May 30, 2011
Way back in the early years of image consulting, circa 1981 or so, I had my colors “done”. I was working in a large department store as a department manager, and it was felt that management staff should all be exposed to the services of our personal shopper and consultant group, in order to help their business. To nobody’s surprise (except maybe my mother), I am a Winter:
This was reassuring, as I was already building a wardrobe of gray suits, white blouses, and brightly colored scarf accents. (does anybody else remember Dress for Success?) One of the coolest lingering pieces of advice, which I’m going to discuss at more length some day, was the advice to buy tee shirts, sweaters etc. in colors matching your favorite lipstick and blush. Simple and obvious, but highly flattering.
I lived very happily with these colors and this advice for decades, until one day for no apparent reason, I decided to visit Josy Mermet at Printemps in Paris. (http://www.josymermet.com/). Aside from the overall completely supernatural insight the woman had into my life, I was also rattled by the VERY different advice I received. Suddenly, someone was saying I was “Florentine”, and recommended the following:
If I had been in a situation where I was completely starting from scratch, this would have held great appeal. But there’s NO gray here, and (although it’s hard to tell) no black – just really dark browns. And I was at a point in my life where I had a terrifying amount of money sunk into handbags, shoes, and other investments of image which I couldn’t really justify phasing out.
For a while, I tried to evolve from the first to the second set of colors, but found that it just didn’t really seem to stick. A big problem I found was that I could go into a number of stores and not even SEE a garment in the Florentine colors, let along find something that was of appropriate style, acceptable quality, and reasonable fit. So as time has passed and my wardrobe becomes smaller and more carefully curated, I’ve migrated back to the most basic neutrals of the winter palette.
I had two really seemingly authoritative consultations.
I got two somewhat different sets of recommendations.
Which I guess, at the end of the day, means you have to make your own choices.
But if I completely were starting from scratch – had nothing but the workout clothes on my back and had to re-purchase EVERYTHING, Josy’s advice would be tempting.