by Jules Standish
How to use your most flattering colours to create the ultimate first impression on a video call. Look younger, feel more confident and improve your connections, well being and success
Here I am wearing my fabulous Kathy blouse which was tailored to fit for me by Ridley London in this stunning lime green silk. I absolutely love it and it's perfect for work
Hello everyone. I hope you’re all keeping well and It’s so good to be working with Ridley London again, all be it remotely. I agree absolutely with everything said so far and because we’re all still adapting to isolation and this technology is still relatively new for many of us, no ones really talking yet about how we should present ourselves on screen. Let alone the colours we should wear. I can tell you from years of working with business leaders, politicians, media personalities that clothes and colours have the most incredible impact on how people look and are perceived on screen. If I told you that between 60% and 90% of the time, we make judgements and decisions on products, people and our surroundings based on our attraction to colours perhaps you can see why it’s so important to make colour conscious. It’s fascinating to realise that subconsciously our evolutionary brains are reacting to colours all the time, day and night, and it is the intuitive right (female) side that processes colour, whilst the intellectual left (masculine) side processes shape, but colour influences our memories more than letters or shapes.
You only have to look at the positive coverage around what the queen wore on her recent broadcast to appreciate the importance of the role colour plays in communication. Back in 2012, I appeared on the Lorraine Kelly TV show as a colour expert talking about the Queen’s colours in the Jubilee year, because she is my Queen of Colour, always looking radiant in her ‘true colours’. Wearing green on our screens recently, the message was clear; to help us to stay calm (greens wavelength of light is restful on our eyes) to show her support, help us to feel strong, and to keep us feeling balanced and centred (psychologically this is what green represents). What better way to communicate to her country through the TV, wearing such a perfect colour choice right now in this current situation.
So, in this tutorial I am going to show you how to weave the science, physiological and neurological impact that colours can have, so that you can project a positive image on screen, create the ultimate first impression, feel confident, look fabulous whilst getting your message across, being authentically you. You will learn How to use your most flattering colours to make yourself look youthful, healthy and glowing, set the right tone and inspire those around you or on the other end of the call. I’m also going to talk about what to definitely avoid wearing on screen, so as not to appear tired, drained, washed out, unwell or even …. Older!
1. Always be yourself and dress to your strengths
We are all unique. Each of us has a completely individual blend of genetic colouring and personality traits, of which usually one will predominate and have the strongest influence on our skin tone, personality and health – your colour season. This will help to determine which colours flatter you the most, especially on screen where the effects of wearing the right or wrong colours are exaggerated, especially on a video call where everything tends to be framed around your head and shoulders. Here is a quick overview of each seasonal skin tone and personality type and how to recognise yours. For more detailed information take a look at my previous post for Ridley London.
Warm, bright, clear spring:
Spring personalities share a sunny optimistic outlook and tend to be more extrovert. They like to chat, are good communicators and embrace change. They can take on too much and don’t always finish things. You will have an underlying yellow or gold skin-tone You could blush, have a high cheek colour or broken veins.Your complexion can be very pale, freckled, with red/strawberry blonde or brunette Your skin tone can also be darker and tans well, with golden blonde or very dark hair Black up against your face makes you look tired and older.
Your best warm colours are; bright red, turquoise, coral, peach, golden yellow, bright emerald green with neutrals of camel, ivory, warm greys, dark blue, with bright gold jewellery.
Warm, muted, earthy autumn:
Autumns are natural leaders, determined; decisive, extrovert energetic A-type personalities. They get the job done, are good at delegating but can get bored easily. Your complexion will not have a high cheek colour. Your skin has a golden undertone, your hair will be golden blonde or chestnut, auburn or red, black with gold highlights. Your complexion may have a metallic/bronze appearance and tan deeply. Black up against your face makes you look tired and older.
Your best warm colours are: rust, burnt orange, teal, dark apricot, mustard yellow, khaki green with neutrals of warm browns, caramel, chocolate, cream, dark grey, blue with antique gold jewellery.
Cool, pink-based, soft, summer:
Summers are wonderfully diplomatic, friendly types, are loyal and good listeners. They’re often quite creative, like detailed work and tend to be somewhat introverted, neat and orderly. You will have a pink undertone to your skin tone.Your hair colour is ash blonde, cool light brown but has no warmth/gold in it. Your complexion can be light and rather colourless. You probably don’t tan well/golden. Black up against your face makes you look tired and older
Your best cool colours: raspberry red, carnation pink, powder blue, mint green, lavender and lilac with neutrals of taupe, pearl white, dove grey, navy and rose gold jewellery.
Warm, Cool, vibrant, dynamic, winter:
Winter personalities are true perfectionists. They're analytical and dependable, sensitive and creative; and tends to be introverted and somewhat self-critical. If your complexion is light/pale it will be milky white with no high colour on the cheeks, but you may have underlying blue veins Or your complexion will be very dark or olive in colouring. Your hair will either be white, grey, ash blonde or black but with no red or gold tones. Your facial features will be dark, strong and distinctive. The key to knowing you are a true Winter is that black looks fabulous up against your face!!!
Your best cool colours are: Fuchsia pink, magenta, burgundy, plum, vibrant cool red, electric blue, forest green, cool emerald, ultraviolet purple with neutrals of brilliant white, black, charcoal grey, navy with silver jewellery.
Dark skin tones:
African, West Indian, Asian, Oriental or Latin do not automatically fall into the Winter category and may be able to wear darker shades of other seasonal colours.
2. Test your colours and find your most flattering looks
When you’re on screen it’s important that your skin looks it’s absolute best. Your complexion and face are going to be the focus of attention, especially as you’re being seen mainly from the waist up. By wearing your best colours up against your face, you will ensure you look and perform your best. Self-care and self-esteem are intrinsically linked. And whether we like it or not, we're all judged on our appearance within the first few seconds, so it’s vital to know you have the right colours on that are really going to work hard for you.
Once you have identified your colour season try out a variety of colours, prints and looks and see what works best for you. If you’re going to be wearing anything particularly for work and video calls, I would recommend you don’t just look at things on in a full length mirror but test different outfits as you would see them on screen in a video call environment with your mobile phone’s selfie mode. This will really help you see how different colours effect you by either ageing and draining colour from your face and emphasising lines and dark areas around your eyes or add a youthful glow helping you look fresher, healthier and happier. For the most accurate results, I would recommend going outside on an overcast day, out of direct sunlight or stand with a window about half a meter in front of you. Again make sure you’re not in direct sunlight. You should instantly be able to see the difference between colours that really enhance your appearance and this which don’t and there are some clear tell-tale signs to look out for.
The wrong colours will:
Create a tired panda eye look. Accentuate lines, wrinkles or distinctive signs of ageing. Give you a washed out and unhealthy appearance and make your skin look blotchy. Highlight any red patches. Give you a double Chin and accentuate dark roots in your hair. Make you feel like you need to put on lots of makeup or concealer.
The right colours will:
Bounce flattering light up onto your face producing a healthy glow and a soft even complexion. They will also accentuate the sparkling whites of your eyes making you look more youthful removing the need for heavy makeup.
3. Get camera-ready well in advance
Use this colour diagnostics strategy to find your five best outfits or help you purchase any new ones. Always consider the type of events or meetings you are likely to be wearing these for and ensure they are appropriate for this environment and your audience. Work dress styles have evolved a lot, relaxed cuts, prints and colour are now part of office uniform as well as being incredibly flattering and lovely for summer. If you’re working from home you will probably want to dress a notch down and embrace a slightly more relaxed style. For example, if you normally wear a jacket for the office, I’d recommend a smart cardigan or a shirt instead which will give a slightly softer more relaxed look. If you’re thinking of going for something a little bolder or brighter, make sure your choice is enhancing and flattering not dominating or distracting. For added versatility, you can always add another layer in a more muted neutral tone on top like a flattering navy which will soften the overall effect. Alternatively, choose a print or pattern which also features more muted colours and will help to soften the overall look. On the other end of the spectrum, make sure the outfit you’re choosing isn’t so neutral that it blends in with your surroundings. Always wear something that contrasts with your surroundings, you don’t want to be invisible.
4. Avoid these on-screen fashion faux-pas
As long as they’re flattering and exude the right attitude, most colours and looks will work brilliantly on screen. However, there are a few broadcast wardrobe pitfalls that you should definitely take on board for video calls. Firstly avoid bright whites, or dressing in entirely in black. Despite the amazing technology at our fingertips, these days, your i-phone or laptop camera will try and re-balance itself for these extreme colours. Exposure levels will be automatically increased to let more light in to try to bring more definition to black clothing. This will have the effect of greatly lightening your face making you look pale, washed out and unwell. Not very flattering. Likewise, the camera will lower its exposure for a bright white shirt, especially if its shot against a bright white wall, which will darken your face and skin reducing definition. Also avoid stripes and checks. They have a long history of distorting on screen, especially when people move creating nightmare moire patterns which are enormously distracting and unpleasant to look at. Absolutely the last thing you want if it’s an important meeting or you have something to say. Also avoid strapless tops, particularly if they’re flesh coloured. they’ll make you look naked! Finally I would avoid falling into the trap of thinking it doesn’t matter what you wear on your bottom half, you never know when you’re going to need to get up and fetch something. Accidentally exposing a pair of pyjamas or worse, instantly communicates a lazy shortcutting attitude to your colleagues, not to mention the aesthetic sensibilities of an un-hinged lunatic. It takes the same amount of time to put on a colourful and stylish skirt as a pair of track suit bottoms. And in my experience you’ll feel far sharper and ready to perform. The way we dress really has a huge impact on the way we feel and behave.
5. Use colour to improve your connections, wellbeing and success
Colour is proven to have a profound psychological effect on how people feel, respond and behave in specific situations. There have been numerous scientific studies over the years demonstrating how colours trigger specific neurological responses and can be used to achieve desired outcomes. If used correctly, colour is an incredibly powerful communication tool. Just think of the multitude of associations with the colour red. Danger, anger, energy to name a few. Or the pronounced response the red lining in a matador’s cape triggers in a bull. Its no coincidence Red is used on stop signs and Ferrari chose it for their iconic racing liveries. This is because the colour red has the longest wavelength in the visible light spectrum and requires the biggest neurological adjustment to see it, thereby increasing the production of adrenaline and a feeling of energy and excitement. So if you’re on a sensitive video call and are trying to deliver a calm resolution, this colour is definitely to be avoided. For your information, I’ve listed a range of neurological colour responses below.
RED at the hottest end of the spectrum, is stimulating and active
Red gets you noticed, increases metabolism gives you energy to get going, to exercise or start a new project. It communicates passion and highlights drive to get things done. Avoid a lot of red if you are feeling particularly anxious, or have high blood pressure
TOP RED TIPS: Great for an online interview if balanced with other cooler or neutral colours; and for a job promotion, plus a first date. From summers soft raspberry-red, to Springs bright shade, Autumns brick to Winters vibrant true red.
ORANGE also a stimulating warm colour, a mix of red and yellow
Orange is the most fun loving, sociable colour. It communicates an optimistic happy outlook and a love of adventure. From the soft shades of apricot, to bright orange, it’s a warm, friendly colour. Avoid if you are feeling anxious, hyper-active or have an upset stomach
TOP ORANGE TIPS: Great for all virtual online fun meet ups with family or friends, will brighten up their day and help you to spread the optimism and happiness to all. From summers soft peachy-pink, to bright spring coral, autumns burnt orange and Winters neon.
YELLOW is mentally stimulating and the sunshine colour
Yellow is the colour of sunlight and the most uplifting colour. It projects a joyful image and is associated with mental stimulation and creativity. Avoid yellow if you are feeling mentally over stimulated or overly critical
TOP YELLOW TIPS: A great colour to wear online if you need to do some creative brain-storming at work, or if you are having a meet with children or friends to get people stimulated mentally. From soft lemon summer yellow, to bright golden Spring, Autumns mustard and Winters neon shades.
GREEN is midway on the colour spectrum and the colour of nature and balance
Green delivers a harmonising and balancing effect to your system. It represents renewal, rebirth and the natural environment and highlights a humanitarian outlook. Avoid if you are feeling insecure or having trouble getting active or feeling cautious
TOP GREEN TIPS: Green is a good colour choice for all events and meetings, it highlights a balanced outlook, someone who can look at all sides of a problem and make clear decisions. From mint summer green, to springs bright lime, autumn has khaki and Winter forest green.
BLUE is cool and calming, being more restful on our eyes
Blue is consistently voted the world’s favourite colour and is great for all forms of communication. It represents trust, diplomacy and reliability so is often used for serious institutions like banks. This is because short blue light waves are easy to process and calms the nervous system. Avoid particularly dark blue in large amounts if you are ‘feeling blue’ or withdrawn.
TOP BLUE TIPS: This is THE best choice for ALL meetings, in business, corporate, as it’s the colour of communication, calms you down in stressful situations, and everyone loves blue, with shades varying from pastel powder for summers, to bright turquoise for springs, teal for autumns and electric blue for winters.
PINK is both pretty and powerful
Pink is a nurturing colour that communicates compassion and caring as well as a romantic fun loving nature. No wonder it’s predominantly associated with feminine beauty brands. Avoid pink if you are feeling particularly vulnerable or overly dependent on others support.
TOP PINK TIPS: Pink is a fabulous colour to wear if you work in one of the caring professions, and is a great choice to choose to wear to any online family or friendship meets, to help spread the love. From summers cool rose shades, to Springs hot pink, autumns salmon-pink, and Winters Fuchsia.
PURPLE and Violet are the most peaceful colours to choose
Purple is an inspiring colour and widely associated with elegance, royalty and leadership. It’s the natural choice for mediation and peacemaking. Its also a very creative colour, so wonderful to wear for any interview/meeting in a creative/fashion/art profession Avoid if you are feeling lonely or need some space
TOP PURPLE TIPS: Purple/violet are the shortest wavelengths of light so will calm down anyone you choose to online meet with. From summers pastel lavender to Springs bright purple, Autumns muted shade to Winters dynamic ultraviolet.
BROWN is a grounding, stabilizing colour and good as a background to all seasonal colours.
GREY is professional and shows good judgement, is practical and a great choice to combine colours in all business meetings and in any profession.
BLACK is authoritative, projects control, and great for all finance industries and law, provided it suits your personal colouring and temperament
WHITE/CREAM are traditional, reassuring and simplistic, orderly showing and open mind, and fabulous for the warmer months to combine with all colours allowing them to ‘shine’