I have spent the past 26 years in business-style workwear and have only bought the odd new outfit for special occasions. Now I have been made redundant. How do I start to put together a whole new wardrobe? I have set aside a budget but I’m not a fan of patterns or bright colours.
Sharon, Hove, Sussex.
There’s a question of identity after leaving work. For years you may have defined yourself as a ‘working woman’ but now there could be a question of ‘Who am I?’ or a sense that you’ve become invisible. So it is time to discover your new emotional and physical identity.
Consider investing in a new ‘uniform’ that makes you feel present – and colour has to be brought out. Many women are scared of it, especially at work, and stick to black, grey or navy – but bright shades, more than anything, will make people notice you.
First, work out your colour palette (see below), then which of those shades bring you happiness and joy. I want you to buy a coat in that colour. When you start with that (or something I call a ‘jackcoat’ which is light enough to wear indoors or layer when it’s cold outside), it brings the whole outfit together. Add a scarf in the same tone plus a gilet for a cold day and you have an adaptable look that is on-trend, smart and casual.
From what you tell me, I think pastels will suit you, but you could also embrace brights. Think about trying this pink look (left), which is all about teaming different tones of the same shade.
For your make-up, choose a neutral lipstick (don’t match your lip to your outfit), but make sure your blusher does have the same tone as your clothes. Then get ready to give yourself – and your wardrobe – a new lease of life.
What clothes colour are you?
Last month I talked about how to choose make-up for your skin tone. Now it’s your wardrobe’s turn. These rules apply to all skin and hair shades…
COOL AND BRIGHT Skin has cool undertones with no red, yellow or orange. Eyes can be mid- or dark-brown; if they’re blue they have a black rim. Black suits you.
Go for emerald, turquoise, navy, teal, grey, cool-toned reds, white, bright pink.
WARM Complexions with peach, caramel or red tones or freckles. Hair is tawny blonde, red to darkest brown with coppery tones. Eyes will be hazel, duller green or brown.
Try tomato red, teal, olive, burgundy, rust, mustard, khaki, ecru, denim blue.
MID TONES This group’s colouring fits in the middle. I slip between the extremes – my hair is warmer but my eyes cooler. You might have cool skin and eyes, but warm hair.
Experiment with raspberry pink, lavender, lemon, eau de nil, periwinkle blue.
My top skin zingers
These acid toners are a great way to exfoliate, especially if you feel scrubs are too harsh.
Contains liquorice extract to help diminish pigmentation and sun damage.
This is great for those prone to blemishes as it inhibits the growth of bacteria and removes dead skin cells.
This has created a real buzz thanks to its skin-protecting vitamins and antioxidants.