Like most women, I’m guilty of it too – that is, I often wear black clothes simply because they’re slimming. And when we feel slimmer, we often feel better about ourselves, right?
But what if wearing black next to our faces makes our eyes look dull and our skin blotchy and shadowy? In other words, what if black on most of us, AGES us?
According to Leslie Davies, a certified image consultant in Calgary, Alberta who provides image training for companies as well as women going through transitions like divorce, “Black sucks the energy out of your face.” Color, on the other hand, not only “has energy and gives you energy”, it can be just as slimming as black, yet WAY more flattering.
Are you not a believer? Then perhaps you should try this test with the help of an unbiased friend: Remove all your makeup, pull your hair off your face and wrap it in a white towel. Then drape a black towel/piece of black fabric across your shoulders so only your neck and face show. NOW look at your face in the mirror. How does your skin look? BE SURE TO ASK YOUR FRIEND. She will probably see things you won’t. Most of us will look drained, washed out and lines/wrinkles will be more pronounced. Also, make sure you study your eyes; truthfully answer: “Do they sparkle?” Cause Leslie says that when we wear the right colors for us, our eyes should sparkle and our skin should glow, even when we aren’t wearing makeup.
So what are we to do if much of our current wardrobe is black? Moreover, what if we fear that dressing in color is going to draw unwanted attention to us? Here are a few strategies Leslie recommends we try:
1) Start by adding new colors to our wardrobe through prints or patterns that include black.
2) Add a colored cardigan or blazer to an otherwise black outfit.
3) Accessorize black clothes with other colors around the face, ie, necklaces, earrings, and scarves.
But what if we just feel lost when it comes to color and wardrobe? What if we know we’re stuck in a rut, but the desire is within us to branch out? Well, if we don’t have a stylin’ girfriend who can steer us in the right direction, employing the aid of a professional image consultant like Leslie will help; she really does it all – color palettes, make-up, all forms of fashion. The Association of Image Consultants International has a directory to help you find a consultant near you.
I have to admit that when Leslie started talking to me about color palettes, I immediately thought of the eighties (when I’d last heard that term) when everyone was make-up happy and we were told we were either a ‘warm’ or a ‘cool’ skin tone. Leslie said the process has evolved tremendously since then – instead of four seasonal palettes to work from, there are now 16, which also include neutrals and different intensities. She said, “Lots of women think that dressing with a palette is limiting,” but in actuality, once they start to build on it, they see that it is “limitless.” They can also buy fewer clothes to create a beautiful and USEABLE wardrobe.
Last, but certainly not least, what should we do with our make-up when it comes to wearing black? Karen Malcolm, a professional make-up artist whose work has appeared extensively in television, fashion magazines, award shows and music videos, advises: “You have to ‘accessorize your face’ when you wear black because it washes you out.” Three pieces of makeup are critical: a light mineral foundation to even out the skin, lip gloss or stick, and blush. Although a lot of women are ‘scared’ of blush (like me), Malcolm says “it brightens you up and liftsyou up.” A soft, muted, rose tone across the cheekbones looks very natural and brightens the complexion. Malcolm adamantly reminds women to never, ever go without make-up when they are wearing black. And if/when you do the black towel test mentioned above with a friend, you won’t even dare to!