This month we were delighted to welcome Susan Blakey from une femme d’un certain âge to the Red Leopard studio and here is what she thinks. A wonderful read. Xx Annie and Manina & Rachel.
I'll confess: for some time now, I've been feeling rather "stuck" with regard to my style. I've wanted to add more color, verve and, well...funto my wardrobe, but haven't quite found my footing. I try something new, it doesn't feel quite right, so I retreat back to my well-worn path of simple neutral basics. Rinse, repeat.
It's hard sometimes to be objective when it comes to my own style choices. I have a lot of old baggage about what does or doesn't look good on my body. I knew I needed guidance, and a fresh set of eyes. When I read Lisa's post about her colour and style analysis with the team at Red Leopard, and knew we'd be in London for a few days, it felt as if the universe was holding up a giant neon sign.
Getting Professional Help
Fortunately, they had some availability during our London visit. I signed up for both a style and color analysis, and was SO looking forward to it.
Spoiler: it did not disappoint. Annie, Manina, and Rachel all participated in the session, and made me feel relaxed and comfortable right away. They are vivacious and funny, and we all laughed a lot.
They started out with an introduction to color theory and the system they use, based on the work of Johannes Itten from the Bauhaus. They explained that the colors we wear will have a large impact on whether we look energetic or tired, present or invisible.
Then it was time to get draped. Because my hair is colored, they started out by covering my hair so that it wouldn't interfere with how my skin reacted to the color drapes. It's difficult to capture on camera the full effect of how each of the drapes interacts with my face, but when you're in the room and looking into the mirror, it's much more obvious.
Personal Color Analysis
The first step is: cool or warm? When they flipped between the two, it immediately became apparent that I'm warm. That narrowed it down to either a Spring or Autumn. The softer autumn colours like this olive green (above) weren't terrible on me... but the brighter Spring colours were just so much better! Each of the trio took turns with the drapes, and were unanimous: I'm a Spring, and a Golden Spring at that.
Above, these are the best of my colors, and I love them! (And no small coincidence, my palette turned out to be the same as Lisa's!)
Did I mention we laughed a lot during this process? I don't remember what was being said, but we all agreed that purple, while in my Spring palette, isn't among my top colours. As part of the colour analysis, they also suggested some makeup colours, and Manina applied them.
(Yes, that tiger shirt works in my Golden Spring palette!) The Style Consultation involved assessing both body type and personality/essence. Measurements were taken, and a personality quiz completed, but their style Personality Profiles aren't just about numbers. They factor in their own observations and impressions about the client. So when Annie suggested Gamine for my style personality type (and Manina and Rachel concurred), I was delighted.
The Gamine Style Personality
Here's how they boil down Gamine: cute, sharp, neat, funky. It was like a light switch was turned on in my brain. Yes!! This is how I've always wanted to dress, but had assumed that because I didn't have a boyish body type, it wouldn't work. Annie explained that with their Personality Profiles, a Gamine can be any body type. It's more about the overall expression. Within that broader definition, you adjust details to best flatter your shape and features.
They took me through and provided me with a very comprehensive set of guidelines for necklines, hemlines, fabrics, clothing shapes and details. It upended some old beliefs about what I "could" and "couldn't" wear (much to my delight). Between this and the color analysis, I feel as though I have a workable set of blueprints for taking my style in the right direction.
For reference, Manina is also a Gamine, though her palette is Winter.
Some people don't need these kinds of categories or definitions to know what works for them. And that's just fine. For me, this provides welcome clarity, and a touch point. It was a "click" moment for me, and I'm really excited about incorporating what I've learned into updating my wardrobe. Yes, it was an investment. But I think it will quickly pay for itself in preventing costly shopping mistakes. (I find I'm already taking a much more focused and targeted approach to shopping.)
This style reset will be an ongoing process, not a quick fix. Annie suggested as a first step that I remove everything from my closet that isn't in my color palette. That will help me determine what I have and what I need, and set spending priorities. I'll share this process as I go along. (For my neutrals, I imagine I'll be transitioning to navy and warm tans/browns.)
Lisa described her experience with Red Leopardas Style Alchemy, and I have to agree! Since my consultation, I've really been noticing color, both what people are wearing and in the environment. And I'm actually excited about wearingcolor again! No exaggeration, I already feel as though the session with Red Leopard was a total game changer for me.
A shout out to le Monsieur, who snapped hundreds of photos during this process, and submitted to his own color analysis (he's a Winter, not a surprise to me).