April 11, 2021

My Color Journey: Year One

My Color Journey: Year One
Evolving a more colorful style after my color analysis with Red Leopard. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Toward A More Colorful Style…

For decades, my wardrobe consisted primarily of neutrals, mostly black. Black was both a practical and aesthetic choice. Practical, because it was easy to put outfits together, and because it (mostly) traveled well.

Aesthetic for a number of reasons. First, I believed it conferred authority and seriousness. (For the last 18 years of my corporate career I was a department head, one of the few women in my division at that level.) Second because there’s a chicness, sophistication, and drama to it I still love. And third, because I’d been taught all my life that black was “slimming.”

Susan B. of une femme d'un certain age wears a minimalist look with draped black jacket, tan bag and metallic boots.

Early in 2019, still wearing lots of black… (outfit details HERE)

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But there was always a part of me that craved more color. I’d tried adding it to my wardrobe periodically, but it almost always felt “off,” like the colors didn’t belong to me. By the beginning of 2019, my “easy” neutral wardrobe was feeling drab and stale and I knew I needed to shake things up. And that I needed a fresh pair of eyes to help me get started.

"Self-defined in five colors," neon artwork by Joseph Kosuth at Foundation Louis Vuitton in Paris.

My blogger friend Lisa of The Sequinist wrote about having a color analysis with Red Leopard in London. She raved about her experience and results. We were planning to be in London later that year, so I booked a color and style consultation with them.

The Journey Begins…

Color analysis with Red Leopard in London. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Click here to read all about my Red Leopard experience.

Once I really saw the difference that my best colors made in how I looked (and felt!), I couldn’t unsee it. I walked away feeling excited and energized, and like I’d made three new awesome friends.

Susan B. of une femme d'un certain age with Jennifer Saunders, Manina Weldon and Annie Castano of Red Leopard.

But I also knew that updating my wardrobe would be long process, and that I’d have to be patient and persistent. Annie (on the right in red) suggested that I start by clearing out my closet of black and other pieces not in my Spring palette…

Out With The Old…

Before and After a closet clear clear out. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

How I began my color journey: with a huge closet purge !

What I quickly discovered when I began shopping to rebuild my wardrobe was that the colors in my palette weren’t that plentiful in shops and current collections. At least not in styles that suited me.

I’ve developed the habit of scanning the racks or websites for colors in my palette, and not bothering with the rest. It’s certainly cut down on both the time and money spent shopping. But for several months, I felt as though I was wearing the same few pieces on repeat.

In With The New…

Susan B of une femme d'un certain age in a casual leather jacket outfit with striped tee and jeans.

That leather jacket was one of the very first pieces I found in one of my “best” colors, and is still one of my favorites. (Outfit details HERE.)

Over time, I’ve been able to find more clothing that hits the mark for both color and style. It’s definitely been a year of trial and error…and I’ve learned much from the “misses” as well as the “hits.”

Susan B. wears a linen sweater outfit with light wash jeans and French Kande jewelry. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Love this green, and am hoping to find more of it! (Outfit details HERE.)

The biggest change though, is that I’m not only having much more fun with style, but feeling freer to express my more playful and irreverent side. (Maybe it’s also finally shaking off the last remnants of the Serious™ persona I thought I had to put forward during my corporate career.)

Susan B. wears a lemon print sweater, tassel earrings and light wash jeans. More about creating a colorful style at une femme d'un certain age.

Earrings | Sweater (similar) | Jeans | Shoes

I’m no longer trying to fit into someone else’s idea of stylish, or pretty, or whatever. Both inside and out, I’m moving closer to a “first-rate version” of myself.

It may sound like hyperbole to say that my Red Leopard color and style consultation was “life changing,” but it really feels that way to me.

Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else. --quote by Judy Garland.

And here’s another thing that’s been a pleasant surprise…by sticking to colors within my palette, I find that pieces are easy to re-mix in different combinations. Even with a more colorful style, I don’t need a huge wardrobe to create variety.

If you want to see how my style has evolved over the last year, (yes, including some of the “misses”) you’ll find all of my outfit posts HERE. I’m excited about continuing on this journey!

Have you shifted toward a more colorful style? Has it impacted your outlook?

Stay in touch.

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