Fashion Tip Fave: Find Your Best Colors Face First

Today I was confronted with the dreary truth that my wardrobe depresses the hell out of me! Over the past couple years I've fallen back into the basic black trap --as in that's all I ever wear. Unless I'm feeling frisky. Then I wear grey. Once upon a time I went wild with color and it was largely due to an invaluable fashion tip I gleaned from UK style-duo Trinny and Susannah's book What You Wear Can Change Your Life: when shopping, always hold a garment up close to your face and scrutinize the effect on your skin & eyes to determine if a color works for you. Sounds simple, doesn't it? But you rarely see anyone do it! Instead people will hold the garment in front of them in an approximation of where it drapes on the body, which tells you nothing about fit by the way. Even when shoppers try on clothing they will rarely take the time to do the face check. The shoestring shopper, however, must be as discerning as possible. Every penny is precious and all the angles must be worked.

The face check is probably the numero uno commandment in my shopping Bible and I've been wanting to do a feature post on it for some time. One look at the shadowlands inside my closet convinced me today is the day to start following the rainbow and demonstrate to you why the face reveals all when seeking out just the right shade.

First, I need a face. A blank canvas sort of face, if you will. No distracting smile or bright makeup:


Above is an un-retouched me: photographed in hideous, store-like fluorescent lighting and sporting a relatively bare face (eyeliner & mascara on upper lid only & a dab of neutral eye shadow).

Now let's add a teal backdrop. I always get compliments when I wear teal.


 And now let's swap the teal with a yellow backdrop. Yellow is a color that never looks right on me.


Not as nice, huh? 


The pictures are identical and yet, when compared side by side (click to enlarge), there is just something about the teal green-bordered photo that draws the eye and makes the face more pleasing... a barely perceptible lift to my eye color and skin tone perhaps?

Let's swap them and see if I'm not letting a left-to-right reading bias direct my gaze:


Nope! The face with the green matte is still more striking!

I asked a few friends for feedback on my little teal/yellow experiment and they all thought the teal green was more becoming. Comments included "plays up your eyes" and "cool colors suit you". Now if you can get that sort of insight from setting your face against some colored blocks on a computer screen, just think what you'll discover in the shops.

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