Although the retail fashion world insists that every woman should choose black as her base neutral, they do that to make their inventory management more profitable, not because it makes us all look our best. In truth, the more enhancing neutral for a woman’s wardrobe nearly always relates closely to her hair color.
We are talking about the hair color people see, whether that is natural or enhanced. (The exception: if you’ve colored your hair some far-out shade that doesn’t relate to the rest of your coloring. Then we need to talk.)
See how these women have no “point of connection” to black, so it doesn’t especially flatter them. Then see how much more gracefully they relate to a neutral similar to their hair color? That’s what we mean by “Key Neutral”.
It may be a nearly exact hair-color match, or just a related color, the highlight or low-light for example. For example, Marcy could choose a deeper gray for her winter neutral and a lighter one for warm-weather wear. If your hair is multi-colored, your Key Neutral may be a heathered or tweed-y version of the color that captures that variation.
And if your hair us black or near-black, then of course you DO have a point-of-connection to black wardrobe pieces.
So now that you’ve identified this key color, how do you use it to improve your wardrobe? Try one or more of these applications:
- Use it for a Core Four – skirt, pant, top and over-layer top – that will give you tons of mix/match options with all your best accent colors. You may or may not wear these neutral pieces as a head-to-toe look, but that nuance is another lesson.
- Look for jeans is that color tone in addition to your regular blues.
- Pick up a handbag, casual shoes and dress shoes in that color family. (I know you’ve always been told that black accessories go with everything. But if everything you wear goes with your hair color, shouldn’t hair-color accessories go with everything you wear? And be a lot more interesting and personalized?)
- Consider a winter coat in that color, if you can find it. You want your coat to go with everything in your wardrobe, right?
- Use the hair-color top from your Core Four to connect other neutrals you already own back to your personal coloring.
- Look for touches of your hair color in any prints you choose for your wardrobe. The impact is even greater when the shape of the print motifs relates to the shapes in your hairstyle.
Here again are our four models from above, now in prints that include their hair color:
And here are lots more examples — shot with my iPhone during a class I taught on print selection. See the connections?
What elements in your current wardrobe repeat the color(s) of your hair? What pieces in that color do you want to add?
So what about navy as a wardrobe neutral?
Nobody’s hair is navy blue – at least not naturally! – but navy is a nearly universal neutral because it is so easy to connect it with a woman’s personal coloring by accessorising it with touches of her hair color. You can check HERE for examples of navy accessorized for blonde, red and silver hair.
Info about our professional color consultations is HERE.
Have you identified your Key Neutral? And can you see how much more enhancing it is for you than “basic black”? What pieces do you already own in that color family?