When Gretchen traveled from California to St Louis for a conference, she stayed over an extra day to fit in a color consultation. She had already had her colors “done” multiple times, but felt they still weren’t quite right. As a coach for high-level executives, she needs to quickly establish both respect and rapport and she sensed that color could contribute to both. (Whether you need to enhance trust and connection with a client, friend, spouse, boss or sales prospects, these same techniques can work for you.)
Here is Gretchen and the Color Fan we created – honestly one of the most beautiful I can remember ever doing, but also not even close to the traditional brights she’d been steered to in the past. Can you see the obvious connection between her personal colors and these softer fashion colors?
As a top-tier pro in her field, Gretchen will establish visual authority by choosing highest-quality tailored clothes rather than relying on stereotypical dark colors and high-contrast (ie. black/white) combinations. She can readily afford fine quality because the easy coordination among her colors means more outfits from fewer pieces.
Now for the Rapport… By focusing attention attention to her face – especially her eyes – these colors cause clients to make eye contact with Gretchen more readily and sustain eye contact longer, therefore feeling immediate rapport. Brighter colors would draw all the focus to her clothes and contribute very little to cultivate a trusting relationship.
Gretchen is enthusiastic about redirecting her wardrobe, but wanted some shortcuts to move the process faster without spending a fortune, so we focused on a couple of basic garments and some well-chosen accessories.
She already owns a bright red blazer, which she has always worn with exactly what retail suggests — black pants and a white shirt. Can you envision how that would be too strong for her soft coloring?
We talked about changing out the black trousers for a pair in warm brown, and trading the white shirt for a knit shell in a soft sandy color similar to her hair. She’ll also change the blazer’s black buttons for these mother-of-pearl ones. To make this unexpected color scheme more visually connected, we added a scarf that echoes both the red and her hair color, even down to the striated coloration of the blossoms. In the pic below, you’re seeing the Color Fan strips that represent her skin, hair, eye and body red. See how the red jacket alone a tad strong, but the new brown/sand mix makes it a very flattering combination.
The same brown pant and sandy-colored shell also work beautifully – if unexpectedly – with the soft green, closely related to her eye color. Most people wouldn’t think of brown and green as a combination, but this scarf made it a no-brainer.
Another way to create upward focus to her face and eyes is with necklaces/earrings that repeat colors from her personal color scheme. Points of connection, remember? In each example below you’ll see the relevant strip from her Color Fan for reference:
- The green necklace repeats the green of her eye color.
- The Tahitian black pearls draw out the blue tones her eyes also have. Natural materials like pearls, shell and stones have mottled, blended colorations that relate more readily to human coloring elements.
- The blush-pink mother-of-pearl chips are similar to her skin tone – another great way to soften a garment that is otherwise too dark and strong for her.
- The cream M-O-P squares echo her hair color, softening an outfit in much the same way the sandy shell did in the combos above.Her coloring is nearly a balance between warm and cool, so her best metallic looks are a gold/silver mixture or a tri-color mix adding rose gold. We added one of each, focusing on a hammered and slightly matte finish on the left and a mix of fine chains in 3 metals on the right. Because of her soft coloring, big areas of shine would be overpowering.
What ideas from Gretchen’s wardrobe update can you incorporate in your own closet?