Reader Question: You have posts and information on light values wanting to wear dark colours to appear more authority from authoritative and professional. What are your suggestions for dark value girls who want to lighten up to look more in tune with summer and appear more feminine and approachable?
Summer can be a tricky time for those with a dark overall value (value is the technical word for how light or dark a colour is – and it relates to your hair colour), but there are still plenty of styles and colours that will look great on you! There are a variety of ways to lighten up for summer and create a more feminine and approachable look with a high-value contrast.
Choosing Medium to Lighter Colours with your Darks
Rather than a head to toe dark outfit that you may wear well in winter, in the hotter months why not choose a medium colour to wear instead. Everyone can wear medium value colours in the right undertone and intensity for them. A warm, aka – red, orange, pink, yellow – overtone colour with a dark colour creates the illusion of a high value contrast. You can also wear a light colour with your dark to create that high value contrast as well. It’s just you don’t want to wear all light, you need to keep some depth to your outfit. But you can get away with wearing all over medium value colours – then use accessories to create contrast.
Within any palette, you will find a range of lighter and darker colours. Whichever palette suits you, if you love the softer, lighter feminine colours, then choose your version of these as they are not always pastels, depending on the colour direction that harmonises with your colouring. Instead of opting for light colours to brighten your outfit, try adding a medium colour instead to create a balanced look. Adding a medium colour to your outfit is a great way to create a balanced look while still having the brightness of lighter colours. You could try adding yellow, green, or blue to your outfit to create a softer, but still vibrant look. Accessorizing with a scarf or hat in a medium colour is a great way to add a splash of colour without fully committing to the look.
A light or medium value column of colour with a darker layer in a complementary colour as an outer layer (when the weather allows) also works for those with a darker overall value. However, be careful with wearing large elements of light as this can make you look washed out. Adding a few bright colours, such as coral, yellow, or turquoise, can give the outfit a summery touch.
Prints and patterns with a dark background will help to add dimension to your outfit. Floral and geometric prints are great for the summertime and can help to create an interesting look. The color of the pattern doesn’t have to be a specific hue, as it can be a mix of different colors or a neutral option like black and white. For more tips on choosing print for your personality, check this post How to Choose the Right Prints for Your Personality. Have fun with it and experiment with different styles and patterns to find the look that works for you!
Feminine Fabric Choices
Feminine fabrics are soft and touchable, silk, satin, velvet and cashmere. Drape is also important in the flow of the fabric, never stiff or heavy, instead, you prefer more lightness and with a soft drape. You can create softness and approachability to an outfit using these feminine fabrics in darker colour. You can also add feminine shapes and construction elements, such pleats, tucks, or gathering to create a flattering silhouette while still keeping the outfit high contrast.
Lightweight fabrics make dark colours look less heavy so consider fabric choices and how they look and move.
Look for feminine details in garments, from frills or bows, to delicate ruffles or curvy prints and patterns. Avoid plain basics, particularly in things like tee shirts, instead opt for those that have some sort of feminine detail.
With a few simple additions, you can easily lighten up your look and still work well for your colouring which makes you look stylish and confident!
Not sure of your value and contrasts? You can check out my free download guide on how to find your ideal contrast levels here, or if you’d really like to discover your ideal colour palette and signature colours, you can get an online personal colour analysis here.