An Eye for Colour

It’s something I’ve been thinking a bit about recently, because I think the truth of it is that I don’t have a very good eye for colour; or perhaps more specifically I have a poor memory for it.

It’s not colour blindness; I’ve done those tests where you have to look at the pebble dash circles and I can see the orange numbers against the green backgrounds.  And I don’t wander around wearing mismatching clothes; at least I don’t think I do.  But recently, colour has been bothering me.

It all started from a ‘colour consultancy session’  which some friends had very generously given me for my birthday last year.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I had a very enjoyable day sitting in front of a mirror draped in a white sheet with a white hankie on my head looking at the varying effects of a range of colour swatches on me, specifically, I was instructed, on my eyes; and then watching another woman, whom I’d not previously met, go through the same process.

Turns out, because of my hazel eyes I’m an ‘Autumn’.  The Lady in charge presented me with a ‘handy’ wallet of colour swatches to help me choose my clothes in the future to make the most of my appearance.


She told me I had to be brave and make the changes, and everything would improve if I stuck to the new colour rules.  ‘When you know the colours that suit you, you can ignore all the other things in the shop and focus on only the ones that do.’

We also had to learn to graciously accept all the compliments we would be receiving once we ditched the old colours and adopted the new ones.

‘People will say ‘you look great. That colour really suits you.’ And you must reply ‘Thank you.”

She also made us promise to wear the lipstick she gave us, in the ‘perfect’ shade, for 14 days.

My preliminary difficulty was that I have apparently been wearing completely the wrong colours for most of my life; and the recommended colours are ones that hitherto I’ve always thought are fairly awful.

But I did try.  I walked around some shops and tore myself away from the jewel colours which normally draw me in, and consciously tried to look for the fawns and dark greens that were in my expandable wallet.  I found it such a deeply off putting experience that I’ve barely bought any clothes since.

I did get one cardigan in the recommended ‘old gold’, and rather than the promised compliment, one of my friends memorably asked, her voice full of incredulity ‘Is that one of ‘your’ colours?’

We’ve laughed about it since.

The lipstick was another less than roaring success.

‘That’s a different colour for you.’

‘Yes.  It’s one of ‘my’ colours. What do you think?’

‘It’s not a very nice texture is it?’

Exactly the sort of thing you need friends for!

I have kept the idea of trying different colours at the back if my mind, but even if  I tell myself that purple is on the ‘approved’ list, I don’t seem to be able to retain the right quality of the colour in my mind’s eye.

A friend will say, ‘No you need one with more red/blue in it.’ And I can only half see what they mean.

Even at the best of times I’m a reluctant shopper, and this uncertainty has put the tin hat on it, which is by no means a bad thing for my economy drive.

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  1. As I’m colour blind my wardrobe is fairly dull when it comes to colour choices, I have mainly blue, black, white and red as these are the only colours I can see with any certainty.
    It’s a shame that a gift should put you off clothes shopping though.

  2. brendan stallard

     /  March 28, 2011

    “I’ve barely bought any clothes since.”


    Wonderful! LOL, it has been a sleepless weekend here in GA. Overnight storms like WW111. So the perhaps unintended humour here is lovely!

    These eejits who try and colour you up, will be selling someone else’s junk the week after next.

    Its ALL fashion.

    Wear what you like, and concentrate on the important things in life, (which you appear to be doing pretty well.)

    Reluctant shopper? I’m the Avon Lady! oh yes, indeedy:)


    • Brendan
      Thank you. Humour is intended, but often misses the mark, so I’m very happy to have made you laugh! I love absurdities like this. R


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