Colour & Style

So, the last time I wrote was many months ago. I have thought about this blog from time to time, as one remembers a teenager love…with fondness, with regret, with wondering. However, unlike these relationships of old, I am reviving this blog and moving forward!

The past seven months have been months of indecision and stress. Back in June 2016 we left Doha. Our personal belongings headed south east to Melbourne while we headed north west to Croatia where another long, hot summer on Hvar beckoned us. While there, my husband was offered work in Kiev which he eagerly wanted to accept. My dad was all keen for us to go as he always wanted to visit Ukraine and he could definitely see me wearing a winter cubura on my head. Mum, on the other hand, began to have sleepless nights about us all developing cancer and was busy researching the long term negative effects of life near the Chernobyl exclusion zone. We didn’t end up going. Long story short with some details missing but you get the point.

So by the beginning of October we were back in Melbourne, living in my late mother-in-law’s home and working to clear it out for sale. My husband picked up a local Term 4 teaching contract and I enrolled the kids into school for 2017. Life was starting to develop a familiar rhythm to all but me. I was missing Doha terribly; my friends, the desert and the heavy atmosphere of an exotic locale. I really could not face the drudgery of life back home so we both continued to apply for positions elsewhere.

While attempting to stay amused and out of the doldrums, my friend Cherie came to visit from Brisbane. Looking for something interesting, I booked us into an introductory session with Kaye Ure, a colour and style consultant. Held at Helene’s Stitch56 headquarters, Cherie and I had a great evening and both determined to follow up with personal sessions with Kaye, looking at both colour and style. And follow up I did. A few weeks later I was sitting in front of a large mirror while Kaye draped numerous coloured fabrics around me in an attempt to determine which ‘season’ I was; later that same week I visited her again for an extensive style session. More on this later.

Now, back to my life working itself out. Fast forward another few weeks and we were booking tickets and watching our personal belongings being loaded up for our next adventure. Destination: Singapore! A far cry from the Middle East in numerous ways and all that I was missing but we were all looking forward to the move. Christmas came and went and a few days after New Year we flew out of Melbourne and landed in another place I had never visited before. I do like adventure!

So, how does this all link in with Kaye? Well, in the past I have twice paid for body shape consultations and one colour consultation. Although in many respects they confirmed what I already knew about my body shape, they did little to guide me further: What should I wear? How should I wear it? What combination of colours look best on me? How do I use this information to select makeup to complement my skin tone? Now that I am in my forties I really wanted to nail this thing called style and Cherie and I both left the evening feeling very positive about Kaye. So…

As I am again in the middle of a forced hiatus from my sewing machines I want to take the time to really plan where my sewing will take me in 2017. Based on my time with Kaye I want to approach sewing in a more considered way, combining what she taught me about colour and style in order to truly reflect my personality. So here goes…

Let’s start with colours I regularly dressed in pre-Kaye: lots of white, navy, dark blue, sea blue, dirty blue, vibrant blue…with some pink thrown in very recently. Although I would have said that I didn’t look shocking, I was always drawn to my dark circles and a general harshness in my face. I also found that my melasma was visible no matter how much makeup I put on, particularly above my upper lip. At one point it was SO noticeable that my husband accused me of sneaking into town and having chocolate gelati. Sigh.

As I said, nothing shocking but I never really felt I looked my best. I often felt drained and tired and couldn’t wait to take my clothes off in the evening.

Now, onto Kaye and what the scarves said! After arriving at Kaye’s, she immediately put me at ease with some healthy snacks, lemon water and a cup of herbal tea. We chatted as we settled in and then got into the draping. By the end, and with some protestations on my part, Kaye finalised her thoughts and pinned me as a Blue Autumn. This means I look best in rich, warm, earthy and vibrant colours. Something like this:

deep-autumn

As I said, I protested as to me Autumn colours always looked dirty and were colours worn by large, middle aged women trying to look trendy. However, I could see that some particular colours looked startlingly good on me so it was time to shut up! Kaye indicated that my best colours in each family were:

  • Browns: elephant and coffee
  • Yellows: bronze
  • Greens: grass green
  • Reds: geranium
  • Blues: heather, marine navy, peacock and kingfisher

General colour advice was to dress in several colours (3-5) at a time in either tone-on-tone combinations or in families of colour. Kaye also went through each colour and indicated whether it fell into the ‘See it and Buy It’ category or how/where it could be best worn on me. I must say, this sheet has been terribly useful but I am still learning and have a long way to go.

img_6073

Feeling a mixture of intrigue and depression over the loss of my beautiful Summer shades I drove home and pulled out everything that did not fall into my new colour palette. I was surprised to see that I would now be going out exclusively in a dark brown bra and a beige half slip. YES! There was literally nothing left in my wardrobe 😦

Undeterred, I returned to Kaye two days later and worked with her on understanding my style and using that to direct future wardrobe efforts. Here are the results of my second day:

Body Structure

  • Face Shape: Heart (thank you, Eastern European blood!)
  • Body Shape: Straight Pear – Hourglass
  • Overall Proportions: Fairly evenly proportioned

img_6075

  • Neck Proportions: Neck length: long; jaw angle: medium. My best necklaces: choker or anything to the clavicle. My best necklines: scoop, narrow heart scoop, classic v, narrow deep v, and a polo neck underneath something open
  • Bust to Hip Ratio: Slightly smaller bust. This means I can either go unbelted or wear a curved belt of approximately 1.5 inches in width. Apparently the best curved belts are from Prada, MiuMiu, Armani and Ralph Lauren. Of course they are. My best waistband is a low one.

Personality  According to some testing I am more rational than I am intuitive. Some terms to describe me would be: forthright and outspoken, quick tempered, clears clutter, eats to live, tidy and organised. Fairly accurate, I’d say. Further discussions revealed that my personality profile is Gamine with a touch of Adventurer; street urchin, neat, cute, fun, boyish and snappy with a bit of relaxed outdoorsy thrown in. Think the offspring of Audrey Hepburn and Robin Hood 🙂

Gamine Fashion (with Adventurer fashion options in brackets)

  • Trousers: neat (not baggy), 3/4 length, culottes, turn-ups, neat jeans in smooth rather than textured fabric (Fluid trousers, denim, cargo pants can work)
  • Skirts: Short or long, neat pleats or panelled (wrap, suede, panelled)
  • Tops and Shirts: neat fitting (not baggy), short in length with structured and tidy necklines. Collars are good and can be worn turned up. Patterns should be small scale and either stripes, spots or geometrics.
  • Coats: Short 3/4 length with neat shoulders and witty details.
  • Shoes: Small heels or flats, fine boots (not too clumpy) either calf length or ankle. Toes should be either pointy or square.
  • Accessories: Small to medium scale fun, witty jewellery. Stud earrings are good with small dangly earrings working only for evening. Bags need to be structured and not too large (jewellery should be slightly ethnic and textured, using stones, matte metals, wood, water pearls. Scarves with texture, fringing and substance).

So, how do I feel? Like a fish out of water. I have since bought three tops that are in my new palette and although I can see that they look great on, they feel like putting on a new pairs of shoes; not necessarily comfortable yet. And given that I am surrounded by people who don’t know me and have no past as comparison, my new colours are not eliciting any excited exclamations of ‘Wow! You look so much better!’

I leave you, dear reader, with some photographs Kaye took of me at the end of our colour session and the odd change room photograph. As usual, these shots will not make the cover of Vogue anytime soon but I am writing for the sake of education, aren’t I? What say you?

I look forward to some running commentary about my endeavours and I do hope you have found this post useful. Should you ever be in Melbourne, I recommend Kaye to you. I look forward to working with her in the future and I especially look forward to seeing what she does with Cherie who is having her colour and style session this Friday. My next blog post will be about my sewing selections for 2017 so stay tuned!

Until next time, chat quietly amongst yourselves.

ChaCha signature 2