Have you ever wondered if you could work harder on your look? Gina Stainer gets expert help on getting her colours right.
Have you ever looked enviously at that friend who has a talent for picking the perfect outfit, and finding the colour that makes their eyes shine and their skin glow?
Ever thought that person could be you?
Well, frankly, I hadn’t.
I’m a full-time-working-mum who barely finds time to brush my hair in the morning, let alone anything else. If the clothes I snatch out of the wardrobe each morning happen to match, it’s a bonus. Shopping for clothes is a chore and I stopped looking in the mirror properly some ten years ago - some things are best left unseen....
But maybe I’m wrong.
So many women give themselves to everybody else, their children, their friends and family. They don’t think about themselves. Then they reach a point where they realise they’ve lost their own identity
Turns out, I’m in desperate need of help - and House of Colour is there to save the day.
Their experts offer colour and style analysis, helping women like me to rediscover ourselves, and empowering us to make the right choices about what to wear, and how to wear it.
Can it make so much difference?
There’s one way to find out, so I’m meeting personal stylist Kate Nicholson, who holds the House of Colour franchise for Worthing and Horsham.
Her studio is based at her home in Tarring, and as we drank a cup of tea she tells me what set her on the path to becoming a stylist, following the death of her partner in 2010.
“It was very sudden and unexpected,” Kate says. “My world was turned upside down. I had no idea before how far-reaching it was to lose someone, how it affects your confidence.
“When I was functioning again I looked in the mirror and it was like I was completely grey. I was working in a sixth form college and my appearance mattered - I was dealing with students and parents, I needed to find my confidence again.
“I’d had my colours done many years ago, and decided to go for a colour refresh. It gave me a real boost - so much had changed, but my colours were still the same.”
Kate made the decision to train to become a stylist, and now helps women and men in their own very personal journeys.
She helps professionals looking to make the right impression in the workplace, new mums wanting to rediscover themselves and ladies approaching a milestone - all of whom can be empowered through the use of colour and style.
“It can be quite an emotional journey,” Kate says. “So many women give themselves to everybody else, their children, their friends and family. They don’t think about themselves. Then they reach a point where they realise they’ve lost their own identity.”
Kate offers a variety of different classes to help clients learn new make-up techniques and try new colours, and to develop a style based on body shape, personality and lifestyle. She can help you review your wardrobe and shop wisely - no more money wasted on clothes that are never worn.
I try the colour analysis class, to discover the spectrum of colours that best suit my skin tone.
The process - which involves looking closely at your own skin without make-up, scary! - takes several hours during which an array of coloured scarves are used to see which complement your natural tones, and those which are best avoided.
The wrong colours can make your skin look sallow, or puffy, or emphasise the blemishes and shadows, Kate explains the process as she drapes precision dyed scarves across my shoulders and under my chin. First she looks to see if I am best suited to cool or warm colours. Then at the tones in more detail to see which spectrum my colours fall into.
They are arranged in seasons, with warm autumnal hues, fresh-cut spring tones, a soft summer rainbow and the winter colours featuring the icy and jewel shades which it transpires are a must for my own wardrobe.
Kate refines it still further, giving detailed advice on how each colour in the spectrum works for me, whether I should wear it as a block, combined with other colours or if it’s best kept to smaller details in patterned accessories.
Once I know my season, that can be applied to make-up and clothes, and as Kate arms me with a wallet containing my colours, she tells me that if I take this with me when I shop, I can build a new wardrobe over time which will give me the wow factor, whether for fun or work.
The first thing I do when I get home is rummage in the depths of my cupboard and dig out the orange top which I never really liked, and now I know why. It’s going to the charity shop tomorrow. And that beautiful green shirt which I love, but am often a bit shy of wearing, comes to the front. It’s bright and bold, and now I know that it’s a colour which makes me look good, I’ll definitely be wearing it more often, and with more confidence.
To find out more about House of Colour and Kate’s classes visit www.houseofcolour.co.uk/katenicholson or contact her on 07885 541742 or email firstname.lastname@example.org