As Valentine’s Day approaches, there’s one colour dominating the high street and fashion pages, and last week one of my Colour Me Beautiful colleagues was on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour discussing ‘daring to wear it’ – red. Consider the media frenzy around Nigella’s ‘wiggle dress’ and the first lady’s inauguration ball dress and we’re left in no doubt that this is the colour to be seen in this season.
This craze for crimson has triggered a traumatic memory for me. Flicking through the fashion pages one day last year I spotted an article on the latest ‘new black’, the journalist boldly stating:
“Everyone can wear red, so put that in your pipe and smoke it, Colour Me Beautiful consultants!”
Well! (It’s impossible to convey in writing the outrage and injury I’m breathing into this word). My indignation does not stem from ‘anyone can wear red’, but from the assumption that CMB consultants would refute this. A year on and I’ve missed the boat for writing to the journalist but the thought of the article is still enough to make me…see red (sorry).
So to set the record straight: in terms of personal colouring anyone can look great in red. What’s more, wearing it can be of great benefit – researchers in Germany found that sports competitors who wear red score an average of 10% more in any competition than if they were in another colour. It is thought this is because it inspires confidence in the wearer and is perceived by others as dominant. So if you want to wear it, go for it, but there are two key things we Colour Me Beautiful consultants recommend you keep in mind:
1. Choose the right red
Different combinations of hair colour, eye colour and skin tone suit different shades of red. It’s all about creating a look that balances with your colouring:
- Those with a muted, light or delicate look glow in a subtle raspberry or geranium.
- Those with strong, dramatic colouring are gorgeous in bold pillar-box red.
- Those with golden undertones to their hair and skin are ravishing in orange-toned watermelon and tomato.
- Those with grey or ashy tones to their hair are radiant in blue-toned (yes, really!) ruby.
If you’re not sure which category you fall into, consider a colour analysis to ensure that the red you choose is not wearing you!
2. Work with your style personality
In our society red has many associations – positive (love, passion, confidence and energy) and negative (danger, aggression and promiscuity). Either way, you won’t go unnoticed when wearing it – and not everyone wants to be noticed. What we feel comfortable in and how we put our look together is all down to style personality (a key issue I focus on in style consultations) which is determined by an individual’s culture, upbringing, lifestyle, budget, age and level of confidence.
If your style personality is all about making a statement, try one of this season’s fabulous quirky print jackets! Or if you prefer a more understated look, try making a nod to the trend with a red accessory – a belt, bangle, handbag, brooch or shoes.
And if wearing red’s really not your thing then forget clothes and accessories and embrace this season’s hottest colour in cake form – delicious red velvet, as modelled by my sister at The Tea Cup, Richmond.