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 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.

Get Out Your Crayons

Metaphorically speaking, of course. Here's where the fun (read work) starts.

There is no better way to start this journey into finding your own personal style than to start with color. Wearing the best colors for you is the quickest, cheapest way of making yourself look good. Color doesn't care if you're broke or broken. But you have to be careful when you choose your next article of clothing. Court the right color and it can make you look like a beauty queen just as surely as the wrong one can make you look like you have the flu.

Most people don't really give the subject of color much thought. They either surrender to looking monastic as they enshroud themselves in neutrals or they pile on the colors until they look like a pinata - or anything in between. And it's no small wonder when you consider how intimidating and  confusing it can be. I'm sure most of you have heard of people having their colors "done" and being told they are a "winter" or a "spring". What does this mean? It never made any sense to me. A "summer" should wear nothing but pastels even though they drain your complexion of all color as you age? A "fall" can only wear rust and gold?

There is an easier way. No, I take that back. There is a clearer way - at least, it's clearer to me. As an artist I work with color all the time, but it was only after I read a book called "What You Wear Can Change Your Life" by Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine that it all clicked in my head. There are three main color groups. Blue-based colors are cool, yellow-based colors are warm, mid-toned colors are more muted than blue-based yet cooler than yellow-based.

Here are the three shades of red courtesy of the PalsyCam. Yes, I know it's fuzzy but I want you to pay attention to the different shades of color and nothing else; those are clearly distinguishable.

Right now I'll bet you're thinking this is all as clear as mud. How am I supposed to know which group will look best on me - and which other colors belong in that group?

Stick around. All shall be revealed.