Bringing More Colour to the City

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Love colour, but feel clueless about what suits you? Most of us want to brighten up at work, but revert to the same old, same old in fear of getting it wrong.

Your office is probably a sea of black and grey. Granted, it’s the City, but surely we can dress a little more colourfully and still look corporate.

Here’s how to make colour work for you:

Assess your eye colour, skin tone and hair (if its highlighted, don’t worry - it’s whatever is on your head right now).

Your Dominant Colouring

If you’re fair and delicate (think Cate Blanchett and Claudia Schiffer), your dominant palate is LIGHT. You have light blonde hair with pale skin and eyes.

For core pieces, like suits, light navy and grey are more flattering than black. You’ll be reaching for the Touche Eclat less often, trust me! Accent with lighter colours near your face. This season’s coral and blush pink lips are made for you.

If you have DEEP colouring, (mid-dark skin and dark eyes) like Michelle Obama or Catherine Zeta Jones, you’ll need more strength in your colours.

You look great wearing deep colours, like black, emerald or dark purple, next to your face. Avoid head-to-toe pastels. Opt for stronger colours on the lips - plums and rich reds are stunning.

Silver or ash-haired à la Judi Dench? COOL, blue-based colours like icy lavender, orchid pink and raspberry show off your natural assets. Avoid yellowy or golden tones. Mulberry pinks and rich mauves are gorgeous on lips.

With red or auburn hair (Christina Hendricks and Julianne Moore), your WARM colouring suits golden, yellow-based colours. Swap black for pewter, olive or chocolate. Try ivory, warm reds and rich teals as accent colours for tops and accessories. Coral, peach and copper tones work well on lips.

Do you have CLEAR jewel-tone eyes, pale skin and dark hair (like the Duchess of Cambridge and Elizabeth Hurley)? Wear vivid colours to accentuate your natural brightness. Think of Kate Middleton in that now-iconic blue Reiss dress!

Avoid muted tone-on-tone looks that sap you. Play with this season’s brighter lips - try gloss if a lipstick feels too full-on.

If your look is SOFT and muted, (Jennifer Anniston and Rosie Huntington-Whitely), go for tones and textures. A sample outfit might be: charcoal trousers, gunmetal snakeskin shoes, a dusty blue jacket and a textured grey suede handbag. Nude easy-to-wear shades work a treat on lips.

Texture ‘de-blahs’ your tonal palate. Avoid bright colours, both in clothes and makeup, which overwhelm your soft colouring. Think luxe tonal colour palates, like Burberry, Armani and Max Mara.

Still shaky?

If colour at the office still scares you, my advice is to ease in gently. Team a colourful accessory - a statement necklace or belt - with a basic corporate colour, like charcoal. Shoes are an easy way to brave some new shades.

With a little practice and courage, colours that once made you shaky might just bring some spring into your step.