. It’s more important to have the right shades nearer your face, so you might start with a flattering scarf, or some basic tops (that will look more upscale in the right colours, bonus!) You do it at your own pace, and if you’re like me it will save you a lot of money in the long run.

      You probably already have quite a few garments that are the right colours, as the theory is that you are naturally drawn to them. If you chose them because you felt the colour suited you, they should be in your palette, and it’s more about making the right choices in future for what goes with them. Hopefully no more wardrobe orphans 🙂

      • Maryann
        July 8, 2019 / 5:54 pm

        Thanks Su.

  2. Judy
    July 8, 2019 / 3:52 am

    I have been looking forward to this post since you mentioned it recently, very interesting. Do you have any suggestions as to how to find a similar service (I live in a rural area about an hour outside of a major southeastern US city). I have done some online research, but as now dealing with graying hair, would love to get some expert help. Thank you!

    • Susan B
      Author
      July 8, 2019 / 4:03 am

      Hi Judy, I’d suggest going to the AICI (Association of Image Consultants International) and clicking on the Find An Image Consultant button. Also, I don’t know if you live near Atlanta, I’ve heard good things about John Kitchener who is based near there.

      • July 8, 2019 / 6:21 am

        I worked with John Kitchener twice when he was based in Oakland. (I hadn’t known that he’d moved to Atlanta!) He’s a wonderful guide through the style-definition process–warm, kind, and knowledgeable.

        P.S. Love this post, Susan!

    • Kim
      July 8, 2019 / 5:15 am

      I would highly suggest David Zyla. http://www.davidzyla.com/ I’ve had several color and style sessions with him and am very satisfied and happy with his guidance. He is located in the US and frequently travels to the South. Atlanta, Charlotte, Savannah. It’s worth every penny!

    • Debra Coglianese
      July 8, 2019 / 7:44 am

      Judy, please consider 7 Steps to Style – an online program designed by Imogen Lamport ( the winner of AICI’s top honor this year!). You will receive wonderful information to help you identify your style, shape, etc. Imogen has devised an amazing method to identify your color palette using her system of 18 color palettes. She will also define your color contrast and value contrast…as important to know as color palette. Best of all, you will be able to join a private Facebook group of the most supportive group of women who are also on the 7 Steps Style journey. Hope to see you there!

      • Garden Goddess
        July 8, 2019 / 8:41 am

        Ha! I was going to recommend her too. I like that her system includes introvert/extrovert and gives the extroverts license to grab more color and the introverts to do with less intense color–or colour as she would write… Along with her fee course she has a mass quantity of free articles on her website that can help you figure things out too. Try subscribing to her blog to get the new articles delivered to you and visiting the blog to read the old ones.

        • July 8, 2019 / 4:55 pm

          Very interesting. I often treasure my cloak of invisibility. Translating, researching, painting. I can’t abide pastels, but that is just on me, not anyone else. I love forest green.

          • July 17, 2019 / 12:56 am

            As an introverted extrovert, I would never dumb down or up on my colour and style – it’s about knowing yourself and being the best you can be – that’s where the Leopard ladies are the best stylists! But perhaps I’m an biased!

  3. Vildy
    July 8, 2019 / 4:01 am

    I’m looking forward to seeing the new more colorful you – yours are such happy colors!

  4. Millie
    July 8, 2019 / 4:33 am

    Love love the sneakers both of the ladies are wearing!! Any idea who makes them or where to purchase??

    • Susan B
      Author
      July 8, 2019 / 4:37 am

      Yes, they are both from the French brand Clergerie. Aren’t they nifty?? 🙂

  5. July 8, 2019 / 4:46 am

    The whole approach is really interesting. Is it only valuable for the colors you wear on your upper body? May be I would have suggested that your hair color also evolve to a warmer blond one. I think it could be really nice with your skin complexion and complete the whole color change…

    • Susan B
      Author
      July 8, 2019 / 4:55 am

      Hi Cécile, regarding hair color, they did suggest that I warm up my base color slightly, but that the highlights were good. I think the color analysis is valuable for head-to-toe dressing, however I think it’s probably most important for colors worn near the face. (Especially while transitioning an existing wardrobe.)

    • Coco
      July 9, 2019 / 9:13 pm

      I was feeling the same. Even a purple rinse shampoo on for 5 minutes a few times a week helps me so much.

      • July 11, 2019 / 4:21 pm

        Coco, I agree. Stopping the colour was so liberating, but the yellowing made me sad. I have never smoked tobacco in my life, and only puffed on joints a few times at parties (Never liked the effect). It is simply city air pollution. I use an Italian product called ICE CREAM KROMASK argento (argent – silver – plata) which cures the yellowing and is also very good for my (kinky, curly, dry) hair. It is available at a pharmacy near me. I put it on for longer (due to my hair type, with hairdresser’s approval) but usually only once a month. Cuts yellowing and makes my remaining dark hairs truly black.

  6. Sara
    July 8, 2019 / 4:49 am

    I second Maryann’s question: what if you dislike the “chosen” colours? Will watch with interest!

    • Susan B
      Author
      July 8, 2019 / 4:56 am

      Fortunately that wasn’t an issue for me. I LOVE my colors! But I suppose in every palette there will be some colors that we like more than others.

      • JoAnne Malloch
        July 8, 2019 / 5:29 am

        I had my colors done back in the 80s and I am a winter. The consultant told me that if I wanted to wear a color not in my palette, to look for tops that had a collar that was in my palette. So if I wanted to wear a green blouse–look for one that had a white collar. The color next to your skin was the most important. Being older now, I find I am better with more of my color next to my face than just the collar. Also, the difference between white and cream or off white is very distinct. There is a huge difference on how each color looks against your skin.

  7. Rondi
    July 8, 2019 / 4:51 am

    I have always found the study of personal colors fascinating. What seems the most exciting about your consultation is that they chose YOUR best colors out of your specific palette. I look forward to seeing your future posts. Especially with your new neutrals. I am weary of black and hope you will have suggestions for finding other neutrals. Black is so prevalent in the stores but not in many palettes. By the way, you looked so fresh and youthful in the photos with your color drapes. Amazing!

    • Susan B
      Author
      July 8, 2019 / 4:57 am

      Yes, my first priority will be on updating my neutral basics. I’ll post regularly about the process. And thank you!

  8. July 8, 2019 / 4:52 am

    looks so fun! and informative! And I love the “gamine” pants that Manina is wearing? Any idea who makes, where to get? I do love her whole look.

    • Susan B
      Author
      July 8, 2019 / 4:58 am

      Isn’t she stylish, though? I’ll see what I can find out. I do remember the jacket was from Paule Ka.

  9. Belinda
    July 8, 2019 / 5:18 am

    I am so excited for You! I have long read and admired your blog but have to admit have often yelled at my phone about your lack of color and love of black When you would try a color and posters would encourage you to keep it you would often put it “back on the rack”. So armed with this affirmation of great colors for you we will all enjoy the journey to new style/color posts.

  10. Kim
    July 8, 2019 / 5:20 am

    I’ve had both a color and style session with David Zyla. In his system, I’m a Jeweltone Summer. His color and style recommendations suit me perfectly. I exclusively wear these colors now and almost always follow his style advice. It is an investment but one I highly recommend. He’s also just a kind and wonderful man.

  11. Harriet
    July 8, 2019 / 5:21 am

    I had a color analysis done almost 30 years ago when the concept was first introduced. It confirmed my color instinct but also introduced a few more that I had avoided. I am not familiar with the style personality but that sounds interesting. For me, that may allow me to try a few styles that I admire but find them out of my comfort zone. I hope you have fun assessing your wardrobe and finding new things to add!

  12. Karen
    July 8, 2019 / 5:29 am

    In the late 1980’s I participated in a “Color me Beautiful” consultation. There was a popular book of the same title. For the most part, I love the warm, fresh colors of my Spring palette, but I also draw inspiration from the more intense and earthy, warm palette of Autumn. My closet features shades of peach, coral, cinnamon, and khaki as staples. I personally abhor the leafy green of the Spring palette, so I substitute olive.

  13. July 8, 2019 / 5:46 am

    I was SOOO excited to read this post! I knew you’d love Red Leopard. There is colour analysis and then there is RED LEOPARD colour analysis! They seem to have a sixth sense to read what a person is all about personality wise, to add into the colour reading. Before them, I genuinely didn’t believe in colour analysis… I loved and wore colour of course, but a lot of the wrong ones! I can see in these photos your whole face, your whole BEING (!) lights up when you have the right colours near your skin.

    Since we are both warm springs, we for sure need to arrange to send each other pics and details on WhatsApp when we find things in OUR colours. Our Warm Spring Alert System 🙂 It sounds ridiculous unless you’ve had it done, but GOOD colour analysis truly is life changing. I’ll never shop the same way again; I scan for colour first, everything else is secondary.

    Brilliant post, Susan xxx

  14. SuD
    July 8, 2019 / 5:46 am

    Glad you found a color palette and style that suits you. I always thought you were some type of spring or a light summer. I’m embracing my gamine side more these days. I figured it out not too long ago that I need more vibrancy in my wardrobe.

  15. LeeAnn
    July 8, 2019 / 6:16 am

    Oh, the lucky shoppers at your closet-cleaning sale! (my fantasy) I know the clothes you’ll be getting rid of are beautiful, just like the ones you’ll be adding.

  16. Su
    July 8, 2019 / 6:31 am

    Isn’t it great how the palette colours all work together? Suddenly you have lots of outfits from a few garments. The game-changer for me was cutting out the tones of colours that didn’t quite work. Since I had my colour and style done it has simplified shopping out of all recognition, saved me a fortune, and made putting looks together so much easier. Plus the benefit of how flattering the right colours are for my face. You were already stylish of course, Susan, but I look forward to seeing how your look develops with that exciting range of shades, and gamine style.

  17. Jill
    July 8, 2019 / 6:57 am

    Wow, what a game changer! I’m looking forward to following you and seeing what you do with all this fun new information. Enjoy!

  18. nmk
    July 8, 2019 / 7:05 am

    Susan, I have so been looking forward to this, refreshing fun in difficult times. How handy for me who am sure am also a warm spring. The problem is that I do not like many of the colors on me, e.g., the green, the yellow, the red, the turquoise…..I had strong red hair in my youth, never wore black because it seemed too harsh and what a joke, it made me look too thin. Now hair a mixture of red, white and brown, of normal weight, black makes me glow. Go figure!

    The personality assessment interests me also. My style icon is the late Princess Paul, who wore simple black dresses with a brooch. so the gamine type, probably my own, is not my ideal for myself. My husband gently reminds me that even if I find the ideal dress, I will not be a Russian princess…..

    You look ever so cute in the colors.

  19. Joan
    July 8, 2019 / 7:22 am

    I was eagerly awaiting this post and really enjoyed reading it! What fun!!! I celebrated my transition to silver by having two different colour analyses…one in the Sci/ART system and one with David Zyla. I was typed Light Summer in the first system and Early Spring in the second. There are many overlaps in my two palettes. I would do it all again and then some! It has made shopping so much easier; a quick scan of racks is all that is needed to narrow down my choices. I wear my best colours almost exclusively…and I do have favourites in my palette. I’m looking forward to seeing how you put your new colours and style into practice, Susan.

  20. Barb
    July 8, 2019 / 7:26 am

    I so enjoyed this post! I had a Color Me Beautiful consultation done in the 80s and am definitely a “winter.” I’ve stuck to this palette’s colors, for the most part, ever since. When I’ve strayed, I’ve usually regretted it because it meant straying even more for accessories for the “off” colored clothing. I feel that the biggest benefit to sticking with my palette is that most items will mix and match, and I can limit the colors of my accessories as well. For example, I have no need for brown shoes! Now I’m off to learn more about the gamine style. And I can’t wait to see how your new wardrobe evolves!

  21. July 8, 2019 / 7:38 am

    This answers my question of yesterday, in a way. Perhaps this is a natural and well-supported (as of course you would) evolution in retirement. In a corporate job one has to project one kind of image, in retirement, no constraints. Maybe this is license to be cute and spunky (albeit still sophisticated and highly able), a personality that maybe wouldn’t play well in a corporate job?

    • Susan B
      Author
      July 8, 2019 / 7:43 am

      Yes, exactly! I feel as though I’ve (perhaps unconsciously) hung onto a style persona I developed while in a corporate environment. Being (and looking) authoritative is much less important and takes a different form now. And I finally do feel much freer to let go of having to look “serious.”

  22. Eileen
    July 8, 2019 / 7:43 am

    I agree with Belinda, your lipstick color was the giveaway in your past posts, yes, spring, I thought. I can totally understand your interest in black and denim, we are all stuck in a rut because, the stores are full of this limited palette. And the more expensive items are often black. I’m excited to see how you evolve into a spring gamine!

  23. July 8, 2019 / 8:01 am

    We studied the Johannes Itten colour system when I was at art school, decades ago. Colour analysis is interesting in terms of physics and visual perception, but it is important to keep in mind that different cultures and different climates mean colours are perceived somewhat differently. For example, those chic Londoners (whatever their origins) will probably wear more and brighter colours than their sisters in Paris. And colours in LA are very different than ours in Montréal, for reasons of climate as much as culture.

    I know that you are certainly not going to bin your wardrobe, but I am suspicious of a system that encourages so much consumption. Obviously you have good clothing to sell on consignment or give to a programme for jobseekers – these days not only formal office wear but also quality business casual for “creative” and tech professions. But I’d keep at least some black trousers.

    • Susan B
      Author
      July 8, 2019 / 8:20 am

      Hi lagatta, actually I don’t think this system encourages over-consumption. If anything, working from a specific palette and style direction has already made me much more discriminating. I’ll be recycling my Eileen Fisher pieces through their Renew program, and donating anything else to a local thrift that benefits a non-profit addiction recovery program. And yes, I’ll hang onto a pair or two of black trousers, at least for now. 😉

      • Coco
        July 11, 2019 / 5:14 pm

        Hi Susan,
        I’d love to know the colors you can no longer wear, with this new color paletting, and the colors you will be focusing on instead. Even though you and I aren’t on the same color spectrum. I did the color analysis in the 1980’s that some women mentioned above and I am a winter (blonde w brown eyes). However I’d still love to see how the focus changes for you. And how you introduce a new color. Best of luck.

        • Susan B
          Author
          July 11, 2019 / 6:59 pm

          Hi Coco, while I “can” wear whatever I like what I’ve learned is that colors with a cool or blue base will not look as good on me as colors with a yellow/warm base. So I’ll be working toward replacing my black neutrals with navy (yes, there IS a navy in my palette) and browns. Within my palette, there are certain colors that are especially good for me, so I’m working on adding those to my wardrobe. I’ll continue to share this process as I update my wardrobe.

  24. Carol Montanti
    July 8, 2019 / 8:02 am

    I too had my colours done in the 80s and am a winter, no surprise. But I had often tried to wear what a friend of mine wore and looked so great in, with no great results for me . Of course, she is a beautiful classic autumn! Once I figured it out, I felt a lot better in my own “skin”/palette although I still admired my friend’s natural beauty. The biggest benefit I found was to go to silver accessories not gold, especially earrings. I found I could “wake up “ my face with silver earrings!

  25. Pat
    July 8, 2019 / 8:04 am

    This was so much fun to read! I’m a spring too, and it can be hard to find those colors. Watch the Pantone colors of the year and when spring shades are in, go shopping! I admit I’ve never given up my black basics. Navy and brown can look cheap-ish if not in top quality fabrics and they are both hard to match. And black is just so darned chic, and readily available. I try to keep it away from my face but if I’m wearing a black sweater or jacket, I can add *my* colors with a scarf or colored jewelry. It’s fun to find gemstones in your color palette and it can really perk up black. I also love the gamine style choices.

  26. Lee Rosenthall
    July 8, 2019 / 8:19 am

    Not surprised at all that you’re a “warm spring,” but seeing the actual colors they suggested and that most resonated with you is so exciting to witness. Can we talk about the “elephant in the room,” BLACK? Did they tell you black is a no-no for your color palette? Certainly black works well with the “gamine” personality (Hello, Audrey Hepburn!). Did they suggest warmer shades or black, or espresso perhaps, for when you feel you need to wear a darker outfit, for whatever reason? Or did they just suggest keeping it below the waist? I’ve always loved navy myself, in addition to black, but it does have a tendency to make one feel rather matronly once you’re over 50.

    Oh, how I wish I had the budget for one of these consultations (and the trip to London!), not to mention those fabulous Clergerie “Barbaras.” They’re on sale, in both black and white right now on their US website, but even at half price, $300 for a pair of fun shoes is well out of my budget these days. I will have to live vicariously though you!

  27. Sandra
    July 8, 2019 / 8:20 am

    You look lovely, Sue, and the color palette definitely suits you. Like several of the posters here, I had my colors done in the mid-80’s. I am an Autumn with some Winter tones. The majority of the colors in this palette were ones that I was drawn to instinctively, but when I “strayed” it was noticeable. The challenge has been to find clothes in my palette when the manufacturers decide pink, for example, is the color of the season!

    I think anyone can wear black pants or denim jeans-it’s the color near your face that rules.

  28. July 8, 2019 / 8:23 am

    This was fun to read, but as you probably can imagine, I could never do this as I have such strong color ideas of my own. I don’t even agree with some of their choices for you. I imagine as you begin to shop and try to incorporate some of these colors into your wardrobe, you’ll find certain ones that resonate with you more than others? I can imagine the styling part was fun and informative – as we all have ideas of what we can and can’t wear, and I don’t think we always “see” ourselves in the mirror. So many old ideas and dysmorphic body image patterns I think inform too many of my own decisions at this time in my life. Good for you for doing this.

    • July 9, 2019 / 2:22 am

      I do agree with you Kathy. I think the process might be interesting when you need to be advised to wear new colors but I don’t really trust this season classification… I believe that if you try a color on you, you are able to see if it is good on you or not… Besides, it can change from one day to another (ex: your skin is tan or not, you look tired or not, etc.). Here in France, except maybe for hairdressers, (when you ask them for new hair color), we don’t use this color classification. Maybe it’s because we don’t wear bold colors very often! ;))

      • Sarah
        July 9, 2019 / 7:10 am

        It’s always baffled me that some people can’t tell which colors work better for them, but I’ve come to accept that it’s not something that everyone can see. I think for anyone who is struggling or at all unsure it would be massively helpful to have a set of guidelines about what to buy.

        Ps- I count myself lucky that black looks very good on me! It’s my favorite color to wear 🙂

      • July 9, 2019 / 1:10 pm

        To a lesser extent, ici au Québec aussi. For example, that red-orange trouser suit would not read well here despite its quality tailoring. Colour wheels and systems are used by artists and decorators the world over, but that is why I was talking about different cultures – and different climates – in different places. I’m not being judgemental about anywhere; simply pointing out cultural differences.

  29. Margaret
    July 8, 2019 / 8:31 am

    This is a great and interesting post! Were you provided with samples or cards or something with this palette?

    • Susan B
      Author
      July 8, 2019 / 8:43 am

      Thanks! Yes, I received a small “wallet” with color swatches. And a workbook with detailed information on my best silhouettes, fabrics, hemlines, necklines, accessories, etc.

  30. No Fear of Fashion
    July 8, 2019 / 8:43 am

    I have had a colour and style analysis done in 1995 (yep). But the way you describe it, I would love to return to London and have the same session done as you have had. It sounds so nice.
    I am so glad you are incorporating more colour into your wardrobe. You already love it.
    Greetje

  31. Gina Losco-Valotta
    July 8, 2019 / 8:44 am

    Love the pictures. Le Monsieur did a fabulous job! I too am a Golden Spring and I do use my palette.
    I have to admit however, that I’ve drifted a bit into the “blacks”! Shame on me.
    I really enjoy your blog. Thank you.

  32. Anon
    July 8, 2019 / 8:47 am

    Gamine equals Audrey Hepburn to me. How exciting! I loved her style and humanity.

    I am a pure spring in another color system. I love that beautiful shade of green, and cornflower blue, and I wear these with a column of color (navy, black, white, charcoal). Scarves tie things together, haha. It is not easy to find spring colors some years, so consignment shopping is helpful. What others can’t wear suits me.

    I tried to steer toward the capsule wardrobe concept, but found it restricting. Then I realized that my capsule could contain things like my faux fur vest, asymmetrical hemlines and color. My personality needs this.

    The problem now is that my body shape and the styles I like personality-wise don’t always agree. Body shape wins, because fit is everything. If I want to be gamine, which I do, my version has to be skinny pants and ballet flats with an oversized menswear-inspired shirt. I won’t wear skinny pants without covering my bottom with my pear shape. Style is a journey.

  33. Sandi Skalicky Mcdougall
    July 8, 2019 / 8:58 am

    I follow you on Instagram and am a friend of Brenda Kinsel’s. I had my colors done 10 years in Ft. Myers with Image Matters and prior to that in the 80’s. I am a fall gamine also. Loved your post.

  34. Sandi Skalicky Mcdougall
    July 8, 2019 / 9:02 am

    Forgot to tell you, Sue, I got so tired of brown that I now use navy & cognac for my base colors.

  35. Lisa B
    July 8, 2019 / 9:09 am

    Planning on a Rome visit in October to visit my daughters. Maybe a side trip to London could be managed. In the 80’s I was a Winter but definitely know I’m not that any longer. All those bright colors are way to harsh for my skin and hair color. Surprisingly, a khaki colored jacket I wear always garners compliments!

  36. Janice
    July 8, 2019 / 9:11 am

    What a wonderful and informative post! I am a winter and have gravitated toward the gamine style. I look forward to reading upcoming post as you restyle your closet. I have sold many items on Poshmark. You may want to do the same with your “winter” items you have purchased in the past as you do your closet clear out.

  37. MJ
    July 8, 2019 / 10:03 am

    I had what sounds like an identical color and style analysis done in NYC half a dozen years ago, and as I have long suspected our colors are similar – I’m a “light spring”, but unlike you was a classic style, bordering on natural. (Much more on the “yang” side of the diagram, which explains why I feel just a little foolish in the beautifully fitting but softly structured flowered shirt dress I bought recently.) Too few colors that really zing for me, so I sometimes go for colors that are probably more in your range than mine. I have, however, found that focusing on ivory instead of bright white, wearing gold jewelry, and buying good brown pants when I find them makes a huge difference. But the ease of black is hard to give up.
    Sent my husband to be color analyzed as well, and although he has zero interest in fashion he was pleasantly surprised at what a difference the right colors make for him.

    • Jill
      July 8, 2019 / 12:00 pm

      How about some new glasses in your new color palette and more golden blonde in your hair? Often when I view your stylish outfits, I find the glasses to be distracting. They seem a bit harsh with your skin tone and maybe it has something to do with the color of the frame. I do love these new colors on you!!!

      • Susan B
        Author
        July 8, 2019 / 12:06 pm

        I agree, and actually picked up some frames in Paris that should work nicely. 🙂

  38. Lily
    July 8, 2019 / 12:19 pm

    I had my colors “done” years ago. Summer. There were only four seasons you could be then. I always wonder if the consultant’s own season, or favorite colors, colors the outcome. You were certainly brave to sit in front of a mirror, with strangers, in natural light, hair covered, no makeup. I could never do that!

  39. Lyn
    July 8, 2019 / 12:25 pm

    Your post made me double-check my “season.” I self-diagnosed as a Spring back in the 80’s, but I’m actually a Summer! Do I need a new wardrobe? No — my closet is already 90% Summer. There is a cool blue undertone to all my pinks and blues. I may have thought “Spring”, but I actually bought “Summer”. Apparently my sub-conscious self-corrected for me.
    This explains the clothes that I avoided wearing but didn’t quite know why (mostly “bargain” purchases.) My lovely orange-spice cardigan will now be set free to find a new home.
    You have been stuck in neutral for so long — I’m looking forward to seeing more color on you now.

  40. Laurie
    July 8, 2019 / 12:40 pm

    I have been through the Energy Profiling course for Dressing Your Truth. Carol Tuttle is the author. Her website is Liveyourtruth.com. I have self-identify as a type 2 woman. Type 2’s have a color palette, specific design lines, textures, fabrications, and patterns. These guidelines are extremely helpful for me in my wardrobe choices. There is no cost to take the course! Great online communities also. Can’t wait to see how your gamine style develops!

    • Linda S
      July 10, 2019 / 5:16 am

      Laurie – thanks so much for the tip on Carol Tuttle’s site. I used to identify with a Gamine style. But when I did the Liveyourtruth.com, I too identified as a type two. And this explained so much. Essentially the 2s and 4s are introverted energy types, and the 1s and 3s more extraverted. And Ann, one of the 2s, looks to be Carol’s daughter.

      The intro course is free, and a paid upgrade is $59. You get color cards and other materials mailed to you. They have many videos. I’m delighted with what I learned. I also did the Color me Beautiful eons ago and am a Summer. As they have extended the seasons recently, I see I fit as a Soft Summer, which aligns with the 2 type. Carol also explains which patterns suit each type, and why.

      Thanks, Susan, for sharing your experience.

  41. Mary
    July 8, 2019 / 12:44 pm

    Fascinating. I’m going to follow your suggestion to check with the AICI to find someone locally.

    I’m curious though – were your consultants at all surprised to see how certain colors reacted to your skin tone? And can you offer an idea of what Red Leopard might charge for a full work-up?

  42. Yvonne Chamberlain
    July 8, 2019 / 12:58 pm

    I also had my “colors” done way back with “Color me Beautiful”. Am an early summer. It has made a world of difference in shopping and building my wardrobe. Now EVERYTHING in my closet works together. Huge money saving over time too. I’m a classic/casual with a splash of artsy style. Now that I’m retired I give myself freedom to try something new too. Have fun with the transition!!!

  43. Eva G Cox
    July 8, 2019 / 1:01 pm

    Oh my goodness!! I have POURED over this post; I really get how the process works. I have totally changed our vacation plans for next year so I can go to Red Leopard (of course I have been pouring over their website as well) and I AM going to get my color done. I’m also get familiarized with Johannes Itten. I also think you have talked me into the style consultation too. I know how I want to look now, but I’m not quit sure how to pull it off! My favorite post so far & you have some GREAT posts!! I hope you are getting rested up from your trip!

  44. July 8, 2019 / 1:02 pm

    Discovering my Season and Personalized Colors was a game changer for me. I too am a spring, but my colors are soft, almost milky white and my main focus word is “Refreshing” — my personal transformation ran so deep that I have since trained with the Institute of Color & Design International and been mentored by the late Cathy Williams. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE sharing my story with people and helping them to step into their unique visual harmony. It’s the best job ever. Glad you had such a positive experience and I look forward to seeing how your style evolves!

  45. Carol
    July 8, 2019 / 2:03 pm

    Good for you! I had sensed that you were in a style rut and you acknowledged this in one of your 2017 blogs. Most of us have at least one thing that we don’t like about our appearance and sometimes we try to compensate with clothing that does the opposite of the desired outcome. Decades ago, I attended a “Color Me Beautiful” event. I have color characteristics from more than one season (warm autumn/deep winter). I am 61 yoa , 5’2 and 125lbs., and a tailored (slightly edgy) look works for me and I love dresses (top of knee). Bright colors have always been a part of my wardrobe and I think they work with my personality. Color is so important as we get older and I know I’m right about that because the cheery colors often worn by Queen Elizabeth II always make me smile. 🙂 I look forward to your style evolution. Thank you for sharing excellent product information and savvy travel tips.

    • July 11, 2019 / 4:42 pm

      The Queen also wears bright colours because she is short (so am I) and has to be visible in a crowd. One thing I admire is that she actually seems far more relaxed an even happy in her great age, though anyone over 90, even if they are fit, has some limitations, aches and pains.

      Note that I don’t think she has ever coloured her hair, unlike other prominent queens, such as in the Netherlands.

      I still love black. Series of black cats.

  46. Julie Walker
    July 8, 2019 / 2:06 pm

    What fun! Now I’d love to do this.
    I’m loving the white brogues Manina is wearing…any idea of the brand?
    Thanks!

    • Susan B
      Author
      July 8, 2019 / 2:08 pm

      Aren’t they awesome? They’re from the brand Clergerie, though I can’t seem to find this specific style online. Here it is: http://bit.ly/2G3sepk

      • July 8, 2019 / 4:41 pm

        I have those shoes in white and in black and wear them all the time. Highly recommend.

        • Susan B
          Author
          July 8, 2019 / 4:56 pm

          They are very cool!

    • Lee Rosenthall
      July 8, 2019 / 2:12 pm

      The style is called “Barbara.”

      • Susan B
        Author
        July 8, 2019 / 2:14 pm

        Thanks!

        • July 11, 2019 / 4:44 pm

          Barbara, the chanteuse, musician and so much more, had a most distinct personal style. L’aigle noir!

    • Lee Rosenthall
      July 8, 2019 / 2:15 pm

      And the colored ones are called “Japaille.”

      • Lee Rosenthall
        July 8, 2019 / 2:18 pm

        Actually, the “Japaille” is an oxford, with what appears to be that same upper.

  47. Linda
    July 8, 2019 / 3:29 pm

    I had my colors done back in the early 80s through Color Me Beautiful. I had so much fun. I’m a summer and already had a tendency towards wearing those colors, except for black. When I wear black, I wear other colors. Also, since my engagement and wedding rings are gold, rather than silver, I have maintained that with my jewelry (although I LOVE pearl earrings and pearls, so those go quite well. This was a fun post.

  48. Pink Azalea
    July 8, 2019 / 4:32 pm

    I have not had my colors done, but find it easiest to buy spring and summer clothes. When the fall and winter fashions come out, I struggle more to find clothes in colors I like. I wonder what the Red Leopard experts would advise when shopping “out of your season”? I love your new color palette. You look radiant in them.

  49. Lynette
    July 8, 2019 / 6:29 pm

    I have always thought that you are very stylist and loved your colour choices so I will be very keen to see the wardrobe changes you make and how many items you now feel are wrong.

  50. Sharon Payne
    July 8, 2019 / 8:36 pm

    How did they determine your style archetype of gamine???

    • Susan B
      Author
      July 9, 2019 / 5:19 am

      It was a combinations of factors: physical and personality. Sometimes people are a blend of different style personalities, too. But Gamine feels like a perfect fit for me (now that I know how to choose the best styles within that classification for my body).

  51. July 8, 2019 / 9:03 pm

    This was such an interesting post and makes me feel like I need to look at my entire wardrobe again. As I’ve aged, I feel I look much better in turquoise or aqua blues, which I never wore when I was younger. Most of my wardrobe was always black or a rust brown, which still looks okay, but now I gravitate to those blues and people always make positive comments, so maybe I’m on to something! LOL!

  52. July 8, 2019 / 9:38 pm

    I had my colors done back in the late 80’s and was told I was a spring. That was not big surprise, because those are the color I naturally always gravitated to and received compliments when wearing them. I still prefer most of those colors, but lately have acquired some grey and black to add to my colorful wardrobe. I’ve learned that certain colors, even within the spring range require wearing more makeup to enhance my look.

  53. Cher
    July 9, 2019 / 6:30 am

    Only with your hair covered did I see a slight red undertone in the little wisp of hair by your ear. I did color analysis back in the 90’s as part of selling a brand of make-up and skin care. I enjoyed doing that part of the program more than selling the products. I always found the biggest challenge was with women who colored their hair red when they were true brunettes. It was often hard to convince them that while their hair color may change their skin tone did not and that is what you must take in to consideration when doing a color analysis. Looks like you had a great time that was very informative! Interested to know if your results are also confirmed in your choice of home decor color? I am a Winter but I love to mix cool and warm tones together in my home.

    • Susan B
      Author
      July 9, 2019 / 7:33 am

      Our home decor is all over the place. Most of the rooms are warm, soft and beige-y, the kitchen is soft white and grey with warm brown wood floors. Probably the most Spring-ish color in the house is our bed linens: an Asian-themed print with peonies and goldfish.

  54. ChristineCascadia
    July 9, 2019 / 7:29 am

    What an interesting post. Since Eileen Fisher has often been your “go to” fashion choice, and her colors, for the most part, are either black or subdued, I look forward to seeing what new brands you discover!

    • Susan B
      Author
      July 9, 2019 / 8:43 am

      Me too! 😉

  55. Miriam Hedderson
    July 9, 2019 / 4:34 pm

    I found it interesting that hair colour isn’t a point of reference..it’s about skin tone. I have been finding that now that I have gray hair, colours that I never used to wear seem to suit me better now. And yet, I still gravitate to warm colours with considerable depth of shade – no pastels here. Cream, never white. Brown, never black. This has been a very interesting post. I love your colour palette, Susan.

    • Kathleen
      July 10, 2019 / 5:29 pm

      I agree! I had my colors done in the 90s and came out a winter. I was blue eyed, black hair back then…but I was blonde as a child. Now that I have naturally aged to a champagne hair color, people compliment me most when I wear coral and warm colors. Go figure!

  56. Christine
    July 9, 2019 / 5:02 pm

    Enjoyed this post so much that I immediately booked a color and style consultation with Red Leopard for when my husband and I are in London on vacation this fall. Over the years I have been color coded 3 times with 3 different results, so will be interesting to see what these ladies decide. Can’t wait! The only difficult part is having to show up with no makeup on! Oh well, at least I know there’s no chance of me running into anyone I know on the streets of London.

  57. Gloria
    July 9, 2019 / 7:17 pm

    This was lots of fun to read. I love a system! As with any how-to system, the individual chooses how to adapt and use it. For me, discovering more about colors that suit me helped me create an even narrower palette of the colors I like best within that set — and stalk them when I need new clothes.

    I’m curious about the style personality analysis. Is it like the Kibbe system (something I heard of for the first time about a month ago)?

  58. Linda Kruschel
    July 9, 2019 / 7:48 pm

    I am also a spring and love the Jane Iredale lipstick you used. Have you been able to determine what the color was? I’d like to get it!

  59. Kristin Chambers
    July 9, 2019 / 11:18 pm

    So fun! I love color and these look so fantastic on you! Congratulations to Red Leopard on a job so well done. I can’t wait to see these colors start to appear more frequently on your blog.
    Thanks for sharing this great experience.

  60. July 10, 2019 / 1:09 am

    Love this post! I saw a Colour Consultant a couple of months ago and was shocked to learn I am an Autumn … I’ve spend decades thinking I was a Summer! But the more I thought about it the more it made sense. I posted about it on my blog too, I’ll put the link in my signature here.

  61. Suzanne G Towles
    July 10, 2019 / 9:31 am

    I have been “studying” my colors for years, ever since the book “Color Me Beautiful” came out, but honestly I can’t figure myself out! I think I’m a summer but the spring palette can work on me, too (except for the camels and tans). I really enjoyed this post and would love to find something like this service in southern California. I’ll do some digging and see what I can find. Thank you for introducing me to Red Leopard. I’m following them on Instagram and loving their posts!

  62. Lisa
    July 10, 2019 / 12:01 pm

    I’d absolutely LOVE to have this done, and only wish they had a North American counterpart somewhere. Forgive me if it’s been mentioned already – I haven’t read through all of the comments yet. Did they happen to mention any peers they know of in the US or in Canada?

  63. Jane in London
    July 10, 2019 / 12:44 pm

    What an interesting post – thank you!

    As a Londoner, I would say that most London women would regard that red suit as a little bit de trop. It would also not be considered suitable for ordinary corporate or business wear, and would probably be best understood in the context of the sort of business Red Leopard operates.

    Although a bit more colour and a more ‘individual’ personal style is the norm in London (we can cope with Dame Vivienne Westwood) , I would say that we are not all that far away from our Parisienne cousins in terms of what we actually wear day to day.

    As an auburn-haired Celt, I shy away from colour analysis as I just know they will say I should wear gold tones in my jewellery. But I only ever wear silver tones – even in my handbag hardware and shoe embellishments – because that’s what I love best!

    Jane

    • July 11, 2019 / 5:08 pm

      Jane, you are correct. London-Paris – subtle differences. I’m speaking only of what I’ve noted in both major European cities. Then there is truly southern Europe, and the Germanic and Nordic countries…

      The Celtic sides of my family counted few auburns or gingers. More dark-haired (silver) Scots and “Black” Irish, not to mention the Bretons. Think Gordon Brown. But a much paler skin tone than the southern Europeans in the family tree. I actually also have a wee bit of African ancestry (maternal grandfather was from the Caribbean). This shows up mostly in my hair type.

      With my hair colour: almost black gone grey, and the cool tones in my skin (even tanned), Silver is a natural.

  64. DIana
    July 10, 2019 / 2:06 pm

    Will be following your journey with great interest as my current wardrobe is about 80% Eileen fisher. Lately I have been wearing more navy than black, add color mainly via scarves. I find getting a bit bored with wear8ng so much navy and black so looking forward to your journey. Also curious what they told You about neutrals white, cream, grey, navy and black as well as how to have cohesive wardrobe with so much color.
    Love your blog by the way!

  65. July 11, 2019 / 6:41 am

    Playing catch up on your blog! I’m so, so happy you had this done!!! I did something like this several years ago. It’s fun, liberating and makes life so much easier! My investment has paid for itself many times over. Also, I’ve heard it takes about 3 yrs. to really come into your own with building on something like this. I’m so looking forward to seeing lots more c-o-l-o-r in your outfits! All the best, Susan!

    • Susan B
      Author
      July 11, 2019 / 6:50 am

      Hi Kimberly, thanks! I wouldn’t be surprised if it will take several seasons to rebuild my wardrobe. Colors go through cycles just like silhouettes, and right now we seem to be in a “cool/soft” cycle. Hoping with the fall collections there may be some warmer, brighter options.

  66. July 18, 2019 / 7:12 am

    Susan, I just read all three posts re: your style reset. You look positively fabulous and ten years younger. Love your new glasses as well. I am going to link to you on my Friday post this was wonderful. I will be anxious to learn if you find someone here in CA that can do a similar “reset”. I could use one myself!!

  67. Ali
    July 19, 2019 / 9:03 am

    Susan, I don’t think you should completely abandon black. I’ve always liked you in your black gear & thought you looked fabulous. Same with your longer French Kandy pieces. My suggestion would be don’t rush to discard your ‘old’ pieces as you might be sorry later. I love navy but I think I’d get tired with too much brown and there are lots of browns that are just so so.
    But I can’t wait to follow your colour journey. Fun times ahead!

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