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Not Feeling Neutral

I am a neutral lover thru and thru. Yes, if you’ve been here a while you know that I’m also that woman who had no less than 4 virtual color analyses last year. Obsessive? Yes. I was curious to test the viability of virtual analysis, (not very accurate) and looking to try new colors. Throughout the process, I did discover colors I’ve never worn before that I’ve wholeheartedly embraced and they happen to be, you guessed it, neutrals. Today I’m chatting about wearing colors you love.

Related – Personal Color Analysis: Is It For You?

 

WOMAN SITTING ON WALL WEARING COLORS SHE LOVES

There’s no question that color lifts our spirits but I’m seldom drawn to an outfit with color the way I am by an outfit made up of neutrals. It’s a personal preference for me, but it’s also part of my personal style recipe. I find neutrals elegant in a way that I don’t find colors and elegance is a big part of my style formula.

While walking the seawall in False Creek yesterday, I passed a young man dressed in a camel overcoat, gray crewneck sweater, deep navy pants, and black shoes. I tried to not stare but don’t think I succeeded because he gave me the stink eye:) The color combo was arresting in its simplicity and totally inspiring to me.

As always, you can click the red text for more info and to shop the item.

gray leopard jacket and camel sweater outfit

I looked down and realized my dog walking outfit, wasn’t that far off the mark. It wasn’t anywhere as crisp because my jeans were a mid-wash and my sneakers were…well, sneakers. The neutrals were similar but the entire effect was downplayed by texture and saturation of the colors.

woman wearing camel with grey
WEARING –  SIMILAR CARDIGAN  –  CAMEL SWEATER TOP WITH SILK  –  NECKLACE  –  HIGH RISE SLIM JEANS  –  WATER-RESISTANT BOOTIES

I ditched the sneakers and heavier jacket when the weather got milder but that did little to add polish to my look because of the faded denim and rustic suede booties.

Now I’m thinking about what I have in my wardrobe at home to recreate his outfit. I think I have a lot and it will be dead simple. Have you ever used a man’s outfit as inspiration to create a look for yourself?

casual outfit to wear with colors you love in neutrals of camel and gray
CAMEL COAT  –  GREY CASHMERE CREWNECK  –  STRAIGHT LEG NAVY PANTS  –  SLEEK BLACK LOAFERS  –  BRAIDED VINTAGE  GOLD HOOPS –  FAUX PEARL BROOCH  –  NAIL POLISH IN “A-LIST”  –  LIPSTICK IN “ROUGE STUDIO”

Wearing Colors You Love

Our personal style recipe needs to feel authentic. Forcing ourselves to wear a style, shape, or color simply because it’s in our pallet or “flattering” can be a recipe for disaster. The colors that flatter our personal coloring is only part of your style equation. Pay attention to your instinct and wear what resonates with how you want to feel. If you’re tagged a bright spring but prefer to wear quiet colors that don’t draw attention, listen to yourself and dress for your comfort level.

That said, I have an in-person color analysis scheduled for Saturday and another one scheduled in January. Both practitioners are trained in the Sci-Art method which I’ve long been a big fan of. We can stab in the dark doing a color analysis online, but to see your skin react, you must be draped in person. I’ll let you know how it goes. To be honest, the only season I would be surprised to be typed at this point is a winter because I’ve been called everything else…several times.

One final note…I was shopping yesterday, big surprise, and a saleslady oohed and awed over how a canary yellow coat looked on me. Her exact words were, “oh, that’s your color!”. In truth, I looked sick as a dog in that yellow and she has no clue what she’s talking about. Her opinion is just that, an untrained opinion so beware of where compliments come from. Listen to your instincts. How do you feel in the shape and color? Is it sending the message you want to be associated with you?

Thanks for reading my ramblings this morning ladies and remember to wear what makes you feel confident because that’s all that matters.

 

 

 

 

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79 Comments

  1. As you pointed out (as far as color/clothes go) wear what makes you happy.
    I avoided red for years because I was told by a “color consultant” it was not a good color for me.
    Turns out red looks great on me if it’s the right shade. Compliments and photos of myself convinced me to wear red. Just look for the right shade.

  2. Between menopause and retirement, I was faced with a closet full of clothing that either didn’t fit well or didn’t have a role in my current lifestyle. I became very interested in both color and body type analysis as tools to help me build a more cohesive and flattering wardrobe for this next phase of my life. I scoured the internet and used the many resources from both bloggers and vloggers as well as a critical assessment of what I do and do not feel good wearing to determine I am a soft autumn with a rectangle body type and classic style. This has really helped me to be more focused when shopping for clothing. By sticking to an autumn color palette and identifying the silhouettes that look good on me, I can quickly scan the racks for colors and styles that are most likely to work with my coloring and body type. Better yet, the pieces I do purchase are more likely to coordinate with the other pieces in my wardrobe, because I now have a harmonious color palette. I couldn’t bring myself to abandoned all my black (a previous mainstay of my wardrobe), even though it is not a very good color for me. I do try to avoid putting it near my face, but when I do, I try to temper it with a scarf, blouse or jacket in a more flattering color. My natural coloring is warm and muted, but I still enjoy wearing warm, bright colors (spring) when the weather is warmer. When I do, I have learned to brighten up my lipstick and accent my eyes to create more contrast so I don’t get “lost” behind my clothing. To my amateur, self-educated eye, when I look at your pictures I see a soft summer–cool and muted. I think that is why you are so drawn to blues–one of summers’ best colors. However, I appreciate your advice that we all should wear what makes us feel confident. Although we often recognize that intuitively, increased understanding of why certain clothes make us feel good and others don’t can be an invaluable tool in helping to rebuild or revise a wardrobe in an efficient way and avoid costly mistakes. BTW, as for using men as a style inspiration, another fashion vlogger, Audry Coyne, used Stanley Tucci as her style muse. The results were fabulous!

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Kami. I love them. I suspect I sit somewhere between soft summer and soft autumn if you don’t consider my personality which is fairly strong and leans into spring territory. I have both warm and cool undertones so could be typed closer to neutral. Either warm neutral or cool neutral.
      I rely on cosmetics as you do with colors I know to be overpowering. I am very anxious to not only hear what this colorist says but most important, look forward to watching it in the mirror.

  3. Funny how we look at what suits us as we age and become, hopefully, wiser and more self assured.
    I love colour, and have used it my art and interiors, but especially in my own clothing…mostly with longer tunic tops.
    It just makes me happy, and confident if the colour(s) light up my hazel eyes, softer hair tones and lighter peachy complexion . As my shorter hair is now quite a natural mix of pale ash blonde, soft grey with a touch of very soft brown now at 71, I am seeing how much colour does make a difference. Pieces I wore and enjoyed even 3 years ago when my hair was longer( an experiment) aren’t quite right now.

    Call me a spring/fall blend I suppose, since so many colours in that range do look good, and people remark on what I am wearing. It becomes quite obvious what pulls out the worst in my face, so they are all edited and donated.

    That said, I do love soft neutrals too, and what a good scarf , earrings, or chunky necklace can do to pull everything together…think softer leopard print , or mixes of neutrals found in nature ( pebbles, leaves, faded beach glass ) . Well cut neutrals can look so stylish.

    Isn’t it interesting, as we age, to find out more about ourselves!?

  4. Since we live in the same area, would you be able to share who you are using for your two analyses? It will save me a trip to London! I think the results will be interesting as you don’t look as vibrant in some of these neutrals. But getting the right color palette is tough since every analyst seems to include different colors in any given “season”. Style wise, the coat/jacket, top, pants, loafer/boots is my go to because I’m a “less is more” kind of dresser.
    Enjoying your blog!

  5. Most of my wardrobe is neutral, and I build around those, adding color in tops/scarves etc. Have not had color analysis, but have learned what works mainly by how I feel in certain tones. Best advice is what you use to close your posts, wear what makes you feel confident!

    I see color analysis as a fun tool. While I have learned black and white are not my best choices, they will never go completely away in my closet. There will always be a time and a place.

  6. I think camel and grey are fabulous together and incredibly elegant. Ditto navy and black, a no-no for many years. I think the secret to making these combos go together is to be intentional in the tones, which you hinted at in your post. As in, I’d wear a very “camel” camel (not beige) with a charcoal (not washed out) grey; and I’d wear a saturated black with a bright navy. That way it signals it’s a bold choice, not just getting dressed without the closet light on :). I love menswear inspired looks and just bought some cashmere plaid scarves in the men’s department, as they were better quality and cheaper, with more sophisticated combos than were designed for women.

  7. Your yellow coat experience is common in stores as they are trying to make a sale. It is always refreshing to find a salesperson who gives honest opinions. I think people must be cautious with the colour analysts as well. It seems a number of bloggers have become ‘autumn and spring’ after having their colours done by an autumn or spring. It would be interesting to compare your 4 results with those who gave them. Perhaps it’s just that winters tend to know you’re a winter and don’t have their colours done. If black and white make you shine is there a reason to do so?

  8. I enjoyed your ramble very much, especially the part about wearing what YOU like, not just what your colour analysis says you like. Instinct does play a role.

  9. I have always relied on neutrals to pull my professional wardrobe together but now that I’m retired I have been playing more with colors. What fun to wear raspberry pink and deep purples on the golf course! Years ago I was an autumn and I still have the page of colors from the color me beautiful book; however, I’m now totally a blond looking gray and certain colors look better than others. There are many ways to wear neutrals in patterns such as camo, animal prints and paisleys and if neutrals are in your comfort zone then I say stick with it. I choose to use pops of colors every so often in my day to day clothes but I agree with you Jennifer, I love my camel, black, navy and gray.

  10. Hi Jennifer,
    I want to comment on sneakers because we have talked about good walking shoes. I have moved away
    from my New Balance shoes and purchased HOKA BONDI 7 WIDE 9.5 D in black, hoping they will be coming out with white in the future. I have no padding in the bottom of my feet, so I take out the insoles
    and insert a 10 SECONDS INSOLES CUSHION Pressure Relief inside. These sneakers so far are awesome. I take a size 8 – 8 1/2 in a shoe, but need to size way up in sneakers. This shoe has top reviews, my girl friends podiatrist recommended this shoe after she had foot surgery. Also the reviews on line came from recommendations from podiatrists as well. I purchased mine from Roadrunner in Scottsdale, AZ. You can go direct to HOKA, customer service is very nice. I have RA in my feet and osteoporosis so my feet are a mess, perhaps for running for 37 years and too many marathons.
    This may not be the shoe for you, but if you are interested please check them out. 10 Seconds can be
    purchased from Amazon. The New Balance shoe store sells them as well.

    1. Thanks, Katherine. I just ordered two types of the 10 Seconds insoles on your recommendation. They sound terrific. I will look into the shoes in more detail when I get home 🙂

  11. I was always “taught” that grey and camel colors don’t go together…to choose one or the other as a foundation for my wardrobe. I was surprised when I started seeing grey sweaters with khaki skirts and pants. At first it rocked my world, but now I like it. It’s silly what rules we accept and limit ourselves by.

    1. I was told to never wear blue with black because it reminds us of a bruise. Ha! I love its low contrast pairing and do it often.

  12. I really like the fact that you were inspired by a man’s outfit. I really like my husband’s clothing colors and often dress in similar colors. Neutral colors always seem to look to say class to me. I always feel put together when dressed in neutrals. Your walking outfit was great.

  13. I think I fit into the soft summer type, but like you, I think neutrals are the most elegant and easy to wear. That said, the soft summer palette includes my favorite neutrals – navy, different shades of blue, gray, and taupe not camel. I do wear black for accessories – bags and shoes. Not all the colors in the soft summer palette are appealing to me, but there is a good range to choose from. Also being next to soft autumn, allows for some warmer tones. Trial and error, but I enjoy the process. Besides the actual color, soft summer colors are muted and softer, so I look for colors that have that quality.

    1. The other variable to remember is that each system has its own pallet for its “seasons”. The soft summer blue in one system may be the same as another system in autumn.

  14. The comments resonate with me. I have gone grey, so colours I wore previously are not as flattering, including black near my face and olive, which flatters my eyes.
    I never wore gray before but now I love it. Navy or deep purple is more approachable than black. I wear more in pink or rose than I ever have before. I feel this is a whole new challenge as my skin and hair fade, and I am wearing clothes to suit a post work life.

  15. I love that you don’t follow or give the one-size-fits-all advice to embrace color as we age. Many of the colors marketed to us more mature women seem to wash us out and soften our appearance in a way that doesn’t feel authentic to our personalities. I’ve always been drawn to neutrals because I feel more put-together and sophisticated when I’m wearing them. I also discovered at a young age, and quite accidentally, that warm tones did nothing for me. I noticed that when I wore cooler tones, my skin and eyes looked brighter and my hair looked shinier. That’s still true and includes black. I actually look noticeably drabber in warm colors (including warm neutrals like camel.) But, that hasn’t stopped a misguided hairdresser from recommending warm caramel “highlights” or the occasional department store salesperson from showing me peach blushers or lipsticks, which of course look orange against my skin. The ones who understand color know better.

    1. Hair is another source of frustration for many because so many of us do not color our own hair. I can’t even remember the last time I had color put on my head that was what I had hoped for. At least we can wash cosmetics off, but experimenting does get expensive:)

  16. I’ve thought of having a color analysis but am terrified it would make me feel as if I should throw out half my closet. I buy according to what I love, or as my sister says, “when it winks at you”. I have tried to wear beige, camel, and taupes because I love them on others, only I don’t like myself in them except for coats. I’ve recently purchased 2 coats and 2 sweaters in camel. I will wear them with black or my favorite, navy. I love grey, but somehow don’t like it with beige or camel. Who knows why some colors and combinations appeal to us and some don’t?

    1. That’s a natural fear and I do see women doing just that. Buying and wearing what we love can never be wrong:)

  17. Lol. I hope you didn’t wake up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. Style should always be your choice, however I’ve noticed black can be harsh on a woman as she ages. My eye is drawn to their wrinkles, especially if their skin is fair and hair is light. I think color looks so beautiful on a woman with very light, white, hair and pale skin. Black and neutrals are fabulous to wear but skin tone, hair color, and style are important considerations. Sometimes we get stuck wearing the same color over and over and do not realize other colors compliment our skin, hair or figure. Maybe that salesperson saw something complimentary about your style that you missed, maybe it was the lighting. I have often heard our color palette changes as we age and I think that holds some truth. Have a wonderful week!

    1. Our skin, hair, and eyes do all lose intensity as we age so what flattered us 20 years ago won’t be as flattering now. However, if you love it, I encourage you to wear it. I know black makes my wrinkles appear deeper, but I still love wearing it.
      That saleslady would have been simply stunning in the canary yellow jacket! It would have brought her very warm-toned complexion to life. The intensity was perfect for her jet black hair and dark eyes. She was attracted to it so she projected that onto me. It happens in stores all the time and sends many ladies home with clothes that never get worn:)

  18. I agree, neutrals create an elegant base for any style. I have always been attracted to vibrant color but the two new sweaters that I recently purchased were both in a soft cream color.
    I also sympathize with Donna’s comments about the constant struggle with finding the best makeup and hair products. I find that I have changed my entire makeup coloring over the years and this struggle continues. The same struggle continues with ever changing hair color and texture.
    I get so much encouragement from this blog! Thank You!

    1. I am reaching for cream, winter white, and soft ivory, more and more these days too. My makeup is due for an update and I am looking forward to it. Getting the right hair color can be a bit of a nightmare. My hair hasn’t been a flattering color for longer than I care to think about and experimenting is expensive.

    2. I have had colors done over time and been told that I can wear some elements of all the seasons. So, I just wear what I like. I know to avoid beige and camel near my face. I tend to keep neutrals on the bottom and more definite co!or on top.
      Love your blog. You inspire me to play with my own closet more.

  19. Hi Jennifer! I have had my colors professionally done no less than three times over my lifetime. The first time I was spring/winter (in my late 20s), the second (3 years later) I was spring/fall, and the third (35 years later) I was determined to be fall/summer! LOL! Even in-person analysis can be different. I chalked it up to each person’s artistic eye and how they see color. I think you’re right in saying you should wear what you’re comfortable in. Looking forward to seeing what your results will be. I live in your area so I’d love to know who you went to. I’d like to give my granddaughters the gift of an analysis as they each turn 16!

    1. My first one will be in Vancouver, BC and the second one will be in Sacramento. It sounds like they typed you in shoulder seasons! Lol, they seem so hard to nail down.

  20. I look forward to your color analysis I enoyed your series on color I love neutrals too. I will wear some of the colors in the soft summer palette. I like them and think they work I also like black which is a big no no for soft summers. I always remember you saying personality is more important than skin tone Your attitude and being draped in multiple color seasons helped me to understand this is a tool not a science. I appreciate your analysis. patval

    1. It is an art so how can there be wrong answers? I want women to enjoy the colors they wear whether they’re technically flattering or not:)

  21. Great post. The frustration of the virtual analysis last year was felt by everyone following you. I had to cancell an in person one at the start of the pandemic, and was offered a virtual one, which I declined. I want to experience it in person and see the changes on my skin in person. Good luck with the ones you are having done, and I will be eagerly waiting to see the outcomes and hear your observations. I have always wanted a camel coat, and my mother offered me hers, which when I tried it on made me look rather sick. On her it looked fabulous, so just goes to show how the pressure of the “lists” of what is a classic and should be in everyones closet can be so wrong. Now, that same coat in a raspberry or greyed blue would be perfect and I have gone on to listen to my little voice and not some random “should have.” It made me laugh when you related the salesperson, that has happend so many times that it makes me not want to shop there when she is working.

    1. Camel is tricky to get right. Some are warmer than others, some have a greenish undertone, some are pinkish, etc, etc. The options are limitless. I think it’s important to realize that 4 limiting seasons will not give women what they need. We are all so unique.

  22. I am a neutral as well. Years ago I pretty much went this way because it helped me put together more outfits. I like the classic , sophisticated look. My daughter who moved and lived in NY has had a great influence on how I dress. She now lives in London. Then we have traveled to Europe, and I liked the way they dress there. All neutrals come colors added here and there. I don’t care very much for fad clothes and lots of color. I like neutral pants and then I add some color with tops, sweaters and jackets, scarves. My clothes are mix and match.

    As far as my color , I always was an autumn, but since I am older my hair is lighter and my skin tone has faded. I need makeup more than ever now and even makeup just doesn’t work as well, so hard finding the right tone. I throw away tons of makeup and hair products because not much works. Hair went from thick body, to fine , thin and flat.

    It is good to hear suggestions from others that are on this journey.

    1. Donna, I could have written your second paragraph. With silver hair and faded skin tone I find that colors don’t look the same on me anymore and, yes, I need tons more makeup. But there are advantages: suddenly a crisp white shirt looks great with my hair. I agree that hearing suggestions, and particularly seeing the clothes on real people, is really helpful.

  23. I remember wearing the camel long coat in 80’s with dark wool slacks and heels. Not sure I would do that again in the south where I live now but it did look classic.

  24. Thank you for allowing me to feel that what colour I choose to feel comfortable in might just be okay. I am thinking in particular of black.

  25. Hello Jennifer,
    I look forward to hearing about your in person sessions with SciArt.
    I wonder if you would consider revisiting any of your color analysts who worked hard during lockdown to create palettes virtually another chance – a chance to recalibrate things in person?

    1. The virtual color analysts I worked with. all live too far away to see in person. That’s why virtual consultations became popular. Much can be done online but the client can not see the face react to drapes and that’s what I’m looking forward to this time. I can’t say any of them were wrong, just different.

  26. I love neutrals, and black has been my favourite neutral for as long as I can remember, but I’ve been slowly replacing that with grey lately. Black isn’t working anymore as I no longer have dark hair, black eyebrows and lashes, and my contrast level will also change.
    And I’ve been playing with colours and to see what suits me now. It’s been interesting to see how different colours affect my complexion without eyebrows and hair LOL. I’ve ordered a lot of head scarves online and one that I hoped was a blue based purple turned out to be yellow based. Wow – did it bring out a sallowness to my complexion!
    I’m so glad that you are doing an in-person analysis with Sci Art. I am looking forward to the results.
    Oh and camel and grey together is such an elegant look.

  27. Loved the comment “beware of where the compliments come from”! That said, I was struck at how great the color of the Nordstrom open cardigan (posted in the last month I think), like a soft teal, looks on you. One woman’s opinion…..

    1. Sales people are notorious for giving their opinion as educated fact. They’re trying to help but it often has the opposite effect.

  28. I love a good ramble! I thoroughly enjoyed your take on colour. You are so right about the virtual colour analysis. In person I have been called a summer or cool summer and once winter and decided to try one virtual, COVID bored, it called me an autumn. Virtual really relies on the camera. There is no way I am an autumn.

    I also noticed that my colour choices has started to shrink. I do wear more neutrals – can red be a neutral! 😀