BlauI recently ordered some T-shirts online, among them a lovely print in royal blue with a bit of black and while. I am a sucker for blue. Unfortunately, quite a number of blue shades don’t like me. Like, royal blue and navy blue and all really bright blues and all really pale pastel blues. What does that leave? Well, quite a bit: soft cornflower blue and forget-me-not blue and all shades of blue with a touch of green or turquoise in them. Enough to result in quite a heap of blue shirts in my wardrobe? But in the case of the royal blue and black and white T-shirt, I was glad that I was able to return it.

Do you know this scheme of dividing people and the colors that suit them into a scheme of spring (soft warm tones), summer (soft cold tones), fall (strong warm tones) and winter (strong cold tones)? It depends on the tones of your eyes and hair, but most on your skin tone.

Well, I went to a style class at the Adult Education Center years ago, and fired by the information handed out there my best friend and I did a test of which type we were. It was about the funniest afternoon we ever had together. To do such a test, you need a large mirror in a bright, sunny room, with the brightest sunshine outside. You need to remove all make-up and put on a white tank top. Before starting, you collect single-colored items of clothing and other pieces of cloth of all the colors in the rainbow from your household. (We included towels and tablecloths in colors that didn’t feature in our wardrobes.). Then you take every single item, hold it next to your face and stare in the mirror. Some shades will make you appear like you’ve just risen from the grave, others will make your skin glow softly and take about ten years off your age. (I’m not kidding you.) You really do see a difference, but of course it helps tremendously to have an honest friend next to you.

In my case, it was found out that I can’t wear black or white next my face, nor any other really strong color. Instead, I look best in all soft, mid-tone purples, pinks, greens, teals, and some greys. So I am a typical summer type – no surprise here, as my skin is pale and has almost bluish undertones, or reddish after exertion or a day in the sun. But what was surprising was that not all colors in the summer palette suited me (no lavender for me, for example), but on the other hand I can wear certain burnt orange and watermelon tones very well.

So although I know very well which colors suit me, I still fall in love with the wrong shades. Sometimes I indulge myself and buy a handbag in that hue, or a skirt that can be matched with other colors. But some tones, like royal blue or black, are always tricky. Too bad I still like them!

What’s your favorite color, and can you wear it? Have you ever tested what colors suit you best? Does this help you during your shopping?

– Rike Horstmann