Meet Me In The Mid-Tones

Is being a hot tamale or a cool cucumber just not right for you? Do you feel like a rainbow reject when it comes to all this color stuff? Don't despair; meet me in the middle.

As the name implies if you're a Mid-Tones mama then your palette is neither too bright nor too pastel. Your skin either has blue undertones or a peaches and cream complexion and your eyes are light in color. You are the most neutral canvas of all. Without color you look washed out, but too much makes you look like your clothes are wearing you.

Mid-Toners can do a bit of crossing over into the other two groups. Just proceed with caution. Stay away from khaki and beige at all costs. Soft burgundy is a great neutral and navy works, too. Purple is your color, just be sure to keep it toned down.

Think fresh, clean colors like those below.

I compiled all of these images using Polyvore.

Do you fall into  this group? I do - it took me a long time to figure that out - and guess what? Once I knew what colors worked on me I didn't trash all the clothes that weren't the right shade. Instead I devised a work-around.

If you've stuck with me so far I thank you for wading through the technical aspect of these posts. In the next few posts I'll talk in a much more personal way about how I stumble and bumble my way through this. I would love to have your questions and personal observations on the subject of color. Post them in the comments section, on my Facebook page, in a tweet or in an email .

Starlight, Star Bright, Cool Colors Look Just Right

If Warm colors don't look good on you then you might just be a Cool kid.

People that wear Cool and Bright colors well tend to have alabaster white or olive skin devoid of freckles. Whereas the Warm palette suits yellow undertones the Cool palette suits blue undertones. Their hair lacks any auburn and when it goes gray it's that beautiful shade of silvery white with no trace of yellow. Cool and Brights have dark eyes or a dark rim around their irises.

Since Cool and Bright people are on the opposite end of the spectrum from their Warm counterparts they should avoid browns, rust, apricot and beige as these do nothing for their complexion.

Black is the neutral of choice for this group, followed by gray and navy blue.

You look great in very cold shades of pink and blue and bright jewel tones

I compiled all of these images using Polyvore.

Is this more your speed? Do these colors work better for you than the Warm palette but seem a little too much for your coloring? Are you completely confused?

Fear not; there is a third group.

The Warm Color Palette: Smokin' Hot or Oh-So-Not

I'm going to start with this color group because it is the easiest to explain. If you need to wear Warm colors you are easy to spot and the right colors on you make a very dramatic difference for the better.

Most people who fall into this category have reddish undertones in their hair and muted eye colors. As I said in the "Blank Page" post if the Warm palette is the one for you your skin tends towards golden tones and if your hair has started turning gray that gold cast will also be present in those strands of hair. In other words, your graying hair will look like dirty dishwater instead of silvery white.

In terms of your wardrobe the colors you wear need to be yellow-based and warm. Cold and bright is not for you. Icy blues and pinks make you look like you are coming down with something. Navy blue and black make you look tired and grey makes you sink into the background.

"Yes, yes, but these are all just words." You're probably saying, out loud even. "How about some visuals, please!"

But of course.

Here are the two most important colors in determining whether this is your scene or not.

If you look fab in these then Warm colors are all you. If you look drab then move on immediately.

Here are some more examples that fall into the Warm range of colors.

Notice that browns and burgundys are the neutrals of choice for this group.

I compiled all of these examples using Polyvore.

Are you a Hot Tamale or a Pallid Princess in Warm tones? Do you hate these colors even though they suit you? Do you love them but can't wear them?

The Blank Page

Think you're invisible in your grey sweatpants and black T-shirt? Think again; you couldn't be invisible if you tried. The right color is a Spashionista's best friend. It can make you look vibrant, confident, and prettier - and who doesn't want that?

There are several ways to find your true skin tone and the corresponding colors that work well with it.

We'll start with the easiest way. Even if you are Caucasian your skin is not pure "white". It has an undertone that determines which colors look best on you. Take several sheets of white printer paper to the closest source of indirect natural light. Hold your arm up to the light, turn it so that the underside of your wrist faces upward, and hold the paper next to it. If your skin appears to have a golden or yellow color you will likely look good in Warm colors. If your skin has either a bluish or an olive cast to it you will look better when wearing Cool colors. If you have peachy pink skin tending towards blue undertones you will look your best in Mid-Tones.

If you are not Caucasian but your skin tone is neutral you should wear Mid-Tones. Caramel colored undertones shine in Warm colors. Ebony skin tones look radiant in Cool colors.

Still confused?

Not My Closet

Go to your closet and divide your clothes into color groups, blues together, yellows, greens, and so on. Then take them to the nearest mirror - full length is best, but a bathroom mirror will do in a pinch - and either try them on or drape them near your face. Start with your favorite color and take a good, long look at what you see. Does that color make your skin glow or does it make you look sallow and tired? Do your eyes look bright or like you haven't slept in a week? Be objective; get help from a friend if you need it. Put the colors that truly work for you together. Likewise those that don't. Unless you have ample means to go out and buy a new wardrobe don't throw out or give away anything that doesn't fall into your optimal color palette just yet.

In the next several posts I'll explain each group in better detail to give you as much help as I can.

Your Mama

On this Mother's Day I'm finding it difficult to push the thought that the older I get the more I look like my mother out of my head. A shorter, rounder version to be sure, and one with my father's skin and eye color, but the facial features are undeniably hers.

Big shoes to fill as my mother was a model in her younger days with an 18 inch waist, smaller boobs, and perfectly arched eyebrows. It seems as if I was born fat. I certainly always had big upper arms and my chest developed early and rapidly surpassed hers. It always disappointed her and I was put on many diets as a child. No matter how much weight I lost I was always going to have my great grandmother on my father's side's body type. When I was in my mid twenties I decided that I was going to have that 18 inch waist if it killed me. I consumed only 250 calories a day and dieted and exercised my way down to 92 pounds. I wore a child's size 14 and was finally able to fit into my mother's black straight legged jeans.

My cup size never changed, though. I still wore a D cup. I looked like a popsicle stick with two cotton balls glued to it. More importantly, I had done all of it for the wrong reasons. I wanted my mother's approval - which I did not get. "Just ten more pounds and you should be there." It was then that I realized I would never be "there" and began eating normally again.

The fault for this little fiasco rests squarely on my shoulders and no one else's. My mother wasn't, and isn't, a monster.  She's a smart woman who is a talented musician and artist and went from riches to rags to self-made woman. She just wants things to be exactly as she thinks they should be  - even if that's not possible. It is this one personality trait that finally made it necessary for me to establish some boundaries that she finds unacceptable. I'm sorry things have ended up this way, but it's her choice at this point.

So, when I look in the mirror, as I did yesterday on my 51st birthday, I hope that I can retain all of the positive qualities that are my mother and let go of all the ones that don't work so well. But I think, perhaps, this is the struggle that every child goes through.

Thanks for the great cheekbones, Ma, and for every good thing you ever did for me. And Happy Birthday to me!

Me at 51

I promise the next post will be much less maudlin and much more Spashionista-like.

Step One: Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

You're the fairest of them all.

It's true, you know. There isn't a person alive that doesn't possess some quality, whether apparent or obscured, that makes them beautiful. Of course the only meaningful, lasting beauty is inner beauty. Who you are on the inside, your character and heart, are what people around you eventually bond with. But what good is inner beauty if nobody gets to see it because you look like a train wreck on the outside?

What do other people see when they look at you? There's only one way to find out. You have to look at yourself. You have to really see yourself as others see you. You have to look in the mirror. You have to face your Outer Spaz. Whether you're disabled or not you have an Outer Spaz. If you're Palsied your Outer Spaz includes the physical manifestations that make up your disability, any additional hardware you require because of it, and anything you don't like about your body. Do you jerk when you move like a mime on crack, twist in your wheelchair, grimace when you talk? Do you have an ass so wide it has it's own zip code, cottage cheese thighs,  and a double chin below your double chin? Are you so flat-chested and scrawny that the local food bank keeps leaving care packages - and padded bras - on your doorstep? All of these things are your Outer Spaz. The trick is to transform your Outer Spaz into a vision that people will look at because it is poised, put together, confident and charismatic.

It can be done. It can start today. Step One is to make a list of everything you see that you think you can improve upon or need to divert attention from.  Be honest and critical in a realistic sense without seeing yourself so flawed that you quit before you start. Meet your own gaze in the mirror with head held high, examine the things about your Outer Spaz that need work, and commit to the changes that will change the way people see you.

Hang on to your list. You'll need it as we move forward. I'll share mine with you next time.